Summer is meant to be spent outdoors, and while I don’t consider myself a plein air painter yet, I love painting from nature. During the warmer weather, I spent a day inside with Cindy Lommasson at the Oregon Society of Artists in Portland, OR learning the basics of Chinese brush painting. I discovered a new love. The freshness and freedom of single strokes was enlivening and empowering. Whatever mark the brush makes is there to stay, and accepted as perfect, just as it is. If only we were so accepting of ourselves, right?
Chinese brush painting is meditative, and asks the painter to be quiet and still within, emptying the mind and becoming focused, calm, relaxed…all before setting the ink to paper. I think this is because the inner state of the artist is reflected outwardly in each stroke on the page.
It may seem simple, in that it requires making a single brushstroke and leaving it, but it took me several practice strokes before I got one that resembled my subject. Replicating that stroke and capturing the essence of the subject is quite another feat.