Saturday, January 26, 2013

And the first shall be last...

Came across an item that pointed out that tonight's full moon will be the first of 2013.  Unless of course you follow the lunar calendar in which it is the last of 2012, Chinese New Year beginning Feb. 10 with the new moon.  Yin and yang, moon and sun, east and west, oscillating.  When really is the new year anyway? I like the idea that there can be two. I exploit it.

To welcome the Chinese New Year, Year of Water Snake (sometimes called junior dragon), I have been practicing some calligraphy and painting to create some little new year's cards with snake motifs to send to all the people who sent me Christmas cards, but to whom I failed to reciprocate.  Am I ahead or behind?

My Chinese painting class resumed this week, and my Manchu teacher, unlike the Korean nun, has encouraged calligraphy study, said I should do caoshu, not kaishu.  Caoshu is  the flowing flourishy style--"running", although there is also a "walking" style, and a "lying down" style-- as opposed to kaishu, which is much more controlled. (Like the difference between Taoism and Confucianism; modern dance and classical ballet?) "You have a freehand style," he said, "in your painting and this."  He pretty much gave me permission to do this, and to copy great caoshu masters like Huai Su, the Tang dynasty monk who wrote while drinking and couldn't even read his own calligraphy the next morning. (Haven't we all done this, drunk or not?)  But it is very beautiful.  My teacher is very sensitive to personality and how it comes out in the brush.   "You don't have to know what it means, anyway," he said.  "Hardly anyone can read caoshu."

So brush in hand, I channel snakes.  The character is actually reminiscent of the snake, which as I was doing it I realized is just like the caduceus, the medical symbol, and also the rising of kundalini.
Snakes in my brush. There's a couple of horses there too, but snake, she, 蛇, is what I'm working on.


The Crow said...

There's something very beautiful about your writing, that operates independently of the content.
Poetry unconstrained by form.
So nice :)

baroness radon said...

There is something very beautiful about your taking time to make such a comment; thank you. Always happy to hear from you. Actually, there is something in that observation which applies to Chinese painting and calligraphy, a beauty separate from form and meaning, something about brush strokes that has nothing to do with the word or the image. Energy? Qi?

Happy New Year!