Wednesday, December 9, 2009

But is it "Zen"?

I've been asked to paint cherry blossoms.  Actually I was originally asked to paint them on a bedroom wall in a young friend's home where she wants to have a quiet, meditative corner.  As much as I like to look at murals, I'm kind of uneasy about painting one myself.  It's the idea of putting love into something that someday, someone will eventually marr by throwing a roller of paint on top of it. 

When I was a kid my artist father painted a beautiful Japanese garden scene on the basement walls, all around the whole space, which was also his studio.  It had flowers, cherry blossoms on trees, birds, butterflies here and there, and in the center on the longest wall, a foot-bridge.  He painted it right on the cinderblock walls and we never had the basement finished off with paneling like people do.  It was an oasis of calm and beauty. 

Years later my parents sold the house.  I was horrified that the new owners might very well cover up that mural and the heart that went into it.  What I really wanted to do was throw black paint all over, but I didn't.

I told my friend I'd rather paint on something that is portable.  At least framed art can move with you.  Yes, she wants cherry blossoms to create a sense of calm, "zen" as she called it. 

Combing through my swipe file, I came up with a few photos of cherry blossoms, Asian gardens, Washington D.C. blooms, and had them ready at my desk to work on today.  After dinner I needed a pencil from my desk and took a look at the pics. 

Some how I ended up sitting at my desk sketching out my idea.  Watercolors are calming, I thought, and available.  I dabbed the new brush I just bought in some color, trying to be mindful of areas I wanted to keep bright white.  Methodically, I went around with the brush lightly painting in the background.  By the time I decided to stop it was 8:30PM! 

In the midst of all the holiday hype, Christmas shopping and baking, I'm looking forward to this painting.  I don't know if it's the wash of the colors or the cherry blossoms themselves, but I just might have found zen.


  1. Watercolor has always had a Zen quality for me. It is the art medium that I have gravitated to and used most frequently in my work. I have added other mediums to it over the years and I have dabbled in other mediums to create other art pieces too, but I am always drawn back to the pleasant, peaceful qualities that this paint provides for me. I hope you enjoy your Cherry Blossoms and it brings you peace during a hectic season.

  2. Lovely start on this piece! I think that watercolor is the perfect medium for the cherry blossoms. The subtle shades and watery quality makes it very much like cherry blossoms. I hope that it continues to bring you calm.

  3. Lrc- I'm happy to say it's a good start and hopefully I can keep it free and clean.

    Diane- I'm enjoying the peaceful quality of watercolors.

    I really appreciate both your thoughtful comments! Thank you!


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