Have you ever considered a daily enso art practice?  It’s a great 1 minute process that now forms part of my  studio practice and has recharged my enthusiasm for painting.

The Enso’s Simplicity

At first glance, the Enso might appear deceptively simple – just a single circle created with a single brushstroke. The circle may be complete (closed), or left open. Within this seemingly uncomplicated form lies a universe of meaning. The Enso represents the Zen concept of ‘mu,’ often translated as ’emptiness’ or ‘void.’ It signifies infinite potential. I love the fact that  small gesture encapsulates  such profound ideas.

The Art of Imperfection

The concept of Wabi Sabi works for me. One of the most fascinating aspects of the Enso is its imperfection. It is never perfect. And yet its very imperfection makes it so compelling. It serves as a reminder that perfection is unattainable, and true beauty can be found in embracing flaws and incompleteness.  Such a liberating concept, and a wonderful counter-balance to the tyranny of the perfectionism we can sometimes get caught up in.

An enso art practice as a means to focus

The act of creating an Enso is a meditative practice. Each brushstroke is a reflection of the artist’s state of mind at that moment. I’ve never been patient enough to do a full meditation session every day. There’s just too much in my head.  Creating my daily enso at the start of my studio session is a quick way to create focus.

The Circle of Life

The Enso also symbolizes the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. The circle  represents the continuous flow of existence. It reminds us that life is an ever-changing journey, where endings are just new beginnings, and each moment is a chance for renewal. This appeals to the part of my art practice that thrives on constant experimentation and exploration. It also underpins my love of the natural world’s seasonal cycles.

Embracing the Enso in Our Lives

The Enso encourages us to embrace simplicity, imperfection, and the beauty of the present moment. It reminds us that life’s journey is not about reaching a perfect destination but about appreciating the experiences along the way. In a world filled with noise and chaos, the Enso offers a visual oasis of calm and reflection.

Here’s how to create a daily enso art practice

Handmade sketchbooks for enso practice

    • Choose your medium and tool. I have diverged from tradition and chose a different tool/brush and sometimes a different medium when the need for change struck me. The consistent factor is the shape and the process.
    • Prepare by standing or sitting comfortably. I stand and if it’s warm enough in my studio, find it preferable to be barefoot. (Don’t ask me why, it just feels more grounded.)
    • Take a few deep breaths, relaxing your shoulders and face as you do. Then take one deep breath in and on the out breath, draw or paint your enso.
Two days of enso on one page
Two days of enso on one page
  • Resist the urge to put the brush on the paper a second time to amend the mark.
  • I include cleaning my brush as part of the process. That gives me a few more minutes to quieten my mind and get ready to paint.

If you decide to join in, post some of your results on Instagram and tag them with #ensomojo. I’m more than 30 days into my daily enso practice and despite its simplicity, the process is worthwhile. I have more focus and I’ve become less rushed and happier to spend more time considering as I work.