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My daughter is in art school and I am a proud mama. I am routinely amazed by her endless imagination and skill. Even though her work more technically advanced than mine, we still can share in art discussions, critiques and even offer each other much needed encouragement. I learn so much by listening to her work through her assignments. One class has her do extemporaneous prompts… 30 min digital art works with a surprise theme. Last week's theme was “Wabi-Sabi”.

Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese world view that accepts transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is centered on Buddhist teachings and the principles include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and the appreciation of nature.

I had an epiphany. Wabi-Sabi is a wonderful way for me to embrace my own creative process.

My own background of living with chronic illness has definitely given me the super power of appreciating the little blessings in life. Things don’t have to be perfect. Happiness is not equivalent to goodness. Maybe that is why much of my art uses deconstructed elements in the overall composition. Layers, textures, and raw elements could be my way of embracing imperfection.

My mixed media works consist of preliminary paintings that have been broken down and re-arranged into a patchwork background that underlies my main image. My paint peel art is made through literally peeling dried paint off of my palette and using scraps as a texture feature. Rarely is anything perfect in my work, and I often choose to emphasize the “mistakes” in order to enhance the overall feeling of the piece.

Here a few links to resources explaining wabi-sabi philosophy and how it can enhance design.

Examples of my own work through this point of view.

“Windflower IV”

This is a painting of one of my favorite flowers, the Japanese anemone, or windflower. The different papers I have used are very apparent throughout the piece. On a close inspection of the petals and leaves, you will see that there are actually negative spaces revealing the layer beneath. I left the flowers incomplete, or “broken” but to me they are complete. The delicate forms become not only a visual feature but they also tell a story of a fragile flower reaching for the sun.

Wildflower IV is currently for sale at Bel Air Art Center in Rocky Mount, NC


This was a mini palette peel painting that sold a while ago. The seahorse is made of globs and bits of dried acrylic paint. I cherish the beauty of the random color variations and shapes found on my palette. There may be greens and golds from five different other works that come together to make up this one small painting. The eye of the seahorse is not even painted in, it is merely the remnants of spilled paint from around the top of the tube.

I think Wabi-Sabi is an excellent perspective from which to view my art.

It is amazing that after almost 20 years of creating my own art I am just now finding ways to appreciate and understand my creative process.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Living Artfully,

- Delphine

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