Clare Mathias - Kōya Shōsei
Watercolors, Sumi-e Brush Painting, Haiku and Zen




 Watercolor Artist and Student of Zen Buddhism


Clare's artwork is inspired by her Zen practice, which involves conveying the spaciousness and interconnectedness of nature and all beings. It is the essence of her subjects that captures her imagination and persuades her to experiment with the flow of watercolour.  She is also exploring her reactions to the environment through abstract images, which will be an interesting development on her artistic journey.


Clare is often moved by some texts to create a picture, which embraces the essential meaning of the words.  An example of this can be seen in her painting of a young boy bowing to an elephant, having played a piece on his violin.  Aldous Huxley’s words:


“After silence, the nearest thing to expressing the inexpressible is music”


inspired this piece. The painting entitled “Waiting to be Seated” is another example of the mystery of the empty space, empty but for the seat which seems to be patiently waiting to be occupied.


Her Zen practice includes Sumi-e brushwork, which is a traditional way of encouraging the artist to let go and be in the moment.  On taking her Zen Buddhist vows in November 2015, Clare was given the Zen name of Koya Shosei (Open Field, Illuminating Vow). The calligraphy and seal that appears on some of her art pieces represents her Zen name and is an integral part of her artwork. Clare's gallery name “Enso Gallery” comes from a Sumi enso piece, which in Zen has many meanings but the one she is using  translates as Circle of Serenity.  It is her hope that her exhibitions and new gallery will encourage visitors to stay a while, and on leaving take away with them a sense of peace and harmony.