January and Lockdown 2021

Art, daily practice, meditation, painting

It is how it is and I have given up planning. There isn’t much point in wishing it otherwise so really I am concentrating on making the most of every day aren’t you?

I would love to hear how you navigate through. Do post in the comments.

I am walking a long walk each day (unless it’s really wet – I confess a tendency toward fair weather walking!) and busying myself with artwork – some large oil painting when I can get to the studio and a lot of small sketchbook work and trials with materials.

I have also enjoyed making some short films – here is one celebrating the faces in West Park, Wolverhampton. This is a space where I am allowed to go for exercise. Who know there were so many faces there!

I have called it West Park Ghazal which is becasue it sits alongside a poem in this form that I made on a workshop with Emma Pursehouse and Steve Pottinger last week as part of the Boundary Way Project. Emma is the poet laureate of Wolverhampton – do look her up she’s insightful, poignant and humerous. She features in Wolverhampton Literature Festival next month. I might be performing for the first time on February 14th – eek!

West Park Ghazal
In West Park the sun is lower – om shanti
The mist obscures at an early hour – om shanti

Ice sheets crackle in blue chipped wonder
The tiny moorhen, a struggling rower – om shanti

Geese sliding comically on landing
Webbed feet losing control and power – om shanti

Trees drip fog drops to the slippery paths
Azalea buds with a promise of flower – om shanti

I pity the birds, the struggle for food
A leaf too tough and a berry too sourrrr – om shanti

I give thanks for my lot
at this early hour – om shanti.

Clare Wassermann Jan 2021

and here was the day itself – wasn’t it beautiful?

Workshops

I have been enjoying teaching both meditation sessions and art online. If you would like to join one I have :
Wolf Town Art Club – next session is Sunday lunchtime on February 21st – here are the details on Eventbrite. 2 hours of fun for £5.80 – cheaper than Sunday lunch.

Meditation sessions are available through Gatis Community Centre – look for Mindfulness, Meditation and Wellbeing – they take place on Tuesday nights online. These are free for now.

Also at Boundary Way monthly meditation, movement and mindfulness sessions in January, February and March on a Monday morning at a very reasonable £2.50. We are lucky to have been awarded funding for this work.

Walking

Meanwhile I continue to walk and draw when possible outside – in itslef a very mindful activity – ages can pass and I can be almost completely frozen solid before I notice my body!!

More poetry and film

I discovered Haiflu today too.

Created by Spoken Word Artist Liv Torc and supported by Forward Arts Foundation, National Poetry Day, the British Library and Arts Council England

Featuring over 600 contributions from all over the UK and beyond and told through stunning weekly film instalments. This is not just lockdown art, it’s a historical record of human beings and society in the midst of great change. Here is the website and there’s a great Facebook page too if you like short poetry and film. It’s all very current.

Best wishes to all of you out there – stay mindful, warm and well.

love – Clare

Seeking The Olive Branch

meditation, painting, philosophy


‘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

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