Saturday, April 18, 2009


a film that distinguished filmmaker Philip Hass was to shoot in London.  The subject was the painting of Arhat’s ‘Taming the Dragon’ an early 14th century silk painting in the museum’s permanent collection that was done in the meticulous ‘Gong-bi or Palace/Court style.  The first in the series of these five film’s, Haas’s response to Annibale Carracci’s ‘The Butcher’s Shop (early 1580), has already been shown to acclaim at the 2008 Venice and Toronto film festivals.

The director needed to know whether Arhat would be standing or sitting and the materials that would have been used.

From viewing my studio they were able to obtain a table that was somewhat based on my copy of a 17th century scholar’s table…(the chair had to be described as well).  

I suggested that they obtain the following: A standing brush holder and an assortment of brushes that I described.  A brush rest and water dish along with a slate Ink stone and Ink stick.  For all of these items I directed them to Guanghwa Company, one of the finest Chinese art stores in London’s Chinatown.  They were able to obtain everything there except a ‘Scholar’s Stone’ which I thought would be a great touch but proved to be unattainable.

Although I gave them a sketch indicating the proper way to hold the brush, the actor found it most helpful to watch my painting video’s on YouTube (how cute is that!).

To see this amazing painting go to and click on collections at the top and then in the search bar enter “Taming the Dragon”.  The Kimbell Art Museum is in Fort Worth, Texas.

For more information:

To See YouTube Videos - Click Here for more details on the scroll, materials and environment


jo ann sowels said...

I found this old painting in a warehouse sale. At the bottom of the painting it has the name Reizei that was an old Japanese painter.Do you have any information
on the painting? Two young girls picking flowers.

Anonymous said...
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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.