JANINE IBBOTSON

About

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The first time that I drew a circle with an East Asian calligraphy brush, I was immediately captivated by the ink that flows through the veins of this three-thousand-year-old art form. I draw the Enso or Zen Circle, a calligraphic form which represents many things including the present moment, nothing, and everything. For me, drawing them is a way to meditate. As my brush traces each open circle, awareness is as much a component of the art as is paper and ink. In my interview with the Drawing Your Own Path podcast, I discuss many aspects of my art practice.

Each enso is drawn in one stroke and in one breath. Multicolored ensos are created by dipping a single brush into different colors. Ink mixes on the brush and on the paper. I often sign my art with personal seals or chops. Each seal is intimately connected with my excursion in working with the brush arts. In a way I feel that my journey is akin to a classic seeker’s trek, traveling great distances through jungles filled with tigers and snakes, to meet a genuine spiritual teacher. The teacher shares information and then the student works with it, often for years, to gain some level of understanding. My experience feels like this, searching for and receiving teachings about the Zen Circle from the teachers I have encountered. I have taken those teachings and worked with them diligently, for years. In working with them, the journey, the practice, has been the reward. And it continues to be so.

I have taught the enso practice at the university level and my art is in private collections throughout the United States. Born in Chicago, I now live and paint in Boulder, CO, USA.