Sunday, November 8, 2009


was treated to a real ZEN experience when Master Calligrapher Shantien ‘Tom’ Chow IMG_4804 painted two large scrolls on the floor of the studio’s reception area.  We were all mesmerized as Tom first wrote five Zen words.   Zen, Bed, Dream and Beautiful Lady.  When combined, the meaning is ‘A Zen Monk Dreams of a Beautiful Lady while Sleeping’.  The meaning is open to interpretation as it could suggest that Zen Buddhism is not about dogma or rules, but more concerned with true human nature and accepts reality as it is.

IMG_4797 The second scroll was a free and large interpretation of the word ‘TIGER’.  Using a huge Goat hair brush and expansive strokes, Tom perfectly captured the power and vigor symbolized by this character.  We were all enthralled and you can see both videos for yourself on

Special thanks to Charles L. DeMille who filmed this event for us.  Charles especially appreciated seeing Tom’s meditative approach in preparing the necessary materials.


Tom explains his robe.




Cookie Time Out








Inspired Will Mc Gaul and his marvelous calligraphy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was a wonderful class

Thanks as always,


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.