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

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.