Trying to Work Out the Meaning of Wabi-Sabi

I learned a new word/concept this week:

Wabi-sabi, the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection.

When I googled it I got a lot of images of interior design, all images of simplicity combined with a lot of irregular texture and natural colour tones.

So with this is mind I went out searching for imperfection and wabi-sabi. Is this wabi-sabi? Maybe with a lot of filters and graininess. It does follow my interpretation of the interior design philosophy. Red berry bush for the winter on Granville Island in Vancouver's November; run through the photo apps Stackables and SnapseedThen I googled ‘wabi-sabi artworks’ and was led to Gordon Smith, an artist whose work looked very familiar, both in the subjects and the work. Then I saw that he was from Vancouver, thus the familiarity of his subjects, and that he showed primarily at art galleries up on Granville, one of my haunts. This is the google search: gordon smith artist.

Inspired by Gordon Smith’s work, especially of ponds and reflections, I headed off to the nearest duck pond. With these shots I tried a Photoshop filter that I haven’t used much – it’s in the ‘Brush Strokes’ filters and it’s called Sumi-e. I had to look that up too – it’s a style of Japanese ink painting.The duck pond on Granville Island in Vancouver's November; run through Photoshop's Sumi-e filterIt doesn’t look much like an ink painting to me, but it does have a Japanese quality to it – maybe more of a wood-cut look.  The duck pond on Granville Island in Vancouver's November; run through Photoshop's Sumi-e filterI went a bit crazy with the Sumi-e filter. This is some overgrown hops in the Arbutus Corridor.Hops overgrown along side the Arbutus rail corridor; run through Photoshop's Sumi-e filterSome translucent plastic has been wrapped around this garden to protect the plants against the winter.Arbutus rail corridor gardens plastic protection against the winter for the plant; run through Photoshop's Sumi-e filterVines seen through hazy plastic on the Arbutus Corridor. More of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Pick Your Own.

7 responses to “Trying to Work Out the Meaning of Wabi-Sabi

  1. Pingback: 2020 Photos in Review | Albatz Travel Adventures·

    • Thank you. I had been really inspired by Gordon Smith’s paintings which were often of ponds and reflections – I was quite pleased at how close the Sumi-e filter came to capturing the mood of his paintings.

  2. It seems you’re truly hooked on Wabi-Sabi Elizabeth! I think I am too 😊. I loved the brush strokes filter image which actually looks VERY Japanese ink drawing to me.

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