Tina of the Lens-Artists Challenge introduced me to a completely new word/concept this week:
Wabi-sabi, the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection.
When I thought back to the times I had spent in Japan I have to say that my overall impression was that the country was anything but wabi-sabi.
There were many temple gardens in Kyoto and we visited a lot of them. All were obsessively controlled; not a speck of foreign material allowed to sully the perfect velvet of the moss, nor a misplaced pine needle allowed to exist.
But then I remembered the Kyoto Botanical Garden. After all the perfection of the temples this had to be one of the messiest botanical gardens I have ever been to.
The trees were not overly interesting and the ground patchy, fall of bare spots and masses of weeds. Yet an artist sat there painting the scene. There hadn’t been a single artist in any of the perfect gardens.The lotus pond was a tangle of brown and decaying leaves, and again, someone was painting it.Looking through our photo album I see that in most of our photos we were searching for the perfect. Only one actually captured the beauty of imperfection. I even tried to capture it in my journal. Well, talk about imperfection. So with this is mind I went out searching for imperfection and wabi-sabi. We don’t have any Lotus plants growing in Vancouver – it’s too cold. But near the duck pond was the visual equivalent of dying lotus pond – some sort of large-leafed plant curling in and around itself. I immediately wanted to draw it.And then I knew why no one was bothering to paint the perfect gardens of the temples – the gardens themselves were the artwork. Why duplicate someone else’s vision when with these very imperfect plants you could create your own. The pencil drawing….More of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Pick Your Own.