And on the other hand...

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Saturday, November 6, 2010


The plastic jug I was using to water my lanai plants chose an inopportune moment to biodegrade, that is to say, burst, and the less-than-a-gallon of water dripped down on my neighbor's lanai, staining their screens with...water. I endured a loud Russian curse, (I don't know what they do when it actually rains with a westerly wind) and, I apologized in a way BP didn't for a similar, if more consequential spill.

I wrote a note of apology, envelope personally decorated with some quick bamboo shui-mo art, and stuck it in their door. What can I say, really? Sorry, sorry.

I've been practicing bamboo today , the fundamental Chinese painting equivalent of the martial arts horse stance (mabu), looks so simple, but is so hard. My envelope of apology was kind of pretty, really, but I doubt it will be appreciated. I do this motif, and some people say, "so nice," but I know I have not achieved the grace and effortlessness associated with the design.

So, water with ink, a controlled but surprising, random, manifestation on paper. In proper study and practice, I try to copy the images in my books, some pressed on me by my teacher, others acquired here and there. She really didn't approve of my interest in Qi Baishi, the Picasso of China. "He makes a lot of mistakes." I bought a big reference portfolio of his works in China Books in Wanfujing in Beijing last May. But only a master can make such grand "mistakes." Can we learn something from copying the mistakes of the masters?

Painting By the Book



the fool said...

dam right. what other use would anyone have for a master?
i must adopt this use of "so". nice... clever... interesting... there!

baroness radon said...

So what?

the fool said...

so one copies the mistakes of masters.
"so wise".
in enduring the multiple copies of the mistakes he has made, all around him, forever, he is reminded of his fallibility, and is thus humbled.
this is probably a good thing.
"so insightful".

sybil law said...

Seriously? It was just water!

I always love your paintings. I'm not really sure I could point out any mistakes, so I just enjoy them as is. :)

baroness radon said...

The Russians -- at least my downstairs neighbors, and some I met on one of my Tao retreats in Wudang, don't exactly "go with the flow."

And so to both of you, my loyal commenters,
So be it!