On the first of July 2016 I started a project inspired by Wendy Ann Greenhalgh and her book Mindfulness and the Art of Drawing. You can read Wendy's post here https://artofmindfulness.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/an-enso-a-day-mindful-drawing-for-everyone/ In the meantime, here is an extract about Enso.
Simplicity is an expression of the clarity and spaciousness of mind that allows the body to move and create uninhibitedly. In the Japanese Zen tradition, this idea of an artist free to make marks that are an expression of the uniqueness of their own being is explored through the drawing or painting of circles – called ensō. Ensō – sometimes called Zen Circles – are usually made with one continuous movement of brush or pen. Ensō is a sacred symbol in Zen Buddhism, where it’s know to represent infinity and enlightenment. It can also represents the oneness of life, completeness, emptiness, harmony and, of course, simplicity. There is an extraordinary beauty and elegance to ensō, and it is its simplicity, the minimal nature of the single brushstroke on the page, the closed (or sometimes partially open) circle, that makes it so.
Ensō, as a symbol, also represents the artist too, the maker of the mark. The artist’s mind is revealed in it, captured in the act of creating it, along with their acceptance of imperfection, for it is almost impossible to draw a perfect circle. The ensō is a drawing that is the manifestation of a single moment and of all that we are and are not within than moment. Within its form is held the life of the drawer, their mind, heart and body, as it flows through their arm, through the pen or brush and onto the page. Every ensō is different, each circle varying in the tones of ink, mark or brushstroke, the shape of the circle, even in the point in the circumference where the artist chose to start. Ensō are in this way a complete expression of our individuality.
Here is a sample of some of the work I made for this project.