Goth face

Amazing Class - Japanese Calligraphy

I had an awesome class tonight. We went to the Japan Foundation for a presentation by a Japanese calligrapher who has her Enso paintings on display right now. She was beautiful, with silvery grey hair that made her look more mystical than aged. She had a wonderfully serene presence and captivating way of speaking. Her accent was strong but perfectly understandable. She first showed us the beautiful array of brushes that she'd brought and shared some stories about her childhood with us. She told us how she's been practicing calligraphy for many years and that her grandfather used to say little Zen quotes to her. She uses some of the concepts as the subject for her calligraphy now. Her art is alive and she demonstrated several different paintings for us. The one that she focused on was "mu" (moo) it means "nothing" or "without. She showed us many different ways of writing it and the energy surrounding her as she demonstrated each one was deafening. We all sat there, rapt with attention as she painted. There is no way to properly explain the experience. There was breath and line and passionate control. She became the art and it was her.

After she had demonstrated the different styles of Mu, she asked if we wanted to try it. I was the second person to raise my hand. She was so kind, telling us how to paint and it was so much different than I expected. I had tried to mine just as she'd done hers but it came out entirely different. I was quite pleased with it and also perplexed by it. I think the perplexity was half the fun. She let us keep the one that we'd done AND the matching example that she'd drawn! So I have mine and hers and want to frame them together.

There was something about the calligraphy that made me think to myself that perhaps I should have studied fine arts. I realized that I probably just need to paint more. I enjoy it so much, particularly when I try something new that turns out.

I'll try to post pictures of the calligraphy here when I get a chance. I'm so thrilled with them.