Friday, June 13, 2008

Dynamic, Expresive Chinese Calligraphy

We love to paint, it's empowering and joyful but where did Chinese Brush painting come from? Why Calligraphy? Considered to be an art form of the highest order in the East! In fact, two of the subjects, Bamboo and the Chinese Orchid were the first painted subjects and began what we now understand as one of the most expressive art forms, Chinese Brush painting

So many students have expressed a desire to learn Calligraphy to enhance their artwork and deepen their understanding of Brush painting that I have determined to find the best possible teacher for us. He has been found ... Master Calligrapher and teacher Shantien 'Tom' Chow. We met this week and had a marvelous time discussing the various styles of calligraphy and the importance of introducing them to the Western art world.

Shantien has kindly agreed to teach two series of classes in my studio. The classes will be held once a month and there will be a 'first Saturday' series of six classes beginning on July 5th and a 'second Wednesday' series starting July 9th. To learn more about this and to register, click here Be sure to scroll on past the order box to see the wonderful examples.

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There is no avoiding the pull of the internet, the blogs, the YouTube imaginings. It's as if we're all 'On the Road' with Jack Kerouac each in our own world of meanderings. When we tell someone to 'get a life' it might be a bit difficult when you're dragged into other people's 24/7.

I've come to realize two foundational principals, there are no accidents and everyone has a purpose. More and more I'm desiring everyone to come into a full realization of their purpose as we all find our way on this little jewel of a planet.

For me, as a professional 'Western style artist', I stumbled into Chinese Brush Painting after a trip in 1980 to Monet's home/garden. Seeing all of his collection of Japanese woodblock prints was an ahh haa moment for me and when I returned to the States I started painting in the Chinese manner and never looked back. The first year was extremely painful for me as I felt that I should be able to master the technique since I was a 'trained' artist. Not a chance ... that just gets in your way.

Now, after teaching close to 3,000 students and having my book 'The Ch'i of the Brush' published by Watson Guptill, I can say that every one of my students does better their first day than I did my first year! Why? Because I insist that they leave their critical parent outside and just enjoy the journey, respecting the work that they do. I never let anyone throw anything away because that just ingrains frustration and defeat.

We really only begin to learn when we stop and figure out how to 'save' a painting. It works every time.I am so proud of my students, their receptivity and eagerness to express themselves is a continuing blessing for me.So, back to finding your purpose. Perhaps it starts with realizing 'it's not about me'. It so easy to want our needs met and to filter everything thru this attitude. When we realize that we're here to be of benefit to every life that we touch the universe really provides the ways and means.

The best part is that it's really exciting to not have yourself on your mind all the time!I'm re-reading a wonderful book about authenticity and in my next meandering I'll tell you about it. In the meantime I'd love to hear about your journey and am here to answer any and all questions about Chinese Brush Painting.