Evanescence: Portraits of the Ephemeral
Consciously pushing the abstract quality of ‘mark making’ with paint, I work primarily in oils with bold, vigorous, rhythmical strokes of sensuous impasto paint, striving to balance the beauty of the paint with the beauty of the motif. In this, I endeavor to create paintings that gratify the mind and nourish the soul, that contemplate and embrace the divine and that celebrate the interconnectedness and ephemerality of all life.
Everything is in a constant flux, and what constitutes form is, at the quantum level, really not much more than space. How often do we strive to posess the ephemeral when nothing lasts, nothing stays the same – people, animals, flowers – everything changes and eventually dies? It is the evanescence of life that is most poignant reason for painting – both the act of painting and the keeping and viewing of paintings.
The Guiding Principles
Wild Soul values are the principles that guide my artwork creation and my business endeavors, and that is the lodestar that attracts clients and art-lovers. Note: Wild Soul’s values may be rooted in Eastern philosophy but they are certainly valid in our modern world.
Wabi-sabi: authentic & appealing
A well-loved childhood toy, your favorite pair of faded jeans, a piece of rustic handmade pottery, a forest path covered in fallen autumn leaves, all embrace Wabi-sabi: the Japanese principle of the beauty of the “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. At Wild Soul I embrace the idea that “nothing lasts forever, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect”. This is the essence of life itself; of nature. I believe that nature is the greatest teacher.
Just because nothing lasts forever doesn't mean that I don't take the effort to make it last as long as possible though! I use only highest quality materials.
Shibumi: effortless perfection
It is an overarching concept, an ideal. It has no precise definition in Japanese, but its meaning is reserved for objects and experiences that exhibit in paradox and all at once the very best of everything and nothing: Elegant simplicity. Effortless effectiveness. Understated excellence. Beautiful imperfection. The word shibumi was first used in around 1336 in Japan. In his 1972 book, The Unknown Craftsman, Soetsu Yanagi talked about shibumi in the context of art, writing that a true work of art is one with intentionally imperfect beauty that makes an artist of the viewer. “Intentionally imperfect” artwork invites you, the viewer, INTO the artwork, to involve YOUR emotion and memory. In Impressionism, and organic semi-abstraction and abstraction, the image is not delineated with every line and detail, but requires the observer to complete it. I believe that this is the ideal of true art - and life imitates art.
Shinrin-yoku-bijutsu: nature-bathing through art
Every week the modern North American spends 19.6 hours watching TV and 23 hours on email, text and social media.[3,4] All this time has to come from somewhere, so what are we giving up? A great deal of this is a direct response to the overwhelm of how we work (multi-tasking, trying to “do more with less”), which spills over into the rest of our lives. The true cost of always being "ON” and digitally connected can sneak up on you. What starts as feeling hyper-productive and hyper-connected is actually an addiction with serious repercussions. New Economy Depression Syndrome (NEDS) is a clinical syndrome associated with information overload, and results in anxiety, exhaustion, burnout, decision paralysis, sadness, irritability, and sleep problems. Another one is Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD). It has very similar symptoms as NEDS (which are all symptoms of too much stress). Both NEDS and NDD (as well as stress in general) can be alleviated by Shinrin-yoku – “nature-bathing”. When you nature bathe, you connect with nature physically and emotionally. This has been proven with science to reduce stress and improve memory and your immune system.
At Wild Soul, I created the term Shinrin-yoku-bijutsu to describe nature-bathing through art (“bijutsu” means art). Seeing gorgeous colors and images of nature can improve your mood, reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Think about that the next time you put something on your walls. I believe that nature is the greatest healer – and inspiration. I can’t take you into the woods – at least at this moment, but I can bring nature to you with a beautiful piece of art.
Ikigai: zest for life
Ikigai is our reason for being, our raison d'être. It is the fire that wakes us up in the morning. The prime directive in life is to find our own personal ikigai, our reason for being, and to wake up every day and fulfill that mission. I believe that art helps you find ikigai, because art helps you to awaken and express your wild soul in order to feel greater peace, upliftment, fulfillment and happiness. Once in this state you will have the clarity and peace you require to find your own ikigai. And, of course, this IS my ikigai!
The goal of shizen is equilibrium between being "of nature" yet distinct from it—to be viewed as being without pretense or artifice, while seeming intentional rather than accidental or haphazard. I intend my art to evoke the emotion I feel in nature through the organic abstraction of nature’s sensations: light filtering through trees, the setting sun, shadows of passing clouds, with a desire to go beyond literal transcription of nature.
The principle of yugen captures the Zen view that precision and finiteness are at odds with nature, implying stagnation and loss of life, and that the power of suggestion is often stronger than that of full disclosure. Leaving something to the imagination piques our curiosity and can move us to engage on a deeper level. Impressionism and orgranic semi/abstraction demonstrate yugen subtlety in that the image does not depict every line and detail, but requires the observer to enter into the painting to complete it. I believe that longer engagement with the restorative properties of eco- (nature) therapy (in person, and through art), and the healing energy present in the artwork, is going to be more beneficial to you and your home and office environments.
Fukinsei: imperfection, asymmetry
The goal of fukinsei is to convey the symmetry of the natural world through clearly asymmetrical and incomplete renderings. The effect is that the viewer supplies the missing symmetry and participates in the creative act. When you complete the painting in your own mind with your engaged imagination, instead of relying on all the details being supplied, you co-create with the artist (me!).
Datsuzoku: break from routine
Datsuzoku signifies an interruption from habit, or the “tried and true”. When a well-worn pattern is broken, creativity and resourcefulness emerge. This disruption is an important part of any breakthrough, and helps you to awaken from the routine, the hamster wheel of daily life. My artwork breaks the habit of stress, it disrupts the pattern of daily overload, and it interrupts unsightly wall space by creating an oasis of beauty and positive energy, which results in greater health and well-being, peace and happiness for you.
Seijaku: stillness, tranquility
The principle of seijaku deals with the actual substance of datsuzoku. To the Zen practitioner, it is in states of active calm, tranquility, solitude, and quietude that we find the essence of creative energy. This can be achieved through meditation, which is an extremely effective way to enhance self-awareness, focus, and attention, and to prime your brain for achieving creative insights. Meditation is used by many successful leaders at Fortune 500 companies like GE, 3M, Google, and Apple. I believe in the healing powers of meditation. I’ve witnessed it firsthand!
There are a number of ways to meditate, but my favorite, of course, is painting! Painting is naturally meditative, as well as drawing - check out the books of Frederick Franck for Zen drawing how-to. My conscious attention to the process of painting and tuning the painting's energy at the same time, results in a deep meditative experience.
- Koren, Leonard (1994). Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers. Stone Bridge Press.ISBN 1-880656-12-4.
- Powell, Richard R. (2004). Wabi Sabi Simple. Adams Media. ISBN 1-59337-178-0.