If it were true that humans undergo a complete body cell change every seven years, then I should be a different person today than I was when I began my exploration of Chinese brush painting (CBP) back in 2008. I am indeed a changed person, and some of it has been a result of brush painting.
I can draw better. By the simple feat of more practice on the same subjects, the connections between my eye, brain, hand and brush are all much improved. And happily one of my favorite subjects (the horse) emerges from my brush quite consistently. I can also see where other artists sometimes misrepresent proper footwork. And the repertoire keeps growing.
I can calm stressed-out feelings. Sitting at an art table with my paraphernalia set out in their proper places, white paper invitingly rolled out, and ink stick grinding around and around—cares and woes diminish and sometimes vanish completely. Brush painting is indeed a very Zen thing to do. Mindfulness comes with the territory.
I’ve learned many things, and made new friends. Blogging about my journey through this particular creative outlet has pushed me to ask more questions, seek more information, and try more new things. Animal husbandry, plant physiology and ancient Chinese secrets are all expanding my horizons. My art library has gone from one small shelf to four larger ones. I am part of two wonderful inspiring and encouraging art groups: the Studio of Harmonious Endeavors and the Monterey Club Chinese Brush Painters. We share our successes, and laugh at our goof-ups. Fun is abundant.
Yet to accept my Chinese zodiac assignment (the Rat), I have nothing but admiration and respect for the great body of knowledge associated with brush painting. I will at least be a cheerful rat if others take enjoyment from my passionate pursuit of this art form. Paint on!
Reluctant Rat (2015)