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.

2 Comments:

Blogger Dædalux said...

Well at least you seem to be enjoying the process of creating art, as opposed to being overly preoccupied with only the finished product. Having said that - it be great to see some of your work on your blog.

Often the fact that something is hard to do well, is exactly why it's worth doing.

November 19, 2005  
Blogger marginalia said...

I'll take a photo next week and post it. Chinese Brush painting requires an immersion in process and a zen like acceptance of possibilities.

November 20, 2005  

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