The 7th Day of Zen arrives!  After a wonderful, enlightening artistic journey the final element of the Zen Art Series is Simplicity – “kanso.”  In other words, keeping it simple.

cobalt teal, simple zen abstract,
Japanese Dreamscape


Simplicity. Simplifying. Simple

Simple is not as easy as it sounds.

Our minds and eyes seem to be always racing somewhere.  Racing down the highways, always seeing complications, always adding more to our days’ tasks.

Seldom do we cull, weed, prune, or eliminate the un-required  for the good of the whole.  We just add more.


Whispers on the Wind
Whispers on the Wind


“Kanso”  Simplicity  is about ….pruning.

Kanso –   Simplicity, plain, no frills, not fancy, nor decorative,  fresh clean simple, uncomplicated.


Stripping back to the wholesome necessities and discarding the rubbish. (This is just my very brief, version of interpretation!)

I often think of my artwork as a fruit tree;  lots of branches growing every which way, some have mold and spots, some grow the wrong way, some are strong and need to stay.  But I must prune my tree.  In order for it to be a beautiful strong tree full of fruit.

Those unnecessary branches…… have got to go.  Time to Simplify.  Time to Prune.

(And Yes,  I’ve done a bit of pruning orchard trees in the past!)


kanso simplified plum leaves, zen,
Kanso Leaves



What is it about Simplicity that draws me?

I love the uncomplicated, Purity of Essence that shines with clarity.  The essence and spirit are not fragmented nor scattered by the many hundreds of added little knick knacs that just happened to ‘be there’ and so had to be put in too.

I love the fresh, clean, spacious feel of Kanso.

I have room, I can Breathe!

There is no clutter.  There’s been no fiddling.  There is no muddiness.



Winters Glow, watercolor landscape, reflections,
Winter’s Glow



How do I cull,  decide what should be eliminated?

I ask myself What is the Purpose of this art image?  What is the Focal Point?  What Message do I want to try to convey?  And then, systematically,  look at everything to see how or if it is helping to achieve the goal. Or not.

Yes = stays.  No = removal.          That part is simple.




Wabi Sabi and Zen Art

When I first began my art journey I knew nothing of art basics let alone zen, wabi sabi and their elements.

Its only been after many years of painting,  nature walking,  observing and contemplating…. that I have realised my approach was leaning more towards a minimalist and impressionist style.

I also began to look closer at Tony Smibert’s painting approach around 2000.  Tony has a decidedly East/West fusion that fascinated me.

I love the way this style conveys and says much More,  with Less.


simplicity wabi sabi, zen, painting,
Night Gleaming



Conclusion of 7 Days of Zen  Series


All 7 Wabi Sabi elements have been explored.

Briefly, but if you have been enthused and inspired,  you could look for more in my Search box!   Or …of course,  our friend Google, is such a miracle worker, he can find anything!!



The 7 Days of Zen post series are:


Additionally,  for  watercolor enthusiastics –   the Watercolor Basic Tips  is really a great place to go and find a treasure trove of beginner watercolor information I have compiled together.

Everything from what materials to get, why and where; to color mixing methods; basic art techniques and more creative techniques are there as well.


7 days of Zen, seijaku,
7 Days of Zen I


Thank you for coming along with me in this long 7 part series,  I hope you have enjoyed the journey!