Friday, December 23, 2016


Here's a detail of one of my Chinese lantern paintings showing the textures. The gold calligraphy means 'paintbrush,' a sort of self-portrait. Can you see the horizontal hand holding the vertical brush in the symbol? That's how the Chinese language changed, from unmistakeable pictograms to a more stylized lettering.


I remember long ago happening on a friend in Borders as I was searching for a book teaching Chinese and telling him my plans to learn the language.  He laughed and said, 'Even the Chinese don't know Chinese, they have more than 3,000 characters!'  I suppose that would intimidate a sensible person, but creatives tend to stab out there.

Did I learn Chinese? Of course not!  But what I DID learn has greatly enriched my life. I discovered how the language has changed over 3,000 years, how the characters are put together, the discipline of each particular mark, how one individual word can be uttered in six or seven different inflections which changes the entire meaning of that word.  I discovered the beauty of the Chinese word and the enjoyment of being able to look at it, pick out a very few words that I actually CAN read, and appreciate it for the beautiful language that it is.


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