Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I thought today that if we learned any more, we could possibly all explode with joy. We started off with Tom's presenting our three artists with their completed scrolls. Beautiful Beverly had an advance peek at my blog but it was even more exciting to actually see her scroll up close and personal. Tom explained that the material used at the top of the scroll represents Heaven and covers a larger area, while the bottom material represents earth and of course is smaller.

We then heard about Confucianism is a moral code of conduct which teaches individuals a set of proper behavior within the family in particular and society in general. Also, Taoism, being connected to nature and learning how to live in harmony. Interestingly, it also deals with fantasy and dreams. The Tao is 'the path is the Way'...the the world runs. So, the 'process' is as important as the end result.

Today's calligraphy was 'THE GREAT PATH HAS NO DOOR'. The symbols we used to create this were: 1. great or large, 2. path or way, 3. without or nothing and finally, 4. door.

It's important to remember that the void is as important as the calligraphy and the spacing should be spontaneous and done by intuition....always remembering that you can't have freedom without a framework of discipline.

On to Calligraphy and the beauty of it being that you can't control it (especially when you use a Soft brush). You're one with the brush and never do the same thing twice.

Tom explained the artistry involved in seal carving.

Showing us (Denise and Donald here) how our work can be improved and giving us a grand A+ when we nail it. It's so helpful as Tom uses Red Ink over our Black.



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.