Zen Painting

Eight Views Of The Xiao and Xiang by Soami, d.1525

While surfing the internet I decided to follow a random thought and googled “zen painting.” I had no idea what I would find but there was a substantial amount. There actually is a genre of art called zen painting historically created by zen monks. I’d never heard of it before.

I’m now interested in finding the book, Art of Zen by Stephen Addiss to learn more about it. I also found a very interesting website that gives a historical summary, explanations and several examples:



I find the art that I’ve seen and the ideas behind them fascinating and inspiring. I also feel my own painting shares a lot in common with their intent. I often think of my painting as my own form of meditation or being present. Of course there are major differences but I was surprised to discover so many shared ideas: asymmetry, simplicity/nothingness, naturalness, landscapes, focus on change, profundity and tranquility.

I think I just found a new source of inspiration! I already have several new ideas of things I’d like to attempt and ideas I’d like to consider while I paint. If you know anything you’d like to share about zen painting I’d love to know. Thanks.



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