Inspiration Fridays! Have You Mastered Magic?

Gabriel Lipper-still life on canvas-adult art classes

Have You Mastered Magic?

I wanted badly to be a ninja. I heard somewhere that the ninja were selected at a very young age to train for their solitary careers as elite assassins. As a kid, that kind of focused discipline (and the idea of growing up in some sort monastery for dealers of death) sounded incredibly cool.

“Perfection is everywhere if we only choose to recognize it.” – Kakuzō Okakura, The Book of Tea

Eventually, I traded out my ninja suits and nunchucks, for what is at their essence:

Enter Shūgyō: All of the dedication and discipline, sans the murder and subterfuge. My weapons were now brushes and paint. Mastering these tools became an obsession and my focus was on improving with every stroke. Always training, always refining. Art warrior.

芸術武士 (Geijutsu Bushi) or ゲイブ(Geibu)

That was fine and all, but what I needed now was some juice! Wabi-Sabi, the Japanese philosophy of finding beauty in imperfection, teaches us to love the quirky. It’s that horrifying moment when your landscape painting falls face-first into the weeds, and comes out looking better for it.

Now, imagine combining these two: using the disciplined techniques of Shūgyō to create a solid foundation, then letting Wabi-Sabi loose in your studio. You might start with a carefully planned composition, followed up with splatters from a toothbrush or the clumsy line work of a string dipped in paint.

Gabriel Mark Lipper - Still Life on Canvas

Gabriel Mark Lipper – Still Life on Canvas

Balancing Wabi-Sabi and Shūgyō offers the best of both worlds: the freedom to explore and risk, and the skill to execute.

Next time you’re in your creative space, try letting Shūgyō guide your hand and Wabi-Sabi inspire your passion. Together, they’ll help you create art that’s not just extraordinary, but extraordinarily you. And… if you’re running short on Shūgyō, or you need some extra Wabi-Sabi, there’s still one day left to sign up for my Still Life workshop! Mastery and magic.

Does perfection hang you up?

What about uncertainty?

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments