Seeking The Olive Branch

philosophy, meditation, painting


‘Seeking the Olive Branch’.

It’s there if we look. That symbol of renewal and rebirth.

Planting it comes next, and following that nurturing it for transformation.

This will take work and determination and a simpler attitude to life, so that there is time to water it daily and provide a healthy environment.

‘Seeking The Olive Branch’ – Clare Wassermann – ink, gesso and windfalls

‘Completion’ – Clare Wassermann – ink, gesso and windfalls

Circles in general feature often as a symbol in Buddhism. Mandalas representing the universe are made in sand to remind Tibetan Buddhists of impermanence and as an aid to concentrate the mind. The idea of the Dharma Wheel, the wheel of reality is important and is said to turn in both directions.

The ensō  is one of the most common subjects in Zen calligraphy. It symbolises enlightenment, power, and the universe itself. It is a direct expression of thusness or this-moment-as-it-is.

Generally it is a brushstroke, or sometimes two, painted in a single breath and can be symmetrical or irregular, thin or thick, heavy or delicate. They are generally accompanied by a verse (san) composed either by the artist or a separate commentator. The enso acts as a visual koan.

Koan pictures, alongside the riddle of the words, represent that moment between not being and being enlightened. The idea is that everything around one can be used as an aid to enlightenment and one just needs to have eyes to see it and apply it to whatever problem you are facing in the moment.

The circle may be open or closed. If it is open it represents beauty in imperfection and  transience (wabi-sabi), allowing for movement and developmentand if closed, perfection and completion.

The notion of wabi-sabi is that beauty is found in combinations of symmetry, irregularity, simplicity, weathering, basicness, simplicity, without pretence, freedom and tranquillity.

Painting of Enso is be used as a spiritual practice as often as once a day by many practitioners. Once painted it evidences the state of the practitioner at that moment and is not added to or redrawn.

This spiritual practice of writing Japanese calligraphy for self-realization is called hitsuzendō meaning ‘the way of the brush’. 

I am currently working with the breath to create enso.

Enso 2 – Clare Wassermann
Enso 3 – Clare Wassermann

The breath is life, ch’i, prana, the vital force. Don’t take it for granted.


Current exhibition online:
“Out Of Darkness Cometh Light” – a collection of work by twenty one artists in Wolverhampton remaining creative during lockdown: http://www.newhamptonarts.co.uk/out-of-darkness-cometh-light/?fbclid=IwAR22tcQ0VMWu38m65qHXZHC2J1jFsDH6Kde3RvsIp5kseVV2I6pSD8j3Lis

Staying In is the new Going Out

Art, painting, PhD, Sketchbooks

So I think it is week 7 of Lockdown – although truly, after Boris’ unclear and blurred message to the nation last night it is hard to say if it is still to be classed as such. You are supposed to go to work if you can. Well I think it is very premature myself. The traffic hum is more this morning – a big increase – those felt impelled to go to the workplace out of need or pressure from employers

.

The world laughs at the UK, at our incompetence, and the government attempts to PR itself into a what is a self congratulatory flag-waving mess.

Anyway – I have found it hard to create or find meaning in creativity. Maybe it iscreeping in more now. I have no income but it seems wrong to try to create art to sell when there is so much loss and sacrifice around. It seems trite.

I have more recently gone back to making art to think instead. Occupying the hands. Taking the chatter away by doing and creating space for more important questions. Mostly my sketchbooks are the place for that. My thinking spaces contained within a holding place for a doing thing.

I have a couple of small paintings on the go, a large piece of creative stitching and the increasing volume of sketchbook work.

I wonder how it is for everyone else who makes art?

how making looks sometimes – collage to think

“Be The Change – Fear Not This Liminal Space”
Collage made to think and participate in art challenge at University of Wolverhampton
“Be The Change, Fear Not This Liminal Space”
Bird In A Window 1 -work in progress – oil on canvas 12″x 12″


Bird In Window 2 Work in progress – oil on canvas 12 x 12″

Otherwise I do big physical things in the garden, small detailed things in the garden, walk and practice yoga. I try to shop for others, more needy once a week and participate in some family cooking and attempts at positive thinking.

Self Portrait – Indian Ink, watercolour, gouache and stuff to hand – May 2020 – bike emerging from ear!

My preference would have been for the government to look at making it safe to cycle here – semi closing roads and allowing us to commute, exercise and shop safely by bike. Wishful thinking.


Meditation Opportunity and News

Art, PhD, workshops

Meditation is the perfect balance between alertness and relaxation. It doesn’t matter if you practice in a chair or sitting cross-legged on the floor; it’s all about quieting the mind and stilling the body. It is about finding a still point from which you can look at the world in a different way and discover a fresh new perspective on your life. I am teaching a session to introduce people to meditation on Sunday March 15th. It will involve gentle relaxation and movements all designed to still the mind and to give you the chance to take some of these skills away with you. If you are interested it will be at my studio at 10:30. We will be finished by lunchtime and the link is HERE Please book in advance if you’d like a place.

Details and booking

Creativity Boosting Workshop

A workshop to help you open up your creative soul and find a voice with paint in sketchbooks and on paper. This would be ideal if you have never painted before or you have plenty of art experience but suffer creative block and don’t know where to start.
It’s also a great way to learn to get into the zone – almost like meditation – and out of the chatter in your head!

A relaxed and introspective day to fire up your creative mojo. This is on Wednesday May 13th from 10.30 – 4pm. Investment £37 – tickets and lots more information HERE

There are other workshops including oil painting here on this site.

Please do come back and look again as I do update regularly – there will be another Travel Journals Workshop posted soon.

Meanwhile:

Since the beginning of the year I have been working in almost monochrome – it seems to suit the time and simplifies for value and composition.

Some of this work will probably emerge in future paintings I have no doubt.

I have also gone back, after quite a break to working in stitch which I have been enjoying since the weather is so dire and I can happily mix using the sewing machine and hand stitch.

…and finally

As if I’m not already a busy person, I have embarked on a PhD where my focus is the field of “art and meditation”. It’s a massive challenge, undertaken part time, with all my other work and commitments but I’m giving it my best shot and stepping into another world.
So far I like all the academic help available at Wolverhampton University and I have two great supervisors in Professor Ross Prior and Dr. Louise Fenton. I look forward to working with them and others over the next few years! #PhD

You can find more on my Facebook Page HERE

and on instagram HERE

Meditation for Your Creativity and Peace.

meditation, philosophy

Happy New Year to all. It is a difficult start to 2020 globally.

I’m offering an opportunity to tune out briefly.

Meditation has certainly helped to release the creative side of my brain. I use it to reduce anxiety and to create courage in my life. Here is an opportunity for you to do the same.

Meditation is the perfect balance between alertness and relaxation. It doesn’t matter if you practice in a chair or sitting cross-legged on the floor; it’s all about quieting the mind and stilling the body. It is about finding a still point from which you can look at the world in a different way and discover a fresh new perspective on your life. I am teaching a session to introduce people to meditation on Sunday January 12th. It will involve gentle relaxation and movements all designed to still the mind and to give you the chance to take some of these skills away with you. If you are interested it will be at my studio at 10:30. We will be finished by lunchtime and the link is here

Please book in advance if you’d like a place.

Details and booking

2019 Round Up and Onwards to 2020

Art, exhibitions, PhD, workshops

Well here it is – the blog post that is there because I haven’t yet written all my Christmas cards – who else uses displacement activities?

I’m keeping it brief but just to say it has been a busy year. The first part was taken up with the Japan Exhibition in Ironbridge which then ran from August to November and was really successful.

In between I have had a lot of illustration projects, some commissions and some lovely workshop teaching as well as pursuing development of my own painting techniques and ideas.

Apart from this I have very much enjoyed completing a two year meditation teacher training course which has in itself furthered a meditation practice which I have had for over thirty years.

Zen Garden by Clare Wassermann

So, on to 2020… In relation to the above, I am teaching a morning workshop on January 8th called “A Practical Introduction to Effective Meditation” which will be a lovely taster session to some ongoing sessions throughout the year. Several techniques for meditation will be used plus some easy movement and deep relaxation. These will be held in my beautiful studio in Wolverhampton. Details and booking here: on Eventbrite

Looking ahead to 2020 I am pleased to announce that I am undertaking a PhD starting at the beginning of the year and work is already hotting up for that. I am really excited to be joining a research environment in an art context to develop ideas related to art and meditation.

Other workshops so far planned are my popular “Clare Wassermann’s Journaling and Travel Sketchbook Workshop” – back by request on February 1st – information here and it’s again in Wolverhampton at Newhampton Arts Centre.

The Arabian Deer from Clare Wassermann’s Travel Journals


Ongoing will be Wayne Attwood’s oil painting workshops every 8 weeks or so according to his availability. He’s a busy man as he is now President of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and his painting career is burgeoning. Our next session is on January 23rd and you can find out ore here – beginners and experienced folk all welcome – he’s a great teacher.

Finally I would like to draw your attention to an exhibition. It is in Wolverhampton at the Art Gallery. It is the Centenary Year of the Wolverhampton Society of Artists and this year’s exhibition is very special.

It runs from now until February 16th and has three sections – one for work by very highly regarded alumni, which has been gathered from around the country and national collections, one is a collection of work loaned by the Courtauld Gallery in London (Courtauld was an avid collector of fine art and of course had a rayon factory here in Wolverhampton before taking it further as an internationally strong textile industry).

The third room is this year’s entry for the exhibition which is carefully selected and beautifully curated by the Art Gallery. I am very honoured to have two large pieces in this especially as it is my first time of entering. Here is novelist and Times journalist Sathnam Sanghera with my work when he was guest of honour to open the exhibition last Saturday. Do pop in. Our Art Gallery is one of the finest in the country and is internationally known for it’s collection of Pop Art.

Photo credit: David Hamilton, Express and Star December 2019
…and here is me in matching scarf and painting
a salon hang – nice way to display work here at Wolverhampton At Gallery, Society of Artists’ Show

So here’s to a very Happy Christmas to all of you and to more art and developments in 2020. Thank you to all who have supported and believed in me – you know who you are and it is very much appreciated.


Stay creative in whatever you do!

Comments and suggestions welcomed below.

Best wishes Clare Wassermann


Japanese Exhibition etc.

Art, exhibitions, sales, workshops

Notoriously bad at keeping up this blog….must try harder (usual end of term report)!

Anyway here is a bit of news about my solo exhibition at Café 86’d in Ironbridge. It opens on August 7th and as I am away then we are holding a meet the artist evening on September 6th so do come if you can.

The café is my fave place to eat in the area…fresh and healthy food. All home cooked and mostly local ingredients. Well worth a visit any day. All the work is available to purchase and depicts peaceful memories of temples and still places in Japan on my travels. I hope the feeling of calm is transmitted through these works which are multilayered, stitched and drawn or painted.

Here are just a few examples:

  • If you miss this I am open as part of Wolverhampton Open Studios on the weekend of October 12/13 2019 at my studio at Newhampton Arts Centre, Dunkley Street, Wolverhampton UK

For YOU

there are all sorts of opportunities to MAKE ART at the studio

  • Friday 2nd August – all day 10am – 4pm. Like our Sunday club but longer! More time for chat, working and supping. Bring your own lunch – this session is to be booked in advance here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/clare-wassermanns-sketchbook-and-art-making-day-tickets-64466336548  Currently 9 places left. You can pay me direct instead but place is only held on payment. Cost £10
     
  • Thursday 15th August Women’s Wellness Circle: 7 – 8.30pm not art but a lovely way of staying healthy of mind £5 – let me know if you are coming – pay on the night.
     
  • Friday 16th August –  Nature Inspired Sketchbooks (SOLD OUT)
     
  • Sunday 16th August – 2.30 – 5pm – Self Care Sunday – Yoga and Intention Setting – let me know if you want to book via Marie who runs this lovely session. £20
     
  • Sunday 8th September – Sketchbook and Art Club 11.30 – 1.30  please let me know if you are coming. £5 Bring your own work as usual.
     
  • Thursday 19th September  10.30 – 3.30 Oil Painting with Wayne Attwood – President RBSA – details and booking  here  £34 Beginners or experienced painters welcome.
     
  • Sunday 22nd September – Sketchbook and Art Club 11.30 – 1.30  please let me know if you are coming. £5. Bring your own work as usual.
     
  • Saturday 28th September – Travel Journal and Sketchbooks Workshop with Clare 10.30 – 4 £35 details and bookings here
     
  • Thursday 10th October – 10.30 – 3.30 Oil Painting with Wayne Attwood – President RBSA – details and booking here. £34 Beginners or experienced painters welcome.
     
  • Saturday and Sunday 12th & 13th October – Clare Wassermann Open Studios – Studio Sale. Paintings, Textiles, etc. plus Jeweller Mojo and The Maker sharing my studio – lots of other artists exhibiting at the NAC this weekend – and all round Wolverhampton. Xmas gift ideas?!
     
  • Saturday November 9th – Travel Journal and Sketchbooks Workshop with Clare 10.30 – 4pm £35 details and bookings here.
     
  • Sunday November 10th – Sketchbook and Art Club 11.30 – 1.30  please let me know if you are coming. £5. Bring your own work as usual.
     
  • Looking forward to inviting Helen Hallows to come and run a workshop early next year – look her up!


Lotus Sanctuary

This is a small charity in Wolverhampton providing housing and a route into a better life and work for women in the city who have suffered trauma and homelessness.

Lotus Sanctuary is a community interest company with the pure and simple intention of housing and empowering vulnerable women suffering a range of complex issues; from rough sleepers to domestic violence victims, sexually exploited women and those seeking to get free from drug and alcohol addictions.

I have really enjoyed starting fortnightly art sessions for residents recently and am pleased to be continuing in this rewarding work. Some of their pieces will feature in an exhibition called ‘Recovery’ at The Lighthouse in September. More info another time, but this is how art can heal. You can donate to them here

Summer Sunshine

Art, exhibitions, Outdoor life, workshops

At last it is truly here! The British Summer. Time to throw the studio windows open and get out and about in the garden and plein air sketching.

I have just had an enjoyable time in Wales discovering the area between Cwmtydu and Cardigan. Unspoilt and rugged, the cliffs inspired some sketching and the beaches and hedgerows inspired some walking. Waterfalls on beaches and quiet roads have made this place a new favourite for me.

Tresaith Sketch
Plwmp Tart, Penbryn sketch

Japan Work

This year has mostly been taken up with a consolidation of two visits to Japan. I cannot begin to describe how this country appeals to me so much. The people, the countryside, the efficiency and ethos captivate and of course the temples are an utter sanctuary. In these tranquil places every angle seems to be a perfectly framed view.

I kept several travel sketchbooks whilst there and have been invited to make an exhibition on the theme this summer. Here is a glimpse but there are about twenty works in total. The date is to be confirmed but it will be at Cafe 86’d in Ironbridge, Shropshire for a couple of months. This is one of my very favourite eating establishments in the UK – my go to for lunch when in the vicinity.

These pieces feature many, many layers of collected papers, stitch, pencil and ink. Others are painted but layered in the same way. It has been a definite labour of total love.

Events in the Studio

As ever there are plenty of things going on in my lovely studio at Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton. Tonight there is a Women’s Circle which will also happen on July 2nd, the next New Moon. Only £5 – a chance to connect in peace. Let me know if you would like to come. Info here although the second date is wrong – it should read Tuesday 2nd July
https://www.facebook.com/events/673197123130651/

Otherwise there are more events on the Workshops page

Boundary Way

Boundary Way Allotments Project has had a new round of funding and this year some of the focus is on the role of fungi in nature. We had a superb visit from Rich Wright of Kew Gardens. He is a Mycologist and told us so many interesting facts about mushrooms and the amazing mycelium layer below the ground connecting plants and trees that we were all really inspired.

Hannah Boyd and myself had a lovely afternoon sketching fungi and making folding books from abstracted mushroom related art with a group of Bpoundary Way artists. More events are to come for the public in the Summer. One is here but I think it is sold out – watch this space for more.

Wolverhampton Society of Artists

I have recently joined this Society which is 100 years old this year. There has recently been an exhibition for new members to exhibit in. I was pleased to have sold these two pieces and look forward to spending more time with the society.

In The Womb Of The Earth – Hare – oil on canvas 20″ x 12″

There is one other available in the series:

In The Womb Of The Earth – Foxes- oil on canvas 20″ x 12″

and a sketch for a badgers piece is waiting!


I am sure there is a lot more to say – but it is time to go and enjoy the sunshine! See you soon.

Clare xxx

Christmas card Image

Workshops 2019 and other news

Art, christmas, exhibitions, sales, workshops

2019 Plans

Journal and Travel Books workshop with Clare Wassermann

Plans are afoot in Studio 103 for lots of new workshops both hosted and delivered by me. Please let me know if there is anything you would like to see here other than what I have put in so far. I can do my best to accommodate requests and it’s good to know what art folks would like to participate in next year. I don’t know if you don’t tell me!! 

There’s art jewellery making, felting, lino printing, poetry, journaling with me and more ….

Here is the link

Art jewellery workshop by guest artist Linda Alton

Current Work

I am currently starting a series of new large oil paintings influenced by Hundertwasser depicting Gaia as the Goddess of the Earth. Working as an artist last year at Boundary Way Allotment Project has been hugely influential. Thank you to the Arts Council and Heritage Lottery Fund from the artists- we are hoping to receive more funding to continue this wonderful work in the community next year. 

The piece I am currently working on is Gaia under the Wrekin spreading her rays through the allotment site. The Wrekin is a large hill surrounded by flat land and is very much a landmark all around the area. You can see it from our site and the sun setting behind it is a wonderful thing.

very early stages of Gaia and the Wrekin

The site is wonderful and has a camera obscura, a community garden, sensory garden, a wildlife pond and an orchard. It also has a large polytunnel where we have held art workshops. There are several open days a year and the public are welcome. Here is the link. It’ a beautiful website.

Christmas Cards

I have the new 2018 Christmas cards available in my studio – please come and visit if you are local. Profits go to Compton Hospice (Compton Care) in Wolverhampton where my father was looked after wonderfully over Christmas just before his death last year.

You can buy these cards here on Etsy. 

This is the 2018 design:

The cards are £4 for six cards with envelopes A6 size.

There is another design to choose from too.

Peace Dove – Syria

Saatchi Gallery Visit

Yesterday I happened to be in London so I took myself off to Sloane Square for a snoop around the gallery – I haven’t been for ages. I was waylaid for ages though in the beautiful Taschen Bookshop next door. A whole shop of the most beautifully printed art books – it was a must.

Anyway eventually I made it into the gallery and it was certainly enjoyable even if some of the art was a little difficult to look at.

A major exhibition there currently is  BLACK MIRROR: ART AS SOCIAL SATIRE featuring the work of 26 contemporary artists, open until 13th January 2019.

Black Mirror explores art’s role in social satire, and how political uncertainty has influenced art of recent years.

Using media such as collage, caricatures, photography and installation, the exhibition shows how satire can provide both light relief as well as unsettling commentary on the tumultuous, divisive climate of modern-day politics.

Black Mirror features some of the world’s most exciting contemporary artists making work about the world we live in, exposing anxieties our modern obsessions create. Artists featured include Turner prize nominee Richard Billingham, whose photography series of his parents Ray’s A Laugh pioneered “squalid realism” as he confronted the art world with the reality of poverty; Polish artist Aleksandra Mir who parodies newspapers by crudely drawing them with childlike tools – bringing new meaning to “fake news”; and Chilean sculptor Alejandra Prieto, who transforms rejected lumps of coal into a beautiful, desirable object of opulence, confronting class disparity and the commodification of luxury over function.

At a time of collective unease, Black Mirror emphasises the importance of art and satire in dissecting power structures, questioning societal norms, and visualising political unrest, providing light relief to life’s uncertainties.

The Saatchi Gallery was founded in 1985 with the aim of bringing contemporary art to as wide an audience as possible by providing an innovative platform for emerging artists to show their work. Over the last five years the Saatchi Gallery has hosted ten out of the top 15 most visited exhibitions in London, according to The Art Newspaper’s survey of international museum attendance, and also has more followers on social media than any other museum in the world. Entry to all the Saatchi Gallery’s exhibitions is free.

More info:

Saachi Gallery
Duke of York’s HQ
King’s Road
London
SW3 4RY

OPENING HOURS
10am-6pm, 7 days a week, last entry 5:30pm
Admission free.

I love the spaciousness of Saatchi



Open Studios and Other News

Art, exhibitions, workshops

Blackberry-Hare-clare-wassermann

“Blackberry Hare” above celebrates the Autumn Equinox – greetings cards available at Open Studios

I’m not very good at keeping up with my blog so I think it’s about time I filled you in with what’s happening with exhibitions and workshops as the Autumn progresses and we look to the bright colours of art to cheer us through the Winter.

I had a wonderful start to the year preparing for a solo exhibition which was really successful in terms of footfall, scores of lovely comments in the visitors book and sales. It took a huge amount of dedication and hard work to fill the space with thirty-two paintings for an exhibition spanning nearly two months but it certainly paid off. Thank you so much  to The Museum of Cannock Chase and all who attended to support me. Thank you too to everyone who cheered me on along the way!

So now to the future:
Wolverhampton Open Studios are nearly upon us
October 13/14th
This weekend sees many artists fling open the doors of their workspaces and homes to display their work and for you to see behind the scenes. This has been organised by Wolverhampton Society of Artists and there is a beautiful website here for information www.wolverhamptonopenstudios.co.uk
I will be open along with several artists exhibiting at Newhampton Arts Centre from 10am-3pm both days that weekend. Come and see my lovely Victorian room and see what’s in the studio sale. I also have my lovely friend and jeweller Sarah-Jane Whittaker with me with some of her beautiful work. We will probably be giggling and possibly eating cake.

Breathe 50 x 40 inches Clare Wassermann copyright 2018

“Breathe” 50 x 40 inches Clare Wassermann copyright 2018

Exhibition News
Wolverhampton is currently having a surge ahead with art. There have been some fabulous exhibitions at Wolverhampton Art Gallery recently. Smaller venues are also showing art. The Lighthouse really need our support to stay open and there is an exhibition called “Transformation” on at the moment, so please think about attending – much of the proceeds of sales are going to the venue to help it to stay open. The exhibition runs until October 30th.  I have three pieces in this exhibition.

At Boundary Way Allotments there will be a lovely exhibition in the polytunnel on October 13th as part of the Open Studios and I have some textile work here along with some books made on a workshop I ran as part of the Arts Council and Heritage Lottery Fund project that I have been part of. Do go and have a look – it is quite an extraordinary site with lots of things going on for the public throughout the year. More details in the Open Studios website and on the wonderful Boundary Way website.

Autumn-hare-clare-wassermann

“Autumn Hare” Clare Wassermann – oil on canvas Copyright 2018

Workshops
Plenty of lovely workshops happening in my studio into the new year both hosted by myself and other visiting artists – it’s always good to make art together. Here are the dates so far – but do keep checking back as I update often.

Garden homemade book page 1

“Garden” handmade book Clare Wassermann Copyright 2018

Other
Otherwise I am still out and about sketching in nature when I can, preparing for more exhibitions and hanging offers (more exciting news on that another time), painting and learning and enjoying a Yoga and Meditation two year teacher training course. I’m always looking to develop and learn – that is for me the joy of life.

You can follow some of my travels this year in my sketchbook blog here.

I hope you feel the same about whatever you are doing. Do come and have a cup of tea with me some time or better still see us over at Open Studios.

That’s all for now

Clare xx

PS Did I mention I love hares and birds?

Bird Love

Art

Anyone who knows me will not be surprised when I say how much I like birds. They appear in many of my paintings.

One of my favourite, apart from the dove, is the hoopoe. He is sometimes to be seen in southern areas of the UK but they proliferate here in Saudi Arabia. Very shy, they run between the trees scuttling from view if they sense you.

However if you have patience and sit still they come quite close.

Today’s collage is mostly water colour with just a little decorative collage because I had plenty of time. Is he sitting on a giant patterned egg? I wonder what bird of paradise would hatch from this?

Meanwhile I’m enjoying the shade of palm trees and the air con in the 43 degree heat.

If you would like to join in please tag #collageaday2018 on Instagram or Facebook. I can’t comment (on Insta from here) but I can see your posts. I can comment on Facebook. Restrictions!

Ongoing jouneys with sketchbook can be seen at my other BLOG here: www.clarewassermannartjournal.wordpress.com

Have a great day!