Sunday, June 29, 2008


A watercolor artist friend of mine signed me up to a twice-weekly newsletter that I am really enjoying. The newsletter's author, Robert Genn, is an accomplished artist. As well, his style of writing is thoughtful, intelligent and wide-reaching. This is more than a newsletter for the painting artist, but is an insightful, thought-provoking, teaching newsletter that covers all spectrum of the creative. I've learned so much, including terminology that apply to arts of all kinds.

Like "shibui." From Mr. Genn's May newsletter "Shibui is a broad term that can mean irregularity of form, openness to nature, roughness of texture, and the naturalness of daily life. Also known as Shibusa, it refers as well to the Japanese "Seven aspects of being," which are simplicity, implicitness, modesty, silence, naturalness, roughness and normalcy. It's seen in raku pottery, architecture, folk crafts, haiku, gardens and painting. Shibui is worth thinking about no matter where you are or what your art."

Sharing this particular newsletter topic with my road trip buddy, Carroll, she began lamenting that she had zero artistic tendencies. I vehemently disagreed. She is a fabulous cook, putting the term "shibui" into play with each dollop of cream or sprinkle of herb. Rarely does she use a cookbook, choosing instead to pull culinary masterpieces together from what's in the cupboard on any given day. She does this successfully day after day with yummy results. THAT is artistic, as are her cottage gardens that are delightful paintings of blossoms sprouting up randomly and sporadically through flagstone pathways. Man...can you get any more artistic than that? I think not. Cooking and gardening are shibui in action.

Had I known of this term before I might have titled my blog "Shibui." Many of you are aware of the inner struggle I'm having with whether to keep my blog random or reign it in to one subject. However, Life blesses me with so many lessons each day that I just can't hold it all in. One day I'm compelled to write about a family member and another day some bold insight comes to me during a walk and I have to share it. My thought process is irregular in form. Obviously, I'm extraordinarily open to nature. I'm drawn to roughness of textures, whether tree bark, surfaces of stones or pollen covering a bee's legs. These details and patterns tell a deeper part of nature's stories and reflect the naturalness of daily life.

My blog is an artistic outlet for me. Blending music and photos with writing feeds a need deep within my soul. Further, communicating with like minds and meeting people around the world deposits another layer to my personality and character. My blog shall remain random and will remain Giraffe Head Tree as the concept of shibui will always be in the back of my mind.

If you are interested please do check out The Painter's Keys and sign up. I promise you will not be disappointed.



Anonymous said...

Well my dear, I too live along that line of thought. I've written and studied haiku for nearly 7 years though I seldom share it online anymore (people tended to 'borrow" it) :)

I'm going to check his newsletter out as well. You know you have it absolutely correct: being artistic or creative doesn't mean just in writing or painting but it includes the examples you've given about your friend and her culinary art or garden artfulness.

I too am a child of nature. I do hope you won't center your blog on one topic/theme. You are a woman of many interests and capabilities -- I love to read about each one. After all, a spider's web is nothing with just one thread -- it requires each of the connected threads to create a whole. A leaf is not a leaf with just one cell: it is created by a multitude of joined cells, each dependent upon the other. I 'vote' strongly for your blog to embrace each of your important and diverse moments.

Warmly and whole-ly,


Lisa at Greenbow said...

By all means keep your blog random. Your blog is such a treasure. I like coming here because I never know what I will find. I have not been disappointed.


Anonymous said...

Debi, I had to come back specifically to add this quote. It's one that you've likely come across before, but I add it here anyway. I truly love that your blog is random -- that's part of the beauty of visiting here.

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together.
All things connect." ~ Chief Seattle, 1855

Andrew Niculescu said...

I just wanted to let everyone know that Robert Genn's Shibui is available online. You don't have to sign up for anything to read or comment on any of Robert's letters.

He writes twice a week every week. His letters. are enhanced online with illustrations and comments from varied artists. They are all available for free online.

Thanks for the nice post.

web developer

kate smudges said...

What Diane and Lisa said - I much prefer reading blogs that give me a sense of the whole person ... we aren't usually confined to one interest and so why limit our blogs (even if conventional blog wisdom advises sticking to one topic.) Being a creative soul means exploring beyond the confines of convention ... at least it does to me. Keep on doing what makes you happy.

I love reading Robert Glenn's newsletter - it always seems to appear at opportune times for me and gives me much nourishing food for thought.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Thank you all for leaving nice comments. Yes, I decided to keep my blog random - it just fits me. And I'm pleased you all love Mr. Genn's newsletter. Andrew - thank you so much for providing additional information. The newsletter is new to me but I've enjoyed each edition! Random R Us, ladies...and I love it!

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Oh, and Diane - I love the Chief Seattle quote and have saved in in my Quotes file. It's perfect. All things do connect.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful capture there. :)


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