Wabi Sabi and Art Meditation

Time has weathered the wall, creating new texture and muted colors, revealing layers of strength and beauty.


Wabi-Sabi and Art Meditation

 Wabi-sabi originally was two separate Japanese words that have come to be used together to evoke the beauty of the incomplete, the imperfect, the patina of time, and the impermanent.  This concept finds a unique expression in Italian Renaissance gardens, which are over 400 years old.  The stone and marble have been etched by time.  The bright colors that once coated the marble statues has worn away.  The plants have died and been replaced.  Yet the ‘bones’ of the gardens have survived – the transitions from informal groves to geometric hedge patterns, the rows of cypress trees, the carefully planned water features.  The lichen on the stone, the moss and ferns in the grottos, the views framed by ancient columns, the knotted roots of trees grasping the hillside –  all create a unique Italian expression of the concept of Wabi-sabi.

Each day we will have time to reflect and wander in one garden, soaking up the experience and beauty. Returning to our villa, we will have time to rest, walk, read, journal and to process our impressions with guided art meditation. An openness to playful experimentation and a willingness to leave self-judgment behind are more important than an art background. Simple techniques will allow us to focus on creating and integrating our journey through the gardens into our journal. All materials will be supplied. Each woman will return home with a unique record of her retreat experience in her art journal.


“If an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi.”

Andrew Juniper in Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence.

“Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”

Richard R. Powell, Wabi Sabi Simple.

The term doesn’t translate easily and can imply simplicity, rustic, freshness, quietness, understated elegance, flawed beauty, authenticity, the beauty of aging, and beauty from the tiny imperfections that make a hand-made object unique.   In our daily art meditations we will be playing with this concept of wabi-sabi in the gardens, in our selves as we grow and age, and in the art journals we will be creating.  We will experience, create and celebrate ‘flawed beauty’.


Tiles have been set on edge for a unique path. The random layout and the variety of colors add beauty to the humble material.