Monday, July 18, 2011

Enso Practice

Enso Practice With Paint Can Marks And Other Decorations, 17X22", mixed media

Many more ensos than one can see.
They recede into the layers.
If you think you've seen one,
you probably did.  
I have no idea how to meditate.
I have no idea why I paint.
But my feet no longer touch the ground.
And I don't want anything.  

Painted my second story woodwork
hanging off a ladder once.
Cream with dark brown siding.
Lost my grip, dropped the can.
What a painting. Everywhere.
And paint can ensos all over
the sidewalk.   Still there.
But you have to look.



Sharmon Davidson said...

Bill, the color and depth of this piece are wonderful! One can never have too much enso practice, I always say. No wonder your feet don't touch the ground.
p.s. you do know how to meditate.

William Cook said...

Thanks Sharmon. I needed that. OK maybe a little with the meditation.

Celeste Bergin said...

I remember hearing once that all thought can be classified as either memory or desire. This painting seems to qualify as both

Susan Roux said...

Bill this painting is so engaging. I have to laugh about dropping the paint can. But what an inspiration it was for you! I like how your background changes and the tiny borders on top and bottom. They create a wonderful excitement and tension for the lovely bubbles to exist in. I almost feel like I'm floating underwater. How cool is that!!?

AutumnLeaves said...

One of the few abstract pieces of art that I am instantly "in love" with, Bill. I think it is the colors and the circles...Just absolutely beautiful!!

L.W.Roth, said...

I am just going back and forth to the dictionary this morning Bill. First looking up Kalie's BF's "positivity," now "enso." Both words are not listed in my American College.

But I am absolutely positive that I have ensos around my house, for I am known for leaving my mark both intentionally and unintentionally on a regular basis. Now that I have a name for the unintentional ones, I'm going to take a look around.

I love the subtly of the colors in this one. Are they on the ground or in it? The ensos look like stained imprints. You do make me want to take out the cement or the plaster. While you meditate, I'm daydreaming. Seems all I care to do this my summer of flux.

Sonya Johnson said...

This piece certainly has a strong meditative quality to it, in keeping with the enso design, and the colors are calming and harmonious.

Anyway, meditation can have many forms, and surely painting is one of them. Perhaps that's one reason you paint ;).

I like your placement of the reddish enso right in the middle of the panel, challenging the usual rules of composition but not violating them. Nice.

Casey Klahn said...

Depth was the first word I thought of, too. Very wonderful.

RH Carpenter said...

You don't know how to meditate? Ha! This painting is a meditation :) Beautiful, mutli-layered, quiet, moving, flowing meditation. Paint can meditation? Perhaps :)

William Cook said...

Celeste--Oh my. Good one. How true, memory and desire, kind of like breathing--seems perfectly natural. Thanks.

Hi Susan--I've seen that too! Every now and then I look at this and think "underwater". Very deep and mysterious (and not a little unsettling) experience. Those ensos do do a great job as bubbles. /// Thanks for commenting on the horizontal elements. I've been very conflicted about them in the sense that they may have become formulaic. But when I added them the piece gained that tension you noticed. Have I succumbed to mere trickery here? On the other hand, I really like what these cement textures are doing even as border decorations. /// I'm so glad you laughed at the paint can thing. Took me hours to clean that up enos or not. All the best.

Hi Linda--I love that about blogging. I too spend a great deal of time looking things up./// What an education! And what a cool concept--searching for the unintentional enso. I love this stuff. Thank you. /// As for the piece, some of the ensos actually are heightened a bit with rubbed colored pencil--a little intentional staining--you're right.///
And there really is something basic and satisfying about laying down a slab of cement. As you can see I've been tinting it with liquid acrylics, and am starting to think of it as very elastic as a medium, kind of like the encaustic artists see wax. It's like a poor man's encaustic. Ha. /// Anyway, you could say meditation is very much like daydreaming--good one./// Finally, I am in awe of your labeling this as, "The Summer Of Flux". Brilliant. All the best.

Hi Sonya--Thanks for your wonderful comments! This piece has been one of those that needed a lot of observation. In the earlier stages it was so calm that I had to keep doing things to it to wake it up, like the horizontal elements and the surface scribbling. /// I like your observation that painting IS a form of meditation, although it's very physicality mitigates the transcendental aspects. Then again it has occurred to me that as a painter, meditation is already familiar territory. I'm inclined to agree that artmaking in its pure sense can actually be a form of meditation. /// For a long time I winced at that central element for that very reason. It survived, though. I feel like a renegade.

Hi Casey--Thank you. That depth is actually a happy accident. Originally I envisioned a tongue-n-cheek statement on enso with sloppy paint cans and overflowing joint compound buckets mixed in with ensos by the dozen. Anything round in absurd profusion. But as I worked on it this depth emerged and kept reminding me of outer space and its objects--cold, distant, quiet. That's what developed and survived, and my tongue-n-cheek idea utterly failed. Go figure.

Hi Rhonda--I've been meaning to tell you that your very simple pencil sketch of those leaves is so elegant and is really staying with me. Such a simple effort, but such a beautiful statement./// Thank you so much for your characterization of this enso piece as a meditation in itself. This is a variation on Sonya's in that the painting itself becomes incentive to meditation. Thanks for verbalizing this. The final piece may have value after all. This may require additional noodle-ation around here. I really like your new icon!

William Cook said...

Hi Sherry--thank you so much. What a wonderful thing to say. Another convert? By the way, your daughter's clouds are way way cool. I'm in like with this kid. All the best.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

You paint because you must! Or to keep your feet off the ground. Even better when something can't be captured by words but only in the experience of play and work and wonder and what if and hours lost to the experience.

Funny thing about accidental ensos ... When I was about 7, my mom asked me to take a carton of cottage cheese out to the garbage because it had gone bad. "Don't open the carton and for goodness sake, don't drop it!" she warned as I walked out the back porch to the garbage.

Of course, you know what happened. I couldn't resist her warnings and opened the lid. Out came the most hideous smell I had ever experienced. I threw the carton up in the air to get it away from my nose, and the carton made several permanent marks on the concrete outside the door. Putrid cottage cheese ensos everywhere.

I have to say that it was enough to swear me off cottage cheese for life. Ugh.

William Cook said...

God I love concrete, rotten cottage cheese carton marks, paint cans, initials, cracks, old hamburgers, stains and yellow dayglo arrows notwithstanding. Hilarious story, Katherine, but did your mother learn her lesson?

John Brisson said... are the concrete man

William Cook said...

Hey John--I found that out this morning putting on my shoes. Apparently I don't bend very well anymore. I think I'm setting up.

jane minter said...

love this one bill ...paint cans and concrete at it's best .

John Brisson said...

Now that is funny!! Well, actually...I kind of know the feeling!


William Cook said...

Hi Jane-----I've been in awe of your latest washes (especially the blue horizontal gradations). Breathtakingly cool. Thanks for checking in! Always a pleasure to hear from you.