Monday, February 16, 2009

WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE... meaningful it was for me to share a few moments with June Wayne, 'Artiste Extraordinaire' and one of our 'National Treasures'!

Judith Linde, President of UCLA Friends of English had invited me to the Royce Hall event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Miss Wayne's livre d'artiste on the love sonnets of John Donne a ground breaking collaboration with Marcel Durassier the master French printer.

Miss Wayne told how upon hearing the recorded sonnets "It was as if I was listening to Beethoven and the sounds and poetry took over my hands...they reached beneath my skin". One line from a poem would be selected for the tittle of each of the drawings.
As there was no suitable lithographer in the United States at the time, her journey took her to France and then a dangerous sojourn to the Berlin Red Zone for the typography. All this was enchantingly told to the enraptured gathering.
From this seminal work sprang the Tamarind Lithography Workshop to revitalize the art of lithography and which fostered great artistic collaborations. Sponsored by the Ford Foundation, Tamarind later moved to the University of New Mexico.
I left knowing yet again that one must follow one's dream, live with passion and only then will we fulfill our purpose.

How I do thank you Judith Linde
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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.