Thursday, January 21, 2010


My friendly neighborhood tire store fixed my flat (see previous) and gave me a complimentary calendar as well. Every month has a scenic photo and a motivational thought in fancy writing.

While looking through the wise words I was thinking about my lack of success in my studies of Sumi-e painting. I’d gone from diligently painting an hour or so almost every day for weeks, to total procrastination. Things did not look good.

“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” Confucius--- Was one calendar quote.

Was walking away from my attempt at oriental style painting going to be like quitting music lessons—something to regret years later?

Another month’s inspiration was: “Act as if it were impossible to fail.” Dorothy Brande And another: “Admire those who attempt things even if they fail.” Seneca

I considered how I really hate doing repetitive crafts. Others can turn out loads of handwork and needlework with similar designs, all beautiful. I, on the other hand, went bonkers when I had to crochet two hot pads that looked the same. Trying to paint bamboo leaves and birdies over and over was really getting under my skin.

Another deep thought: “When you have faults do not fear to abandon them.” Confucius

Abandon them—hmmmm. Maybe putting away the bamboo brushes and rice paper wasn’t failing, but just quitting while I was ahead. I decided life is too short to waste on looking for chi.

CHI: The unimpeded circulation of balance of negative and positive forms in the body. Held to be essential to good health in traditional Chinese medicine.

Chi? Chi? I don’t need no steenking Chi. Most artists are considered unbalanced anyway. I stashed the black and white and got out my Arches watercolor paper and my sable brushes. In one afternoon I turned out a painting of the National Elk Refuge just out of Jackson, Wyoming—the piece you now see incorporated into my new blog header. Actual size is 30 inches wide. If you look closely you can see the elk herd.

Granted all the studying of brush work has improved my painting ability. It even helped my handwriting.

I seem to do my best work on paper towels. 
(No pressure to perform, I guess)

The hours spent weren’t totally wasted. And I have lots of ink and newsprint so the kids and I can have great fun together.  Time for me to move on.


KBlack said...

You know, I would have to say you are probably the one person closest to Chi that I know. It's pretty darn great bamboo, and I saw some of the birds too, not too shabby. xoxoxox

Flea said...

GOOD FOR YOU!!! I hate repetitive crafts. I'm coiling this STUPID basket, thinking I wanted to learn the craft. Well I learned it. Now I'm done. I hate crochet, knitting and cross stitch for the same reason. GAH! Weaving a basket has so much more potential.

So you painted the header on your blog? It's gorgeous! The clouds are perfect.

Yes, I love raisins, and no, I haven't taken time to bake another carrot cake this week. The week snowballed on me and I totally forgot. But thanks for the reminder! Maybe I'll do that tomorrow afternoon. Today is already spoken for.

Elizabeth said...

Nothing is ever really wasted!
you learned that you didn't really want to do oriental type painting.......
Your new header is splendid.
And you have all that newsprint to play with.
Happy weekend!

Linda Sue said...

sumi is a discipline- a technique that one can use to improve brush strokes and freeing up tight detail, I suppose...I failed miserably at sumi painting...but i do value the manipulation of brush and ink and shoulder and energy all that stuff. You shine at your own style and your header is amazing! I see no room for improvement in your work. Black and white and shades of grey - ok but a little goes a lonnnnggg way. We are beings of colour , variety, light not technique...Am I wrong?Hardly ever!

Anonymous said...

My justification for giving up is ' life is too short to (insert whatever it is that's giving you grief)' In the quilting world there are people who produce a series of quilts, each one very slightly different from the previous one - I just think - how tedious to do the same thing over and over .....
Love your new header!!

Linda Sue said...

Hope you don't mind- I posted your face on my I in trouble- if I am you will have to come here personally, (after we get the basement put back together) and sort me out in person!

Jill said...

Great collection of quotes to keep you going.
I did tai chi for a while and as I had warm hands my teacher said I was full of chi - my husband said more likely I was full of something else.

Laura said...

So on the Calendar image I read it as Keep a green tree in your head and perhaps a singing bird will come. Then I thought about it landing on my head and pooping on me. Huh!

The paper towel art work is fantastic, having a dinner party with those as napkins, can you imagine, no one would make a mess, they'd probably lick their fingers if they had too and they'd get to take their napkin home and well if it were me, I'd frame it and hang it on my wall.

Unknown said...

what beautiful painting!
certainly no waste there!

Anairam said...

I like your attitude - sometimes it really is time to move on. I totally agree - life is too short to plug away at something if it gives you no joy. I don't feel guilty anymore. And you may find that later the time is right and you actually WANT to do lots of the bamboo paintings and then you will. For example - after 6 lessons I put my accordion away. All that practising - it just wasn't working for me. A week ago (a year and a half later) I took my accordion out again. Suddenly I want to practise my scales. Over and over. It is weird ...

Deborah Moore said...

Thank you for the words of wisdom and your take one them. When I feel stagnant, or like I'm falling behind in my creativity things that this always help.
You encourage me to be more creative and to stick with it, good mood or not.

DayPhoto said...

I am so impressed that you continue to stretch yourself, to constanly challenge your talents and skills. It really is easy to just say..okay. I'm done. But you haven't!

I applaud you Dear Blogging Friend! I applaud you.