Tag Archives: Zen

It’s Almost Over!!!!!

So this is the last weekend of the show.  The show “Walking Through the Zen Garden” ends on Sun. afternoon.  Ann and I both hope that you have enjoyed a glimpse into the realm of a Zen Garden and all the beautiful nature that is there.   Remember, when the show ends, we will remove most of the pictures from the website.  So, if you have a favorite that you want to buy, or cards to order, now is the time.

Our first show continues a wonderful period of growth in our new gallery.  We have about 400 Twitter fans and our Google + following is increasing steadily.  If you don’t follow us on Twitter or Goggle +, then consider getting an email subscription, RSS subscription or “liking” us on Facebook.  We even keep up a presence on Pinterest.

Of course, with endings start new beginnings and we look forward to the mountain of possibilities. The next few weeks are very busy as we explore a series of Halloween and Fall seasonal works of photographic art.   Also, stay tuned for another A&A Photographic Arts first, as we present the publishing début of the short-story Old Man Grier and the Ghost Pumpkins. 

Are you a railroad or train fan?   We hope so.  A new series will begin soon featuring works of art from a local steam-powered railroad still in operation.

Don’t’ forget, now is the time to start thinking about rotating your seasonal artwork and purchasing new ones.   Speaking of seasons, don’t forget your new greeting cards,  they are a great way to impress someone special and wish them a happy holiday.

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Art In The Japanese Tea Ceremony

The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a cultural icon that easily boggles the western mind.  A tea ceremony is not a host and a bunch of her friends sitting on the porch eating biscuits and gossiping. Everything is precisely planned with precision. This is a social event, and as such it promotes the cultural ideals of the Japanese and provides a glance into a very complex culture.

It is also about imagery and how image is very important to the Japanese. A special room or house is often built, such as the one in Reflections of a Tea House. Cleanliness is constantly maintained.  They beat the tatami mats (reed mats placed on the floor for sitting); sweep the wooden floors and replace any damaged Shoji (paper wall) screens.  Gardeners trim the garden bushes, weed the plant beds, and finally, remove dead leafs.  Interestingly, some of the leafs are left so that it maintains the image of the garden being a living thing.   Even the art displayed during the ceremony is important to the image and must follow specific rules.

 

The tea ceremony is not the place to find the gaudy or outrageous “in your face” style of art.  It is a traditional form that has developed rigid rules on how things proceed. Those rules differ slightly depending on the style or school where the host learned and practiced. However, socially prescribed rules will still exist for just about everything.   Including a particular way to light the charcoal, stacked in a particular way to heat the water.  Every aspect of the ceremony has a purpose and an artistic yet meditative and deliberate movement.

 

The host chooses utensils for the ritual with the utmost care.  The style of utensils depends on the theme for that particular ceremony.  Some of the utensils are intricate and ornate, obviously of great cost or value, while others are of a simple plain artistic taste, but never “cheap”.  Balance with the theme and style of the ceremony remains vital to the idea of the ceremony itself.

 

Indeed, every aspect of the tea ceremony remains planned to not upset the natural balance in the surroundings according to the chosen theme.   For instance, the carefully arranged and picked flowers in a vase only serve to enhance the natural beauty of the room.

 

However, the floral pattern displayed on the vase does not mirror the flowers themselves.  The pattern provides an artistic and pleasing flow with the flowers, but neither the flowers nor the vase detract from one another.

 

Further, the use of a wall hanging is often seen in tea rooms.  This wall hanging follows the same principles as the flowers or vase.  You want nothing that would detract from the other items in the room.  So, if a wall hanging displayed shows chrysanthemums then you would neither find the same pattern on the vase or in it.

 

The tea served is Japanese matcha tea.  It is an astringent, somewhat bitter, green tea pounded to a powdered form.  Placed into a cup, hot water is then poured and finally whipped using a wooden or bamboo whisk.

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Interested in the Japanese Tea Ceremony?    If you would like more information, try these sites:

 

http://japanese-tea-ceremony.net/

http://www.chinatownconnection.com/japanese-tea-ceremony.htm

 

 

What Do You See in Turtle Rock?

Ann and I walked through the garden producing the photographs that became the show Walking Through the Zen Garden.  We had just walked along a narrow winding path when Ann pointed at this particular boulder and said, “That looks like a turtle.”  I looked up from fiddling with my camera and said “That isn’t a turtle that’s just a … a… turtle.”  Yeah, that does look like one.”  click.

 

Thus, the artwork titled Turtle Rock arrived.  But what happened?  Why did I first look at the rock and never thought it looked like a turtle, but then it did?

 

The answer is form of Pareidolia. No, it’s not some tropical disease.  It’s a weird scientific word that basically means that our brains attempt to make visual or auditory order out of chaos.

 

I saw a rock and a random texture of pebbles and crags in the rock.  My brain did not enjoy it.   Human brains dislike visual or auditory chaos.  It perceives it as a threat.   So it does something about it.  It creates the illusions you see while looking at a cloud in the sky and begin to see houses, and faces, and expressions.

 

This stems from the days when we were hunters and gathers and depended on our five senses to survive. You need clear vision and pattern recognition to see your dinner running through the bushes so you can aim your spear.  You also need clear distinct hearing and auditory recognition to recognize the sound of a charging elephant so you can get out-of-the-way.

 

If your senses trick you and offer nothing but random sights or sounds, your brain will rebel and attempt to see what it thinks it should.   The reverse of this concept is why camouflage works.  Camouflage creates chaotic patterns out of something identifiable and tricks your brain into not see what is actually there by using the opposite visual technique.

 

When I heard the word “turtle” my brain, not enjoying the chaos and lack of patterns in the rock, made my eyes look for the head of a turtle.  I quickly identified the snout at the top, the eye in the middle, and the nearby rock as part of a turtle shell breaking the ground like water. Art created by the power of illusion through chaos.

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No, Not Camera, It’s Gamera!

In years of ancient lore there existed only 4 television stations and no way to record anything, you had to know when your show was on and make sure you were in front of the TV for it.

 

A show played every Saturday afternoon called Creature Feature with some dressed up host with a huge facial scar and scary music telling macabre jokes that a 6-year-old is too young to understand.  Nor did I care; I was there at 2:00 p.m. to see what monster movie they had on.  One of my favorites was Gamera.

 

Gamera stars in a series of old 1960’s sci-fi Japanese monster movies where the acting was strange by American cultural standards and the English Is dubbed over the original Japanese and doesn’t match the mouths of the actors.  Gamera itself was a giant monster turtle that fought other monsters while generally destroying Tokyo to save the world.

 

This turtle in the pond was the largest one there.  He looked mean and green and the other turtles were nowhere near him.  He was content to float in the green murky water and didn’t seem to be in a particular hurry to go anywhere for anything.   All the while, I could see those large web claws on his front feet and his algae ridden scratched hard shell.  This turtle had lived in the pond for some time.  So,  when I caught a glimpse of this tough guy I remembered Gamera the monster turtle and the name stuck.

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Garden Mornings is a World In Itself

When expressing my thoughts of this work of art.  I found a quote that perfectly describes my relationship with this picture.  Consider walking through an amazing green garden, taking in all the sights, and discovering behind a small bend in the path lies this view.

“The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”

-Henry Miller

This piece of art is well suited for being viewed when you first walk in a room.  It’s meant to grab your attention.  It automatically sets a tone of calm serenity and peacefulness.  If you are looking for a conversation starter, have this picture printed on the metal or acrylic options that our printer provides.  Your house is your sanctuary, let your fine artwork show your feelings.

 

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