Fine Artist Blog

Spirit in Nature – Trees, Rocks and Weeds – Sumi e

Spirit in Nature, in Trees, Rocks and Weeds, calls me again. I found in sumi e, the stark simplicity of black on white, the spirit of trees connecting me to the sky, evoking the mystery of oneness of us all.

Sumi e oil painting by Marilyn Wells based on "Spirit in Nature - Tree 5 - Kanji Tree". Oil on board.

“Spirit of Nature – Kanji Tree 5″ – by Marilyn Wells 16″ x 20” on board, $435.00

Following a series of color paintings in the year of covid lockdown, 2020, I wanted a break, relief from that whole, intense year. And what did I want to paint next? Only the most wabi sabi of plain subjects – Trees, Bark, Rocks and Weeds. And Ravens and Crows, big birds of the wild. Honest integrity of being. Wise and smart.

Then I felt the trees soaring from their roots deep in the ground into the sky of Spirit, and my Soul was drawn to soar with them. They spoke to me deeply and called me into greater communion with “the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation” (Richard Rohr – Nothing Stands Alone).

Happily, and to my surprise, my Zen teacher @zen_art_time, Paul Quintero, discovered within this painting the Kanji symbol,

Kanji - Ku for Void

Kanji – Ku for Void

“Observe and mentally separate the black part behind the trees. It has the shape of a very famous kanji we use in Zen. Ku: void. A void from which all phenomena arise. A productive void.”

All Phenomena. Together. The Spirit of the Tree calls me to this awakening, and wants to be heard and seen through me in this painting.

Spirit of Nature – Trees, Rocks and Weeds – Sumi e

Again, the Spirit of Nature in Trees, Rocks and Weeds comes through me in this second version of the same Tree above.

Sumi e oil painting by Marilyn Wells based on "Spirit in Nature - To the Woods Alone". Oil on canvas paper.

Sumi e oil painting by Marilyn Wells based on “Spirit in Nature – To the Woods Alone”. Oil on canvas paper. 16″ x 20″ $360.00

Let us walk, then, hand in hand with nature and with each other. I hope my paintings speak to you as the trees speak to me, the elements of the stuff of our bodies and our souls.


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by Marilyn wells

Denver COlorado

Marilyn Wells - Fine Artist