Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Boundless Human Energy Haiku

Mt. Robson, BC

Haiga is a style of painting that incorporates the clean, minimalist, yet often profound, aesthetic of haiku.  Both haiku and haiga translate nature through an artistic language with spiritual immediacy and selfless skill. This is achieved through Zen-like training in contemplation and technique.

About twenty-five years ago I attended a watercolour workshop in the Canadian Rockies given by well-known American artist, Barbara Nechis. We were in the Bow Valley surrounded by spectacular peaks, and Barbara reminded us that some of them had been painted hundreds, if not thousands, of times. She went on to suggest that, under the circumstances, we consider carefully whether or not each of the paintings we were about to produce really ‘needed’ to be done.

I’ve tried to heed Barbara’s advice – working on something approaching her wonderfully loose, semi-abstract style. Hence the ‘abstracting’ of Mount Robson into clean  and simple haiga to go with the clean and simple haiku.

Having cleared that up, we will now attempt to make sense of the first line of the haiku.  It refers to a possible outcome of research on modified microbes. Genetically engineered bacteria and yeast can produce hydrocarbon-based fuels from organic waste. In addition to being renewable, the microbes are ‘carbon-neutral’ using about the same amount of carbon to produce the oil as will be emitted when it burns.