In traditional Japanese aesthetics, Wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete". (WIKI). It is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It's simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. It is rooted in Zen Buddhism and the ancient tea ceremony in which the imperfections in the pottery and glazes were honored.
Ive been thinking so much about this idea lately as I take a look at my unfinished paintings at various points of imperfection and transience. I am learning to appreciate them for what they are and not try to find the "just perfect" point at which I can say that they are done. It is a deeply self-accepting way of being, one in which our society does not value. We are constantly struggling to make our faces, bodies, houses, cars, children...perfect. How about if we just loved the cracks, the broken edges, what would that look like in our art and in our life?
This photograph of some decaying plant near my home struck me as beautiful in its subtlety of color, texture and shape. I think of that time honored Leonard Cohen song: There is a crack in the darkness, that's where the light comes in.
I INVITE YOU TO JOIN ME ON THIS JOURNEY IN MY WEEKLY CLASSES, WORKSHOPS OR THE UPCOMING OJAI RETREAT IN SEPTEMBER.