Category: meditation

Creative Art Inspirations

Creative Art Inspirations


Stella Terrill Mann,

“Every time we say, Let there be! in any form,

something happens.”

I’ve been away.

Not literally, but figuratively. Taking a …. Pause. Reflecting.

Many of you, readers, customers, students and friends ask with increasing frequency, “When, are you going to post again?!”

“Soon, When it is Time.” Has been my response.

Artists, creative people in general go through cycles, and bursts of productivity.

Then, seemingly endless – long empty dry, droughts.

Where nothing is happening. So it seems on the surface.

But look deeper. And you discover all the myriad ingredients simmering and merging together quietly.

They just aren’t ready yet.

We have to learn patience.

It will happen. We will not be stuck in the drought or winter, forever!

Winter isn’t really a time of sleeping. Its a very busy time. Underneath the layers of earth, major preparations are being done.

Side note…..

I have been away for quite some time, so I decided to freshen the blog up a little.

I’m testing out a new WP format, and I will just have to press publish to see how it all goes. I like experiments!

I hope you like the change.

Thanks for your patience and continuing to ‘check in’ while I have been on pause and reflecting.

Cheers, Debi

Walk on the Calm Side: 55 minutes

Walk on the Calm Side: 55 minutes

I pulled over into the nature reserve’s parking bay. Quickly glancing down at my watch, 7:08 am, (just double checking.)  Mentally going through my morning checklist.  Organising the sequence of events.

Wondering if I, really, should be taking this time.

Should I, be using this time to enjoy,  a short walk on the calm side.




The Walk Begins

The Walk begins with limitations,  with less than ideal circumstances.


I’m going to do it regardless.

And  make the most out of it.



I grabbed my camera, locked the car, stuffed the keys in my pocket.

Mind’s in overdrive.

Be in the car and back on the road, by 8 am.

Be at the first appointment at  8:15

Yes.  That is doable.

OK. I’m set.



Strange way to begin a walk meant to relax, meant to be restorative, meant to de-stress.

All the while, thinking:  stick to the plan, move in the ordered sequence.

Get all the items marked off,  finished.


At least today,  I allowed my self more than 7 minutes.




Does any of this, sound familiar?

Anyone else, ever ‘over structure’  their time to relax,  their zen time so   that it just might not be  so very zen after all?


Usually I approach my walks, well, more like Zen Strolls.

But. You know….. the holidays.

Then, there is the sun.


Early mornings are still around 80 degrees right now and nice.

5am would be ideal.

I just don’t want to get in the car then.

I need my coffee.

It IS  about priorities.




Continuing….  Back To The Walk


The target goal is back in the car in 45.

Hop to it.

My first pause was the bridge again.


You saw it differently in the last post.  Here, I am.


nature walk photography in the park,
Bridge and reflections

Today’s bridge photo features the cool calmness of green, the reflections rippling.

Advising me perhaps, to “slow down.”



Calm Cool Florals  by the wayside

Lovely lavender – blue agapanthas were scattered around the parkland reserve.

The morning light, was perfect.

I stopped.

A few minutes went by………….

I was enchanted by the colors, the soft light of morning.


I felt myself relaxing.

Breathing in nice, big,  deep breaths.


soft light in morning photography, flower agapantha, nature walks,
Soft Light, Agapantha



Sit, Reflect.  Meditations

A park bench was right alongside the footpath.

I glanced then kept walking.

Thinking,  “No Time.”

I reluctantly walked on by another 30 meters.

I turned around.

Back to the bench and sat myself down.


After all,  this,  is going to be A Walk on the Calm Side.




Time – Spent

Tick Tock.

Ten minutes went by.

It was calm, meditative.

I was enjoying this.

Blood pressure was going down, I was going to be refreshed, energized.


Time was being spent, wisely. 

Not wasted.  Not sliding, careening away, forgotten.

Each of the moments here, I will, remember.


I jotted down color notes.

I engaged all my senses.

I wrote notations on the flowers, trees, the wind, the sounds, the temperature, the shadows, the softness of light.


rough bark photograph, canon eos, debi riley art, art basics

Even how the bark would feel, and how the petals did feel.


color and raindrops on flower,
Soft as Silk the petals…..


I made these minutes relevant.


I spent my time. It definitely wasn’t wasted.



On The Way Back

I still had to make it around the small lake, though, back to my car.


The rust colored fence  with curved metal bars, intrigued me.

I loved the shapes, the tones, the forms.  I liked the depth of field.



light red iron fence in park, water fountain, nature photography,
Light Red, iron fence


I thought of how Light Red watercolor paint would be perfect for this fence.

I thought of how this image would be ideal for class interpretation.

How easily they could see the tonal values, light and shade in the shapes and forms.




Calmer Reflections

The next pause, was the quiet reflections.

Again, the hints of light red played a role, but it was softer in this.

Less dominating. Calmer.


calm gentle water reflections,
calm, gentle reflections



I’ve stepped up my pace marginally.

Not a brisk walk by any means.

No more sitting.




Abstractions on the Lake

Then my eyes caught the design,  the patterns, the light on the calm side of the lake.

I had to stop. 


The subject was right up my alley.


Swirling patterns, and so nearly monochromatic.


The most striking feature was the sense of peacefulness it seemed to evoke.


nature photography, water and shoreline, zen strolls in nature,
here.A  moment of Peace


Right Here.

I was here, for a much longer time.


The subject demanded it.

And who am I to refuse a subject, a Muse…. when she calls?



patterns close up, lake and water photos monochromatic and abstracted,
close up and abstracted





calm lake photography,
Serene Calm


Back on the road – 55 Minutes

Taking the last shot, I flipped the camera off,  put the lens cap on.

Grabbed my keys.

Glanced at my watch……..


8:03 am

55 minutes


In my car, on the road.

55  Memorable  Minutes.


A lovely Walk on the Calm Side.









Here, I am….

Here, I am….

A walk? No.

It wasn’t, what it was, was a brief 7 minute sit down.

But utterly completely, there.

3 days in a row, sneaking and stealing the time.


mindfulness, meditation, zen,, flower photos, walking in nature to relax
Mind Fully, present and here

Mind Fully There

Work, shops, tasks. Driving.

Drivers who provide an endless treasury of resource material for posts.

Deciding I need to take a recess.


Taking an ultra brief, stop on the way.

A pause.

Same place, roughly the same amount of time spent.

Just being.



I sit.  No walking. No talking.

Just listening.


I am determined that if I only have about 5 minutes to spend here,  I am going to make every second count.

And that each moment, I’ll feel, and listen, taste the air and breathe it all in.


As if…. they were my only 5 minutes left.
And so I do.


It is a magical and  illuminating way, to spend this short span of time.




Karen’s post at Healing your grief  recently included a quote by William Blake.

It seems to sum up what I’ve been doing in these pauses.


“To see a World  in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven    in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity

in the palm of your hand


Eternity in an hour.”

William Blake



It is the holding “Eternity in an hour…”   that captivates my interest most right now.






Google, as always is a wonderful delightful Friend.

I typed in Mindfulness, to see what I might come up with.  After a few scroll downs, I found something of that piqued my interest.




What?   Harvard?  and mindfulness…. really?

It caught my eye.



Harvard Business Review…….    If You Aspire to be a Great Leader


In a survey of 2,000 employees, Bain & Company found that among 33 leadership traits — including creating compelling objectives, expressing ideas clearly, and being receptive to input — the ability to be mindfully present (also called centeredness) is the most essential of all.


Research also suggests that there’s a direct correlation between leaders’ mindfulness and the well-being and performance of their people.

In other words, the more a leader is present with their people, the better they will perform.


Every morning, Conant allocated a good chunk of his time to walking around the plant, greeting people, and getting to know them.

He would memorize their names and the names of their family members.

He would take a genuine interest in their lives.

To Conant, these behaviors were not just strategies to enhance productivity; they were heartfelt efforts to support his people.




As I read the HBR article, I found myself nodding in agreement.  That Conant chose to take an active interest in the lives of his employees was interesting.

It was also a sharp and vivid reminder to me of a previous long term, employer of my spouse.

He also, took an active participation in his employees’ lives.

A genuine, concerned interest.

What this did, was ensure the entire family was invested in the company and its success.

We, and even the children, were on board with travel and the long hours the job entailed.

I look back and think, what a smart man.

But also, more importantly, how truly, kind he was.


These leaders are fully engaged and present; and yes, they do get the most from their workforce.



Art is not in Isolation

You might think it odd, I find quotes and articles from business publications and don’t stick to  “arts and crafts.”

But, I’ve found we really can’t isolate areas so easily.  One bleeds over into the other.


I enjoyed the article enough to want to share it.



nature walk photography, mindfulness,
Here. right here, I am.








A Walk, for Blue

A Walk, for Blue

Just a super quick post.

About a short walk, around the block and back.

A relaxed, amble, if you will.

Looking for things “Blue.”


blue flower photograph, zen stroll, relaxing nature walks,
Photo in blue – Wabi Sabi flowers

Blue Flowers


I did find lots of lovelies in wonderful shades and tones of blue.


Cerulean, Ultramarine, Prussian, Indigo, Indanthrone, Cobalt,  and tons of in between blends.

Its amazing just how many things are out there in Blue;  when you hunt for them.



The hunt didn’t take long.

Ten minutes to circle the block; at a slow pace.

Slow…. to make sure I didn’t miss out on anything!




Camera Information:

Canon Rebel 600D      Lens Canon Macro EF 100mm 1:2.8 L

ISO 100      shutter speed 1/640      Aperture  f4


On a side note… I really love using the apertures open.

The f stops at f5.6 or f4  f3  or less.

This,  creates soft blurred backgrounds.  

Medium soft middlegrounds too.    Only the Focal Point is sharp. 

Just the way I like it.      (For photos and for paintings.)




A Monet Morning: I want the unobtainable

A Monet Morning: I want the unobtainable

Morning arises, the early light so gentle, so soft with an  otherworldly kind of glow that captivates.

My post dawn zen stroll  was magnificent  –  A Monet Morning.


blue flower agapantha, Monet art, zen strolls, early morning walks,
Monet Morning .. photograph


Claude Monet

I want the unobtainable.

Other artists paint a bridge, a house, a boat, and that’s the end.

They are finished.

I want to paint the air which surrounds the bridge, the house, the boat,

the beauty of the air in which these objects are located, and that is nothing short of impossible.



Claude,  you say what I feel.

And This Morning…. the beauty was in the air.

How. To capture that?

How. To express that?

Like you say,  it is nothing short of impossible.

Still, with paints or with camera ….. it is the destination.



At The Edge of Summer

Right on the cusp of summer there is still time yet for a beautiful,  freshness in the morning.

A hint of warmth carries with it the scent of newly opening blooms: roses, agapanthas, jacarandas.

They fill the air with promise and mystery and love.



I paused, along the banks of the little creek.

Just to breathe.

To fill in my lungs with the aroma of the morning.

Just to Be.

Just to see.

Just to feel.

To immerse myself in all the things,  around.




Claude Monet  said,

the  Critic asks:   ‘And what, sir, is the subject matter of  that painting?’

– “The subject matter,  my dear good fellow,  is  the light.”




Morning Observations

Over to my right, open fields with long tall spent grass.

Golden, no longer a spring green.

But I can see the burnt umber, the  burnt sienna,   Daniel Smith…Naples yellow,  buff titanium,  indian yellow all making an appearance there in the field.


To the left a thicket, dense and tangled with branches and vines that were weaving upwards.

Spiralling just a bit,  like a spider’s web.  I didn’t enter.


Further to the left, a grove of pretty patterned trees leaned in towards each other.

I wondered what they might be speaking of this early morning.


Shifting, but still in place,  to the opposite side houses with their pretty little flower gardens.


The aromas of the morning blooms, teasing my nose as I inhaled deep.

And again for more.  How lovely.




More like ….  Monet

And this is why, I go for zen strolls.

Why I don’t go for a power walk;

no… not going for speed, nor for quantity either.


A Zen Stroll savors each breath.

The very air I breathe.


It reminds me,  to be  more like Monet.





Monet … Guggenheim 

Monet … Musee d’Orsay 



The Intriguing Circle in Art: Enso

The Intriguing Circle in Art: Enso

Enso. An Intriguing word.

A strange word, a new word?  I can explain.

Or rather,  I can provide subjective descriptions. And examples.

Allowing you to form your own interpretation of what an Enso means, for you.


Japanese Enso, zen art, meditation, creative brush use, circle of enlightenment, debi riley art
Enso …. in blue,  with silver dust and cobalt teal


The Intriguing Circle: Enso

My thoughts on the Enso.


My very first thought: It nearly defies definition.

I don’t really think there is a concrete, hard and fast  “This, is Enso”  definition.

Intangibles are often difficult to completely pin down.

More like trying to capture Vapor as it rises above  – drifting off, and forever, just out of reach.




But lets give it a go.


From Wikipedia….. 

This spiritual practice of drawing ensō or writing Japanese calligraphy for self-realization is called hitsuzendō (筆禅道“way of the brush”).

Ensō exemplifies the various topics/dimensions of the Japanese wabi-sabi perspective and aesthetic:

Fukinsei (asymmetry, irregularity),

kanso (simplicity),

koko (basic; weathered),

shizen (without pretense; natural),

yugen (subtly profound grace),

datsuzoku (freedom),

and seijaku (tranquility).


In my 7 set series, The 7 Days of Zen,  I explored each one of these Zen  “Wabi Sabi”  topics.

If, you’d like to know more start with The 7 Days of Zen and work your way to The 7th day!




Enso….. It is a circular form drawn and painted, while in the midst of a quiet contemplative state of mind.

It is

A  Moment

when,  the mind

freed –

permits the body and spirit as one,

to Create.




enso, ink drawing,
enso in Ink….




The Enso,  it could be…. drawn in the dirt or sand.

Or done with a brush using water only upon a footpath…… to vanish within mere moments.

Very Wabi Sabi.


The purpose of the Enso is  or could be, about causing the artist to focus on the Inward journey.

To think.  Contemplate and become more aware.


It  isn’t actually about producing  something for show and tell,  for sale, for display, for others.

Enso……  its about the intriguing inner journey we all walk, step by step, each day.



enso in greens, overlapping pattern in spring limes, rice paper and watercolor, enso art,
enso design by karen



I believe Enso symbolises –

The Circle of Togetherness.  United, connected, in harmony.  Oneness.

The Circle of Awareness  ie  “Enlightenment.”


Its about feeling.

Its is about en-lighten-ment…. The light of understanding shining  suddenly upon you.

It is about letting go.

It is about self reflection, contemplation, peace – serenity.


Purpose filled.

Not wasted, not empty.

Its about making each step,  every breath, every brush stroke,  each mark made,   every step taken – mean some thing.



blue copper enso on rice paper, japanese painting, meditation, zen art,
Blue Copper Enso,   A ‘closed’  enso;    student’s work from class


Enso is a single,  thought filled ……. studied brush mark.


A brush mark upon a surface in a circular form.

No need for ‘perfection’  –  full stop.


The need,  is for the aiming towards unity, oneness, balance.


The Enso is the visual culmination of  an enlightened moment, a space, a place in time.




The Enso has phases as the ink on the brush, slowly runs out.

The first 1/4 of the stroke is usually full, dense, dark, thick, even having blobs.

The next phase runs smoother,  finer.

By the 1/4 mark from the end though you’ll see a rapid decrease in ink.

Often giving a wispy tail effect on many enso drawings.

These things are dependent, upon the paper used and the brush used.

As well as  the individual artist.


enso point of beginning and end, zen art, enso in blue,
Libby’s Enso; enso beginning, end



Enso  Steps 

  1. Gather the art supplies. inks, brushes, papers, canvas, paints, etc.
  2. Contemplate,  be meditative about the enso image you desire to make 
  3. FULLY  LOAD   brush with the ink, paint required for the entire, enso
  4. Breathe deep calming relaxing breaths, inhaling exhaling, til…. Relaxed
  5. Draw the enso shape – Using ONE long, fluid, stroke…….. just 1
  6. If, you wish,  add your thoughts, words or verse to the image 
  7. sign it;   as you do, think about balance & harmony of placement


you can use canvas, papers of all sorts… rice paper is fabulous, bamboo, cotton, silk, etc.   

you could deckle ie tear the edges of the paper to make it look more weathered, decorative, wabi sabi 

using metallic powders ie  copper, silver, gold,  sprinkled into the ink or watercolor could add dimension

or you could draw the enso over a Pale, tinted wash of watercolor – just make sure the ink you Enso with is deep dark enough to go over the w/c wash & provide Good Contrast!      



serenity enso, japanese enso on rice paper, serenity enso, zen art,
Serenity – eleanors enso




ENSO Benefits and Learning Outcomes

A primary benefit is it trains us to be more mindful of our brushstrokes.  ie not to fiddle. 

Reminding us,  every single brushstroke and mark we make,  needs to Count.

Needs to mean something.  We become more aware of this, the more often we practice Enso.    

Bottom line is: we get paintings with far less Mud, far less overworked paintings, more decisive bolder,  stronger artwork when we partner up, with enso practice.     

Creativity and Imagination are developed, strengthened. Made into super highways in us rather than the meager little goat tracks they once were.   


The enso shape,  the simple circle, permits the mind to wander.

To wonder. To Imagine. Unlike the box like rectangle, that tends to restrain us, confine us. Keep us in our place.

The circle, the enso invites creativity.   

And by inviting creativity we actually … perform better.




The practice of this form of art, helps the artist in these ways: 

  • Developing a sense of calm, using a new, clarified approach creating art.
  • Finding, seeking out the connections…. (within the subject, within the larger picture, within the self) 
  • Stillness. Contemplation before creation results in a stronger image ie Result.
  • No fiddling. Means No Mud.    This, transfers over into all your painting efforts. 
  • Relaxation.  It is in the peaceful non-stressed state,  we are freed to be Creative.
  • Concise, Meaning-Full.  The practice of enso trains us to make every mark,  count. 
  • Begin to think on the content, the deeper message of your art.
  • one stroke.  This, teaches us restraint. A wise &  Masterful use of tools, materials, resources.
  • In The Creative Zone.  Fully present in that moment. no where else. Where you are  connected to the art, to the tools – materials, the subject, the self, the mood/feeling.  Enabling you to convey those things onto the paper. 
  • Enso … to me,  is a frame of mind where we are Calm. Measured. Purposeful.    An ideal space to be, when we want to really truly permit our creativity, imaginations free.


Ideas for Your Enso…..

Watercolor Enso colors –    indigo   indanthrone   jade      perylene green      mayan blue     amethyst   purpurite   prussian    lunar black      amazonite        

Pairings……  LunarBlack+phalo      Indanthrone+Ultramarine     Indigo+CTB       Perylene green + Zoisite (or Mayan Blue)   




Artists, References, Sources



Kazuaki Tanahashi

Full of information, techniques, guidance his calm, kind and thoughtful approach to art transfers easily to his students and audience.  Definitely a Master.  Kazuaki’s enso paintings are unique, creative and so soothing.   He has workshops, worldwide California to Italy. Plus, offers online courses.

I love his work.  And simply have to say you’ll love it too!

Check in with Kaz at


“As soon as you accept the accidental effects,

they are no longer accidents.

They are necessity the part of yourself that you could not expect or design beforehand.

Thus, the realm of your creativity grows wider.”

Kazuaki Tanahashi



Nakajima Hiroyuki

A contemporary artist, uses gigantic brushes effortlessly.  The smallest of brushes, and fingers, hands, cardboard, pastels, inks, acrylics…… seemlingly,  any tool, any media is handled with ease. Ahhh…. once again, A  Master well worth going to have a further study with!

 Hiroyuki, blends  Japanese calligraphy “Shodo” with nature, with Zen, with Tai Chi movements.  It is really,  a performance art. Something to Watch, not merely look at.



Shodo:  the Quiet Art of Japanese Zen Calligraphy  by Shozo Sato   ISBN13   9784805312049   is a beautiful,  hardcover book with large expressive illustrations and instructions.  Available at Abe books online.




illuminated enso, detail of design, yellow and purple pairing,
illumination, the enso path by angela   (enso in detail)



Enso, is a pathway that can lead us towards awareness, towards illumination.



I once explained Enso as a way to enjoy art more, to engage in the process more.  That we could think of it, in a way, Like eating a meal.


We can either quickly bolt down our Thanksgiving banquet.

Or we can fully engage in the savoring of each dish we select to partake of.


It is an awareness of what we are doing right then.

It is a way to enjoy things …more.

Extracting every molecule of enjoyment from the moment that we are able.

To Live.  Not merely exist.

Becoming More aware of our steps, of  our marks we make.



The more I train myself to look at things with simplicity, harmony, clarity, balance, acceptance in mind The better my art work will be.

It can’t help but to improve.

Because I am training myself to fully engage, to fully observe, to be fully aware. This is conveyed to the viewer.


This is,  I guess, philosophy of sorts.

But, it is art.

And an  integral piece for me.


And as your art becomes filled with more variations and content, and more depth;  you too, become more.

It is connected.


silver and indigo enso, circle of enlightenment, peace, moonlit silver skies,
silvery moon midst the midnight skies



In a past post, The Haunting magic of Nature   I stated,

“Make it count.”

Enso guides us along this path in one of the best ways that I  know of.


And,  no.   We aren’t all ready for it at the same time.

That is the way of things.

And, its ok.


So maybe I’m ready now, but when I began my art journey years ago I most certainly was not.

I was too tight, too rigid, too locked into the constraints I had been told were the right ways to follow.


Yes,  its difficult to break, the barriers holding us back.


Not impossible.




Japanese Zen art, Enso paintings, meditative art, using silver and blue in cloudscapes,
Enso in silvered blues of the Moon


More Reference Sources for you


Excerpts below, taken from articles by John Stevens and  Audrey Yoshiko Seo and the Modern Zen Enso may help to further clarify, “What Is the Enso?”


John Stevens   What is an Enso

The Zen poet Hanshan wrote -“My heart is like the autumn moon’’-  perhaps to indicate that the enso symbolizes  the moon-mind of enlightenment.

Another inscription,  “Within the ever revolving circle of human passions, things come and go, come and go,”  to represent a wheel.


Zen masters create enso paintings as meditation prompts for their students.

Each Zen master has their own Enso style. That individuality is clearly expressed in their art.


Some enso circles are perfectly symmetrical;

others are completely lopsided.

Most are done in one stroke; others are made from 2  half circles.

Some are massive, thick; others spindly, delicate.  Fragile.

Most begin in the left-hand corner of the paper, but can start at the top or bottom.



Audrey Yoshiko Seo, author of Ensō: Zen Circles of Enlightenment writes,

“Zen circles, ensō, are symbols of teaching, reality, enlightenment, and a myriad of things in between.

Seemingly perfect in their continuity, balance, and sense of completeness, and yet often irregular in execution,

ensō are at once the most fundamentally simple and the most complex shape.

They seem to leave little room for variation, and yet in the hands of Zen masters, the varieties of personal expression are endless.

Enso  evoke power, dynamism, charm, humor, drama, and stillness.”




Modern Zen Enso 

Enso.  The two Kanji symbols that create the word, enso  translate as Mutual Circle or  Circle of Togetherness.


The symbolism of an enso might refer to:  the beginning and end of all things;  the circle of life;  and the connectedness of existence.

It can symbolise being full or empty;  presence or absence.

All things might be contained within, or excluded by its boundaries.

It can symbolise infinity, the “no-thing,”  the perfect meditative state, and enlightenment.

Often it represents the moon;  the moon being a symbol of enlightenment.

The Enso can also represent the moon’s reflection on water,  symbolising the futility of searching for enlightenment outside oneself.




Enso symbolises so much more:

The acceptance of imperfection as perfect,  the universe, single mindedness,  strength, elegance and,  the state of mind of the artist at the moment of creation.


The circle of infinity and the cyclical nature of existence,   simplicity, completeness, endlessness, perfect harmony, the oneness of life and all things contained within it, the absolute fullness in emptiness, the spirit of harmonious cooperation, the visible and the invisible.


The enso is a universally known symbol of wholeness and completion; “form is void and void is form.”

When you take the time, to study the enso  you see that form and void are related….connected.

And, in fact, define each other.



It is a fascinating   expression of individuality  as expressed by variations in ink tones, brushstroke thickness, shape of the circle.

And even the positioning of the single point where the circle begins and ends.


There are so many definitions available, that each of us is left to select or create our own definition of enso.

enso zen art, using color in enso,
enso by joyce



Opening in the Enso

The Enso may be closed or painted with an opening in the circle.


The open enso might symbolise that it is not in isolation, but is instead,  part of  the greater Whole.  ie  “Circle of Togetherness.”

The open circle reflects that the enso is not contained within itself:  but opens out,  into infinity. “Infinity Circle.”


The Open Enso can also suggest imperfection.  Imperfection as an important, necessary, inherent element to our existence.

The Enso can be the open circle of emptiness in which the self flows in and out while remaining centered; or it can be closed.


Allowing the enso to remain open,  is as if we’re allowing room for the spirit to flow in and out of the circle; allowing it to Breathe.

Breath and emptiness are essential ingredients for meditation, contemplation and the creation of a spiritual life.


Drawing the enso is a contemplative meditative.  An inward process.

Meditating in silence for lengthy time period, before picking up the brush and paper is a common routine for the zen artist.

The Enso is done quickly.  As a manifestation of what existed within the artist’s mind already.




Enso is a Zen symbol of the  imperfection of all things.

The natural occurring imperfections of the enso, drawn by man’s hand not machine, nor helped with precision based tools – make the enso a beauty of natural perfection.

Perfect as it is.

In all its flaws, all its imperfections.

The Enso, teaches the student to cease struggling.

To abandon the compulsion for Perfection.

To permit things to unfold, as they will.


enso, zen circle, circle of enlightenment, drawing zen, zen calligraphy, debi riley art,
circle of completion ….enso on rice paper




By embracing the practice of Enso, even if its only occasionally – it can help us not just in art, but every day living.

In making the most of each moment.


We are making marks. Every day.

Every action, step, word, look, art work we create is a mark.

A brush stroke, if you will.


The practice of enso,  I believe,  teaches us that our lives – are works of art –    Or can be.





Enso moon: silver

Enso moon: silver

A glimpse is all.

The sliver of enso.

A silvered moonlit night.

Clouds swirl round and round, the pretty moon.



Japanese Zen art, Enso paintings, meditative art, using silver and blue in cloudscapes,
Enso in silvered blues …  a close up Detail, from my Enso painting


So perfect for the Halloween night.



Enso Moon



This is only a very, quick brief look.

A teaser for “Tell All” in the next upcoming post  – The Intriguing Circle in Art – Enso. 

I’ll be providing a much more detailed and far lengthier post,  explaining and describing The Enso.

With a lot more fun images!


So fun,  so Zen,  so Wabi Sabi.