It felt a little too conventional practising the Orchid brush stroke. But that’s OK; that happens when I spend time copying paintings even though this is an acceptable – and expected – process of learning in the world of shodo.
Over the years, I’ve come to see this as an act of humility. There is something egoless about copying a painting. I differentiate that from the act of humiliation that I frequently embody when copying the great masters. The former is a way to get beyond the freeze when breath, body and brush are not up for a dance. The latter is what I put myself through in a moment of hubris: “How hard can it be? It’s just splotches of gray and a bunch of lines!”
Lately, I’ve welcome these moments of humility. Like bowing when I enter the zendo, or the prostrations at morning service, I feel a release of all that binds me to that high need to achieve. And part of that practice of abjecting myself to the Creative is to let in the shades of grey. How else to give depth and spirit?
I like these orchids. They asked of me something I tend to be stingy with: slow, unwavering attention to each brush stroke. You can see the unleashed exuberance in buddha98 – chaos with a dabble of grace. I like that too. It just that if I want to do one, there has to be a momentary pause to create the intention to do just that and not the other.
Thank you for practising,
PS: I came across Sweetcake Enso in my visitor’s listing and would like to bring your attention to it. Looks like some great work that will be travelling around the US!
“let in the shades of grey…to give depth to spirit…” The dance of shadow and light together… Beautiful. I love the subtle depth of your art and writing. It’s refreshing. Thank you for allowing us to see!
I suspect the willingness to copy is somehow embedded in beginner’s mind. And, at the same time, true beginner’s mind moves creatively beyond any copying.
Thank you, Christine! I have such a resistance to those shades but there they are – showing up unbidden!
Barry, “willingness” is the issue, isn’t it? Willingly letting go of those concepts of copying being childish and allowing the true beginner’s mind to develop! Thank you!