And a few Japanese reflections on aesthetics
Gaining by letting go is again a formulation that could come from the field of esotericism. I have previously indicated that this is not an area in which I am proficient and, for various reasons, keep it out of my mind. Too much of what I’ve read about it reminds me of the messages in fortune cookies in Chinese restaurants. But sure, one or the other makes sense. I just want my thoughts and actions to be embedded in a spiritual environment that I can fully agree with.
First a finger exercise
Usually, I already know after a few strokes whether what I have started can ever become an acceptable picture. It was immediately clear that this was not going to happen in this case. So it became a somewhat boring finger exercise. The reason for my dissatisfaction was the choice of paper and I would like to take this opportunity to quote a Japanese writer whose slim booklet on aesthetics left a deep impression on me, even though I read it 45 years ago.
I always use good materials and, among other things, handmade paper, as in this case. But it’s still too smooth and shiny for my experiments.
For the next few examples, I used paper made from elephant dung, which suits my needs well in this series. It is similar to unglued Japanese and Chinese papers but is stronger.
About Asian paper
So, on the subject of the paper, I would like to quote Tanjizaki Jun’ichiro : “Paper is said to have been invented by the Chinese. When we have Western paper in front of us, we feel nothing except that it is a simple commodity. However, when we look at the pattern of China or Japanese paper, we feel a kind of warmth in it that soothes our hearts. Although all varieties are white, the whiteness of Western paper is different from that of thick Japanese hōsho paper or white China paper. The surface of the western paper seems to reflect the rays of light, while the hōsho and China paper soak up the rays of light like a surface of soft, freshly fallen snow. It is supple to the touch and makes no noise when folded or collapsed. It feels soft and moist, like touching a leaf. In general, when we see bright and shiny things, we become uneasy.” 
Although this elephant dung paper is not Japanese, it conforms to the specifics cited by Tanjizaki Jun’ichiro. Another passage is also quoted: “The Chinese love jade, too, and I wonder if anyone other than us East Asians can see anything attractive in these strangely dull lumps of stone, enclosing a sluggish, dull light at their core, as if it were the old air of centuries become a mass. ….. And then there are so-called “grass crystals”, which have opaque particles trapped inside and which give us even more pleasure than the others.” 
White – the Void
As has often been stated, white, the “nothing” for the Asian viewer of a picture is often more important than what is painted. “Respect the black, but adore the white,” it says in ancient Chinese writings. Forming empty spaces as nothingness or giving them plasticity is part of my exercise. The following sketch should give an indication.
Of course, the first thing that catches the viewer’s eye is the deliberately bold painted areas. However, if one concentrates on the white and lets it take shape or come into contact with the other white areas in the picture, it tends to come to the fore and the nothingness becomes visible as a formative force.
PS: In less than 1 week I came across 6 articles in print media on our topic, e.g.:
5 Ways Minimalism Can Benefit Your Mental Well-Being or Minimalism: A Guide To Personal Growth and …2,000-year-old Chinese mindset…. The trend towards minimalism in our lifestyles is obviously growing in popularity. However, it seems to me that the increasing popularity of the topic also has a lot to do with the fact that more and more people have to be modest due to the economic situation and therefore have to let some things go.
 Tanjizaki Jun’ichiro: Lob des Schattens. Entwurf eine japanischen Ästehetik. Manesse Bücherei, Zürich 1987, pp 19
 Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (谷崎 潤一郎, Tanizaki Jun’ichirō, 24 July 1886 – 30 July 1965) was a Japanese author. He is considered to be one of the most prominent figures in modern Japanese literature.
 Jun’ichiro: Lob, pp. 21