Friday, April 12, 2013


circle paintings deborah jaouen
Watercolor sketches I've done lately

Circles have spoken and are still speaking to me right now as I try to revive my drawing practice.

In Zen Buddhist painting, ensō symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create. The brushed ink of the circle is usually done on silk or rice paper in one movement (Bankei, however, occasionally used two strokes) and there is no possibility of modification: it shows the expressive movement of the spirit at that time. Zen Buddhists "believe that the character of the artist is fully exposed in how she or he draws an ensō. Only a person who is mentally and spiritually complete can draw a true ensō. Some artists will practice drawing an ensō daily, as a kind of spiritual practice."[1] from wikipedia

circle painting deborah jaouen

The circle has been serving as a template for the daily watercolors I've been doing for the past few weeks. It cuts through any resistance that may arise as I decide what to draw or paint. It just is, so I don't hesitate and dive right in. It's a good exercise in restraint to let just enough white paper peek through in certain places.

luli sanchez
Luli Sanchez website here

I'm respecting watercolor as the discipline it is. Anyone who has tried it knows you can't go back and add your lights if you decide you need to later on.

luli sanchez
another Luli Sanchez

Daily drawing challenges have never been my thing so it feels right, finally, to be painting/ drawing again on a daily basis. I think it was because of the circle.


  1. Deborah, I am happy to think of you drawing/painting every day - your circle work is just beautiful. -sus

  2. I have explored circles and dots - enso - for a long time.. how lovely to see your post on enso. I can recommend a book titled ENSO, Zen Circles of Enlightenment by Audrey Yoshiko Seo. and thank you for stopping by my blog post on artist block and leaving such a supportive comment.

  3. Hi I am finally getting around to your blog post on Enso.. I hope you found the book. Enso has had a huge influence on my work too.

  4. hmmm. boy I am goofy...with a poor memory. I now see that I left a comment back in I left you another one :-)

  5. And here I am again in November leaving another comment.. I hope all is well.