Posted in Art, Beauty, Essay, Paula Kuitenbrouwer, Spiritual Practice

Empty Space as an Aesthetic Significance

I’ve read an intriguing quote in Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat by Naomi Moriyama;

‘The importance of ‘empty’ space in the presentation of Japanese cuisine can scarcely be exaggerated. Receptacles are never filled to the brim, but are left with a certain margin of emptiness- emptiness of an aesthetic significance comparable to that in a Zen ink painting‘.

(Chef Masaru Yammamoto).

Considering the importance of empty space is what I do when I draw or paint. Often an empty space is needed to guide the viewer to the place that needs his attention. Other times, empty space is filled with suspense. Because empty space can create guidance, tension and calm contemplation, it is full of possibility.

Isn’t possibility what emptiness is? The emptiness or absence of sound means a bird can fill it with its song. Emptiness as possibility works in compositions exactly the same. An empty place can be filled in or left open.

It is important to notice what exists in an empty space. If I paint a bird on the left side of my drawing looking at the right, what is the bird looking at? The empty space isn’t empty at all. It is full of possibilities. Is the bird looking at a mate? Or a prowling cat? Not filling up an empty space often works well; it adds more possibility, tension or imagination to a painting. Other times a large empty space is too dominating or too much a void, in that case, doing something with it is better. It is a place that offers calm contemplation, leave it open.

If you are a home educator, don’t teach you child that the whole page or canvas needs to be filled in. (The only reason why you should offer an art assignment in which nobody is allowed to leave the class room before his paper is completely covered, is when your students need to overcome shyness, self restrained, or inhibition).

If you are a creative therapist or an understanding friend, sit down with your client or friend, and analyse his doodle or drawing by asking what is going on in its empty space. Talk, investigate, and dream together. You will be surprised how many possibilities or interpretations will emerge.

If you are a parent and your young child is proudly showing you a painting, play with your child. Ask what is going on with the objects that are drawn, and what is happening within the empty space. Then built a story on what the child tells you. Your child will charm and entertain you with pure child fantasies. Empty spaces are full possibilities.

You thought empty space is boring or shows a lack of imagination? Or a bad composition? Certainly not always, often quite the opposite.

Returning to the book on Japanese food; I always dread the moment when I have to stop drawing in order to prepare a dinner. From now on, I will plan to continue my mindful meditation by bringing aesthetic principles into my kitchen.

– Paula Kuitenbrouwer

© 2013, essay and photographs and artwork (above and below), Paula Kuitenbrouwer, All rights reserved

birdcardsPAULA KUITENBROUWER ~ is a regular contributor to Into the Bardo and a Dutch nature artist living in The Netherlands and sharing her work with us on her blog, Mindful Drawing and on her website.   In addition to art, Paula’s main interest is philosophy. She studied at the University of Utrecht and Amsterdam. She has lived in Eastern Europe and in Asia. Paula says that in Korea, “my family lived next to a Buddhist temple. In the early morning we would hear the monks chanting. During my hours of sauntering with my daughter through the beautiful temple gardens, I felt a blissful happiness that I try to capture in my drawings.” Paula sometimes teaches children’s art classes. She lives with her husband and daughter and close to her father. You can view her portfolio of mindful drawings HERE.

Posted in Bardo News

BARDO NEWS: What Leibniz Never Learned; Paula’s “three minutes” of fame; Niamh’s new FB page; an opportunity for women poets … and more

sllwomanreverseVia contributing poet and good friend to Bardo, Myra Schneider for Second Light Network of Women Poets: AN INVITATION TO WOMEN POETS TO SUBMIT TO A MAJOR NEW ANTHOLOGY FUNDED BY THE ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND and open to contributions from any women anywhere in the world …

The Second Light Network of Women Poets have recently received Arts Council funding to bring out an anthology of poetry by women poets. It will be called Wings of Glass. The book will focus on ambitious writing and be published next autumn 2014 and launched at the Second Light Festival in central London in late November. The editors are Penelope ShuttleMyra Schneider and Dilys Wood. Submissions will be accepted between 15th November and 15th January. Please see full details for submitting : www.secondlightlive.co.uk

51rk8frRwfL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Her Wings of Glass (the title a quotation from Sylvia Plath) is to be a 200 page anthology that will complement but not repeat Second Light’s previous anthology (with Arrowhead Books), Images of Women. The focus of this anthology is ‘big issues’, for example the future of the planet, good and evil aspects of our relationship with the natural world and with each other, different aspects of our imaginative understanding of ‘who we are’.

The invitation is for up to six poems per submission, not more than 200 lines in total, with three copies of each poem to Dilys Wood at 3, Springfield Close, East Preston, West Sussex, BN16 2SZ, by January 15th 2014 together with the administrative fee of £5 (Second Light members) or £8 (non-members). Cheques payable to ‘Second Light’ or pay online at the poetry p f (online shop (filter to ‘Wings’). Non-UK submissions may be sent by e-mail as .doc or .pdf attachments, only to Second Light Administrator (poet Anne Stewart. ) Anne Stewart is a fabulous help with your technical questions. [Check out Anne’s poems HERE.]

The adjudicators will advise those selected by 30th June 2014 and those poets whose work is selected will receive a copy of the anthology when published. Submitted poems may be published (details on poem please) or unpublished or otherwise out in submission. Second Light may also publish a short spin-off anthology if funds allow.

FULL SUBMISSIONS GUIDELINES HERE

artemisEditor’s note: Poets of the distaff side, don’t forget Second Light Network of Women Poets as a primary professional association with an excellent bi-annual journal ARTEMISpoetry, which is published in November and in May. Membership in Second Light network is not restricted to residents of England.

terriREV. TERRI STEWART (Cloaked Monk) is the founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition in Seattle, Washington. Don’t miss tomorrow’s post for details. You will find Terri’s philosophy of Extreme Accompaniment of interest and applicable to the many situations we encounter and have the impulse to heal.

PAULA KUITENBROUWER (Mindful Drawing) was honored by Boeddhistisch Dagblad, the premier Buddhist magazine of the Netherlands, with an interview and photographs … in Paula’s words her “three minutes of fame.” The feature is HERE in Dutch.

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1012862_450201838416190_1876830770_nNIAMH CLUNE (On the Plum Tree)  has set-off a virtual explosion of activity and inspiration on her Plum Tree Books Facebook Page.  She is hosting posts by a bevy artists and writers including Shawn MacKenzie (Dragonsnest) with Editor’s Corner and Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day , the journey in poem).  Jamie’s Corner, Soul Speak with Jamie Dedes, is about matters concerned with the inner life.

Niamh’s Plum Tree Books (PTB) is a small book publishing company and will publish material on FB based on the creative collaborations of team members. PTB encourages participation and comment on many subjects from technical advice on how to make a recording, to poetry, social comment, inspirational quotes to inspire your poetry, and how to illustrate children’s books. PTB is always looking for new talent to showcase.

twavatarKAREN FAYETH‘s (Oh Fair New Mexico) latest short story What Leibniz Never Learned was published by The Storyteller, a literary magazine of the print variety. Here’s a snippet with a link to the complete story:

“Anton dropped his head into his hands and, with a deep sigh, allowed frustration to wash over him. He had so many things to say, deep, powerful, urgent emotions, and all he could squeeze out on the pages of his quadrille lined laboratory notebook were gibberish lines and jumbled words.

If only expressing words of love was as simple as the calculus that flowed so easily for him. Figuring derivatives of complex equations happened with ease and grace. Math made sense. Feelings did not.

He turned to a clean page and wrote down a problem. He crafted the most difficult math he could think of and then solved the equation without breaking a mental sweat. Math – in particular, calculus – made him feel better.

That’s because: Math = Easy2 + Clean + Pure

Words sucked. They could be misinterpreted and get all jumbled up and used against a guy. Especially with girls.” MORE.

REENA PRASAD (Butterflies of Time, a convas of poety) ~ is an Indian poet, blogger, and blogging-community friend based in Sharjah. She works tirelessly on her poetry and on getting her work published. Congratulations to her on her most recent success, the publication of Seasons on Thanal Online.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: We are delighted to be introducing some new talent into the mix over the next few weeks and we continue to work on the submissions received from the Call for Submissions, which is now closed. If you have not heard from us yet, do not despair. The project is simply taking more time than anticipated.

POETS AGAINST WAR was certainly a successful effort and we continue to receive submissions, which will be posted and then also added to the collection Poets Against War, 2013 collection.

POETS AGAINST WAR, the book: Several among the Core Team members, contributors, readers and friends have indicated an interest in publishing the poems in anthology with the proceeds from sales going to an international charity to be named. We are researching the details on this and will share information and plans as they become clarified. The short-term plan is to host another peace event in September 2014 to include artists, photographers, story-tellers and essayists. It will be implemented in concert with the 2014 global 100,000 Poets for Change. If all works out, we’ll electronically publish the combined collection (2013, 2014) during the first quarter of 2015. If you have suggestions or technical skills to share, please let us know and they will be factored into our considerations and/or into the planning process. Just leave a note in the comments. Thank you!

BLOGGERS IN PLANET LOVE: This is a heads-up on an event in the planning for Valentine’s Day 2014. Details to be determined and announced. Look for more news about this collaborative effort addressing climate and environmental concerns and the meaning of nature in our lives.

NEWS TO SHARE?:  Please feel free to do so in the comment section.

– The Bardo Group

Posted in Art, Meditation, Paula Kuitenbrouwer, Spiritual Practice

Mindfulness in the 1600s

the work of Paula Kuitenbrouwer, a reblog of one of Paula’s Sonnetagsfreude – or Sunday Happiness – posts, which are an initiative of Maria at Kreativeberg.  …Enjoy!

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brother-lawrence

A Kid’s Herb Book by Lesley Tierra for my daughter, and for me The Practice of The Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.

Sunday Happiness* is about finding time to read. Our society slows down; we all get some time for reflection.

My daughter explores the mysterious world of herbs with this magical, herbal workbook. It is about making your own healing potions, secret remedies, and magical salves.

My book is about mindful meditation.
Brother Lawrence, a monk in the 1600s, promised himself he would live day and night, in good and bad times, in God. He spent many years practising the presence of God in his life. His key to this practice was that he strove to be consciously aware of God’s presence at all times, which seems a perfect synonymy of (Christian) mindfulness.
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To me it means that with everything I do, I ask myself if I’m acting in the best consciousness and ethical conscientiousness. With means, I need to be aware and practice self-discipline, carefulness, and thoroughness. It is very easy to wander away from awareness and thoroughness, like with any meditation. If this happens, I bring myself back into the presence of God. It is a wonderful meditation, but not an easy one. Having said that, the more you do this, the longer the stretches of time of being in God, or being mindful, do occur.
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I started to read this tiny book months ago, and I do return to it often, because Brother Lawrence’s promise still inspires. To purposefully enjoy God’s presence, or mindfulness, in your life, is like opening up to small miracles. Pouring tea becomes a meditation and so does watering the flowers on the balcony. It is still a bit hard to feel the presence of God while paying bills (and all others worldly and bureaucratic chores ), but to stay mindful, to stay open for the presence of God non stop is what it is about. And when I succeed, I feel a happy appreciation for the smallest things in life.

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Rembrandt’s master work of his son, Titus van Rijn, in a monk’s habit

Is this book only for Christians? Not at all. I recommend it to all people who are interested in the spiritual life. It is about mindfulness in the 1600s.

Thich Nhat Hanh says, in one of his many books that I’ve read, that if you need the address of God, he will give it to you; it is Here and Now. Brother Lawrence would probably have said: God’s address is being in the presence of God.

Namaste,
Paula

© 2013, essay and photographs/artwork (below), Paula Kuitenbrouwer, All rights reserved

birdcardsPAULA KUITENBROUWER ~ is a regular contributor to Into the Bardo and a Dutch nature artist living in The Netherlands and sharing her work with us on her blog, Mindful Drawing and on her website.   In addition to art, Paula’s main interest is philosophy. She studied at the University of Utrecht and Amsterdam. She has lived in Eastern Europe and in Asia. Paula says that in Korea, “my family lived next to a Buddhist temple. In the early morning we would hear the monks chanting. During my hours of sauntering with my daughter through the beautiful temple gardens, I felt a blissful happiness that I try to capture in my drawings.” Paula sometimes teaches children’s art classes. She lives with her husband and daughter and close to her father. You can view her portfolio of mindful drawings HERE.

Posted in Art, Nature, Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Honoring the Mother

Mother’s Day is a celebration honouring mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. Nowhere it says it is only for human mothers, so let’s have a look at two bird-mothers.

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The first second I saw this photo, I thought it was gross because the bird looked distorted. However, a serious deformation as having 4 pair of extra feet is a bit too much to take. Close inspection learns that this Common Ringed Plover is sheltering her chicks from the cold wind that can make their habitat, the beach, rather unpleasant. Mummy Ringed Plover will regularly do this till the chicks have replaced their fluffy down with insulating feathers.

Imagine being a chick Ringed Plover and just walking into the warm, insulating plumage of your big mum and having a chat with your siblings. I bet mummy-bird is enjoying this peaceful moment of having all her chicks near her too.

This peaceful moment is a pause in the paradoxical task that characterizes motherhood; mothers have to keep their offspring close to gear them safely in to adulthood, adulthood that is all about growing away from the parents. Keeping them close in order to let them go.

Here is another mummy-bird, shielding her chicks to keep them safe and warm.

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I like to point out that I can’t state for sure that above photos are depicting mums with chicks. The Dove and Common Ringed Plover can be fathers. They can be those excellent fathers that care about their youngsters. Mothering isn’t exclusively done by mothers. Therefore, if Mother’s Day is about mothering, caring and loving, we should celebrate Mother’s Day with all who care, love, and share. And this includes childless couples, cooks, nurses, doctors, and all those who take others under their wings for a cuddle, a dinner, a supporting hug, or a bit of warmth.

– Paula Kuitenbrouwer

© 2013, essay, photographs and artwork, Paula Kuitenbrouwer, All rights reserved

mg_4414paulaPAULA KUITENBROUWER is a Dutch nature artist living The Netherlands and sharing her work with us on her blog, Mindful Drawing and on her website. Paula says, “Mother’s Day is about a hug or a poem. Nothing more is needed. But if gifts are given; flowers express gratitude and love.”  She’s designed a Mother’s Day Gift-set for the 12th of May.You can purchase her art HERE.

In addition to art, Paula’s main interest is philosophy. She studied at the University of Utrecht and Amsterdam. She has lived in Eastern Europe and in Asia. Paula says that in Korea, “my family lived next to a Buddhist temple. In the early morning we would hear the monks chanting. During my hours of sauntering with my daughter through the beautiful temple gardens, I felt a blissful happiness that I try to capture in my drawings.” Paula sometimes teaches children’s art classes. She lives with her husband and daughter and close to her father. We are often honored with and most grateful for the wise and gentle posts from our much-valued Paula.

Posted in Art, Guest Writer

Kindly Kitchens …

Female Bullfinchcolored pencils c Paul Kuitenbrouwer
Female Bullfinch
colored pencils
c Paula Kuitenbrouwer

International Women’s Day 2013

by

Paula Kuitenbrouwer (Mindful Drawing)

Editor’s Note: Life happens and I apologize for bringing this post of Paula’s to you so late after the day it honors. Nonetheless, the message of kindness must always be delivered; and, I think her message is valid and beautifully delivered. I thought it important that we share it with you here. Jamie Dedes

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women‘. I suggest we stretch that promise and for one day we end the violence against female animals too.

See, it is known that mostly female animals suffer because of our meat industry. Cows, hens, goats, and sheep have to produce a crazy amount of meat (off spring), milk, and eggs. Dairy cows have a natural lifespan of 20 years, however their factory farmed lifespan is only 5-6 years. Sheep have a natural lifespan of 12 years, but the factory farmed lifespan for lambs is only 3 months. Apart from that, we use drugs to squeeze in 3 lambkins every two years. Hens have a natural lifespan of 7 years, but live much, much shorter due to the poultry-industry.

So, if you want to participate low profile, in International Women’s day, this day could be your (first) vegan day. If we all do that, it will help to reduce suffering, even if it is only for one day.

As a vegan myself, I can assure you that eating vegan is wonderful. Just leave out all animal products and there you are. Your food is animal – especially female-animal – friendly and as a bonus it is good for your health, weight, and karma.

Here are my inspirational vegan connections and female friends, slowly changing the world in to a better place for female animals:
Lee Aiken’s great recipes are at Plenty Sweet Enough;
Susan Voisin’s wonderful recipes are at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen;
Janie shares great ideas at Gluten Free Vegan Me;
Angela show us her vegan wonders at The Great Vegan Caper
Veronica Grace’s delicious recipes are at Low Fat Vegan Chef.
Rhonda Dunlap inspires us with her Vegan Pinterest broads.
Do sink your teeth in Marilyn Peterson’s 
Vegan Bite by Bite book
… and if you are in need of a lovely teen book on a vegan dog, here is Marian Hailey-Moss’s A Dog named Randall

www.CompassionateCook.com
http://www.CompassionateCook.com

© 2013, art and essay, Paula Kuitenbrouwer, All rights reserved

PAULA KUITENBROUWER is a Dutch nature artist living The Netherlands and sharing her work with us on her blog, Mindful Drawing, and on her website. You can purchase her art HERE. In addition to art, Paula’s main interest is philosophy. She studied at the University of Utrecht and Amsterdam. She has lived in Eastern Europe and in Asia. Paula says that in Korea, “my family lived next to a Buddhist temple. In the early morning we would hear the monks chanting. During my hours of sauntering with my daughter through the beautiful temple gardens, I felt a blissful happiness that I try to capture in my drawings.” Paula sometimes teaches children’s art classes. She lives with her husband and daughter and close to her father. We are frequently honored with and most grateful for guest posts from Paula.

Posted in Essay

THE LOVE FOR (OLD) BOOKS

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Some of my old books. Photo by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

THE LOVE OF (OLD) BOOKS

by

Paula Kuitenbrouwer (Mindful Drawing)

Reblogged here with Paula’s permission. 

A few days ago, I read in a newspaper about a Dutch politician questioning the future existence of libraries. Kindle was mentioned as well as the Internet, so why have libraries? I stopped reading the article because there is only so much flap-doodle one can stomach. One might hope that our politician will start reading T.S. Eliot and stumbles upon Eliot’s quote: ‘The very existence of libraries afford the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man’.

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Imagine a few philistines standing in front of the burning library of Alexandria, in estimate 48 BC, indifferently saying to each other; ‘A well…who cares?’ I care, and that is what I commented at Jamie Dedes’ discussion Times Change on The Writer by Day.

You could object and point out that we can store all books digitally, something that wasn’t possible in ancient times. That isn’t a very convincing argument to me, because at ancient and medieval times copies were produced too, in order to preserve knowledge and to make knowledge widely available. The problem, to me, is that digital copies are clean and sterile presentations. They do not enchant, hold no smell, sensation nor touchable illustrations. Many of us need to experience these qualities hands-on.

I also love painting old books. Books offer a wonderful theme, showing off a collection that represents a specific time, a layer of the society, telling a story about the writer, reader, and publisher.

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Jan Davidz de Heem (1606-1683/84), Still-life with Books

A painting like this communicates ‘Look that my books’, and ‘Look what I read and store in my head’. See the ink-pot and feather-pen, stating; ‘I write too’ or ‘I’m a scholar’.

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Detail oil painting Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Do you also like the little extra treasures old books sometimes offer? They can be underlined sentences that ones held significant meaning to the former owner of the book. Or they can be a handwritten old name on a pretty Ex Libris.

A few year ago I bought an old book. At home a small calendar of my year of birth dropped out (now how amazing is that?), showing a year long list of -to my generation- forgotten saints as well as a moon calendar.

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The Saint and Moon Calendar of my birth-year.

Last, have a look at this beauty: an old Dutch book on Percival, with the name of the former owner in the right upper corner in ink. The Art-Nouveau illustration, in relief gold, offers enough reason to buy the book. There is even a treat inside: a small, printed prayer card, showing St. Martin by Michelina da Besozzo, 1410.

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Will we ever enjoy a relief print, golden illustration on a Kindle? If we ‘open’ our E-reader, will we ever experience a pleasurable surprise of a little wink or glimpse back in time, falling out? I’m afraid not. Books provide us with all sort of inspiration; we therefore need old books, stored in libraries (and available in second hand bookshops).

© 2012, essay/photos/artwork, Paula Kuitenbrouwer, All rights reserved

Posted in Essay, Guest Writer

Our dear artist-friend, Paula Kuitenbrouwer, shares her thoughts on homesickness and being at home wherever you are. Be sure to link through to her site and enjoy her “Mindful Drawing.” J.D.