Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Zen circle 円相

At the calligraphy workshop with Kaz Tanahash ,  you get a chance to do calligraphy in color, using unique brush strokes on a big piece of paper.

On our first day everybody was going to practice traditional brush stroke  using sumi (black ink for calligraphy ) This reminded me of my childhood days – I had to attend calligraphy class every Saturday afternoon for an hour or so, sitting seiza,  in silence, carefully copying teacher’s example. My legs would fall asleep, and things were all orderly. For a kid in her early teens, it was a painful experience.
But this time, I truly enjoyed practicing. Carefully putting the brush on paper, focusing to each stroke… Breathing…


On day two, he introduced an element of  color- my first time to do calligraphy in color! It was FUN! Mixing colors, everybody ‘s face lit up and I could feel the mood changing.
Then on our third day, he brought a few unique brushes. Now the paper was bigger, too. We had a choice to do Kanji (Chinese characters) or follow our own heart on a 16x24 inches big water color paper. First, I wrote “flower” , then “ tree” in Kanji. 


Finally,  I   decided  to draw a zen circle. I chose a brush with a rough head. I had seen Kaz san doing calligraphy with it – Picked up the brush, dipped into color ink, then started – Brush seemed to have its own mind. Suddenly, it was out of my hand!  I tried to make a nice smooth perfect circle , but it did not want to make a smooth turn.  OK, I was going to make a quick turn, then… My zen circle looked very different from what I expected – But I kinda liked my oval zen circle… It looked like a three-dimensional spinning wheel.  A perfect reflection of how I was feeling at that moment.