a twist in the tales of life

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Back to the Brush strokes Chinese Style

I was back to Belfield on Wednesday night for my Chinese Calligraphy class. (http://www.comfuciusinstitute.ie/courses desc calli.html)
I love being back. It is a small class but the advantage of that is always how quickly we get to know each other.
I have to say this; I’m not the star of the class. I have to work at it and always did. I remember after 5 classes of my first term I was going to quit. I really thought I wasn’t for me. Then I talked myself into staying until the end of the term. I have this theory, you see. I always think it takes 6 weeks to decide if something is really for me. When I changed jobs or workplaces I gave it that time and in relationships I pretty much knew if the guy was right for me or not in that time. What I did with that information is another story!!!! But I stayed with Calligraphy and signed on for term 2.
Then it seemed to change for me. Something clicked in my head and I fell in love with this art form. I started to relax when practicing and just looked forward to class. Even when I get characters wrong I just giggle. Even my teacher, Professor Zhang, knows I’m in for the long haul now! Last Chinese New Year he showed us the character for year of the Tiger in cao shu script and I made the character in silver jewellery wire. He got a kick out of seeing the work take another form.
This term Professor gave us new brushes and practice paper to work with. (Forgot to mention I started my 2nd year in September 2010) So far he has given us work mats, ink, ink stone (yan), inkwells, brushes (maobi), paper (zhi) and in my case a lot of patience. We are currently working on New Year banners. We planned to make them for Christmas but with the bad weather our last class was cancelled but we will have them for Chinese New year instead.
2011 is the year of the Rabbit. This is a peaceful year with less regulation where people relax and have more fun, which is just perfect for an aging hippie like me.  It’s a nice year to welcome in, after the upheaval we have all been through up to now. It will I hope be a year when I get to work more with my calligraphy. I have a few perhaps over ambitious ideas for it but that’s me! After working on perfecting different strokes dots and dashes, which does put the new student off a little, I find that when I look at the characters I wrote last year versus what I can do now I can see how far I’ve come.
Sometimes the best things in life are what we worked hard to achieve. We tend to expect to be brilliant at something from day one and then drop it like a hot spud when we are not. If I had dropped it, then I wouldn’t have made the cheeky signs I have over my desk in work!
From my calligraphy I get something a lot different from anything else I do. It has become almost a meditation now. There is a reason why we learn to sit how we do, how we hold the brush (as a tiger passes the river with a baby in his mouth) and focusing on the stroke order of each character and creating the strokes themselves. But like the year of the Rabbit its sit relax and have fun.
Keep smiling!

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