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 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