August 22, 2008

Fashion and art

Fashion and art

Fashion and art, happily married
Beauty can adopt many forms.
(Scan from ÚNICA, magazine in Spanish)

In a previous article I wrote about how in Zen there are many ways through art to attaining inner peace and wisdom. And in general in Japan, for example, there is not a clear differentiation between arts and crafts. Even the most humble manual labor can be a fabulous way into comprehension of Reality.

In the same way, I think that potentially many activities can be transformed in true art if we confront them with humility, reverence, meditation and the necessary (and continuing) apprenticeship. Even blogging can be a meditative experience and an art, why not...

There are no minor arts.
Poetry and meditation.

Oriental painters and artists always liked to mix different arts and activities. So, we can find many times a poem in a painting describing the feelings and experiences resulting from its contemplation.

I always liked that approach.

And in Zen, as I previously said, there are not major arts and minor arts.

So, for me as well there are no “minor” arts, if the artist approach them with poetry and contemplation. Poetry, in reality (and in the sense ancient Greeks understood It) is the connection between men and the Universal Mind. Contemplation and meditation are an exercise of receptivity, to be open into transcendence, humility, Silence. At least that is the way I see them.

A painter in Fashionland

So when I approach some apparently mundane activities like fashion, styles, trends... I see all of this with the eyes of a painter and a poet, with a sense of reverence in many cases, I can see wonderful combinations of colors, delicate nuances, I see creative rhythms and textures, I see an honest effort to express creativity clothing the human body.

And when models are on the catwalk in performance, if models and designers did their job with dedication and love, I can see sublime elegance, I can see real works of art, a living art, “body art”. I even see marvelous paintings being carried by models themselves, over their bodies.

Fashion in summer

Fashion and summer
The limit is elegance. When elegance is lost, all is lost.
(Scan from ÚNICA, magazine in Spanish)

Fashion designers are not different from us, painters, in many ways. Perhaps some of us have a greater sense of transcedence and durability of our work, but in reality all that matters is contributing to the world with inner beauty and elegance, as in spirituality all that matters, I think, is compassion.

No sunset is lost.
Every experience is a fountain of learning.

I must admit that lately I don’t paint as much as I should do, but I have now more clear ideas about art than before, I know much better what I like to do, what my vision of art is.

During seven or eight years I did not write a single poem (and I’m a poet in a minoritary, wonderful language, Aragonese...), but I remember that period, nevertheless, as the most poetic in all my life. I WAS a poet then, although I did not write any poem. I watched every day, in silence, like praying, the most magnificent sunsets in the deserts, I inhabited the purplish mountains in my dreams...

When I’ll begin to paint anew, my paintings will have the colors of my lands of poetry, the colors of my meditations, of all my failures from which I learned some humility, lessons from the Silence.

When I’ll begin to paint anew my paintings will have the colors of fashion, of beautiful movies, the colors of women and elegance, of sunsets' purples, of books that one reads with the heart, of little and great things, the colors of life, victories, defeats.

Juan Bielsa

- My e-mail addresses :
- My website in English :


August 9, 2008

Real metaphysics

Marilyn Monroe - The way of art, beauty and love

Marilyn Monroe
The way of art, love and elegance

I've said other times that I like very much metaphysics. I like to investigate in this field, and to do it freely and with an open mind. I use for that purpose different tools from different areas (psychology, physics, self development...)

This activity of mine can lead sometimes to some personal conclusions. But I don't think is necessary to explain such "conclusions" in blogs like this or otherwise.

Everybody has opinions about life, existence, the universe... and surely they can be much more profound (or practical...) than mine. But even in this case I don't think is the essential part trying to show all of this to apprehend the most important aspects of a human being or his personality and convictions.

I don't think that philosophy or metaphysics, or even religion are absolutely necessary to apprehend "Reality", "Beauty", God...

In Zen Buddhism is not particularly valued or appreciated any discussion or digression about metaphysical or religious questions. What has real value is an EVIDENCE of wisdom, knowledge or reality. This EVIDENCE can only be offered by an artist or person after many years of learning and practicing a "do", a way into BEAUTY. I'd say that even the experiences of our life, if we learn from them, can be a wonderful apprenticeship into it, a magnificent WAY.

If you can create a genuine work of art, a great PAINTING or DRAWING (even if only with a few strokes of the brush...) then you are a very RELIGIOUS person. At least in the sense that I understand this term.

If you can create a true POEM (even if this poem only consists of a few verses) then you have a sure knowledge and you are not cheating.

If you can offer to us a piece of BEAUTY or LOVE, then you are a true metaphysician. If you are a good person, a kind person, if you love and practice peace and compassion, then you are very, very religious, regardless of anything else. That is practice, good deeds, real metaphysics, true religion. That is all that matters. That is what we need in this world, I think.

We all know that some traditional activities can be a "do", a WAY: the way of flowers (Ikebana), the way of calligraphy (Shakyo), and others. But there are many other ways to access into the realm of BEAUTY: humility, meditation, silence, prayer, empathy, recitations, dancing, music...Or, as we have said earlier, life itself can be a "do", a fountain of learning. Happiness, distresses... every experience teaches something important.

And so I say, in conclusion, that people we think are not especially religious can be the most religious of all. They have given to us, or offered to us, pieces of Heaven, wonderful works of art, or splendid deeds and example. They have never pretended to be metaphysical thinkers, or even religious people in some cases. But they have grasped from heaven, through his life or his suffering or his humility, pieces of real BEAUTY, golden pieces of LOVE.

Yes, that's all that really matters.

Juan Bielsa

My e-mail addresses :
- My website in English :


August 6, 2008

"The wizard of Oz" and Judy Garland

Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale in The wizard of Oz

Judy Garland
as Dorothy Gale in "The wizard of Oz"

Many years ago, I liked very much to paint and draw using only a few colors, two colors in most cases. The results were not less satisfactory than when I used a lot of colors.

I think that in painting and drawing there are many possibilities available, many ways of work, but in the end there are no "better" ways or methods than others. Some techniques may appear at first sight far less sophisticated than others, much more "simple", but the results can be exactly as rich and full of nuances as the most "complexes" ones.

It can be a very satisfying activity to work with many colors, but it is never a good thing to be "intoxicated" by so many chromatic possibilities at our disposal.

Piagordo, in Aragon

Piagordo, the country where I live
Three colors: simplicity, poetry and magic
Photograph by Juan Bielsa

Many years ago I was enchanted and like living in a world of magic when painting and drawing with only two or three colors. And that same feeling I've experienced again when I recently watched the old (and great) movie "The wizard of Oz ". I'm pretty sure you've seen it. I had already seen this movie long time ago, but I had forgotten in many ways how wonderful this picture is, how full of magic.

"The wizard of Oz", as a picture in this case, is a classic for children... but don't be fooled by that, in reality is a present for all of us who want to keep some of the innocence of life, some of its fantasy. I truly think this movie is amazing, a miracle of art. And Judy Garland... what can we say about her performarce here? We can say that she is the perfect angel that could give life and credibility to the role of "Dorothy Gale". Even Toto, her dog in the picture, performs without equal.

Judy Garland singing

Judy Garland (as Dorothy Gale) and Toto
Singing "Over the rainbow"

In some parts of "The wizard of Oz", at first and in the end, you'll be struck by the wise use of color, which adds an aged and mythical flavor to the movie and makes all appear under a light of DREAM. And this relates with which I said earlier about the intelligent use of a few colors in the palette of the artist.

Many years have passed since the days "The wizard of Oz" was made, in 1939, but all of its magic remains the same and one could rightly say that this movie is far more beautiful and magical than most of the movies that are produced today. Quality and imagination will never have whatsoever to do with "special effects" and more "advanced" techniques.

The wizard of Oz - The End

Juan Bielsa

My e-mail addresses :
- My website in English :