Sunday, November 20, 2005


Somedays I am astounded by the abundance of patterns.

I grew up in New York City surrounded by the patterns of apartment windows, cracks in the sidewalk, street lights, fire escapes, mannequins in store windows, patches of grass sprouting up in unlikely places, subway cars, graffiti, and accents.

Now I find patterns in the woods, around a pond, hiking up a mountain.

I listen to the patterns of language—the sibilant sounds, the cacophony of voices, and found poems imagined out of printed fragments.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Chinese Brush Painting

Today I enlarged a picture of a chrysanthemum 250% . It went from a a picture occupying part of a page to an 11" x17" flower of epic proportions. My instructor suggested that I copy the enlargement precisely to gain an understanding of the proportions existing between a single chrysanthemum and its leaves. Some days I sense that I am moving ahead and other days I flounder. I lurch. The nuances, the flow—and the bone stroke elude me.

A correlation exists between performing tai chi slowly—retaining balance and grace and a seeming oneness with the universe and finding the rhythm of a stroke. Learning the 'old way' is a discipline.

To aid me along the way, I burn a candle with Chinese characters emblazoned on wax. I listen to a CD. The sounds of someone playing metal bowls permeates the loft. The room fills up with a meditative aura while I pour black ink into a small dish. I take down my brush from its pagoda shaped holder, lower it into water, brush the excess on the jar's edge and then dip the brush into the ink. Not too much ink, not too little—I am looking for a stoke with gradations, values, tones. Then, holding the brush the way I've been taught, I brazenly place the brush on the paper.