Sometimes you have a day that is so sweet that you want to suck on it forever. Yes thats crass poetry but the gallery in the tiny hamlet of Newstead just miles from the arts epicentre of the Victorian state and world threw open her doors and swooned us with her charm.
With a full house of dedicated 'Zensters' and others (the cat at the door who had realized 1000 rebirths previous) we pushed on from 1100 hrs to 1630hrs with just a short lunchbreak.
Never did the day pass so peacefully and so serenely due to the soul in that class. I have had many nice days but some great wines are greater than others.
Although disarmingly quiet for a balladeer extraordinaire we had a music / artist dignitary in the body of Kavisha Mazzella ('the voice of heavenly angels' and Amour) and a coterie of painters 'n potters.
We started the day with a meditation on the 5 senses to tune us into the vibration of the space and to ground us to this timeless land of Terra Australis and its dreamtime infused lines of song which tweek and twitter every nook of this ether we call ....the environs.
After introducing our materials and giving a context to the Zen experience..... with a capital E .....the days focus was on Bamboo as we traversed the subtleties of the leaf, the trunk, the join in the trunk and the branches, all of which require a unique stroke.
Although visually easy to watch, a zen artist is irritatingly difficult to imitate at first.
(Take 5 years to prove to yourself that "I can paint a leaf as well as that B.................., another 5 to get used to sitting straight without turning to jelly after 2 hours, and another 5 years where the joy starts to smack you like a LSD pill and you don't want to stop.)
As circles led to lines and lines led to small dots on white paper the day fell into a timeless miasmic dream.....the type of dream that is like that cold beer that one yearns for on a 45C heatwave....the one swish which you never want to end or even hit the wall of your belly.
After a late lunch and reviving cup of tea and biscuits we ( the man with the grey beard ) was given the challenge of turning a leaf into a fish. mmmm? By this time it was clear the magic had worked and anything was seeming to be possible from the crowd. I pondered for 2 seconds and thought...'if the man from Galilee could do this stunt 2k plus years ago and come up with loaves and fishes from the void then maybe the 'light' was in me. With a palpable hummm in the air, IT WAS ON........Although nobody would ever admit it nor even whisper the dream of it ......all in the room were thinking......'this sod has got us in a state of mental humiliation and nervous paralysis after 4 hours of this Zen stuff and now HE IS GONNA SINK.
In front of a group of peaced out onlookers hooked on the magic of Zen the brush began to move across the page .....one stroke for the body, seemingly a leaf shape, then another for the other half of the body joined and then a body and a head of a dolphin like fish emerged, a few swishes more and the tail fin is done and then the eye of the fish and then the gentle touch of the fins. Whooo Ahhhhh and there was a wave of joy that burst out of a mountain of expectation.
The deed was done. A leaf into a fish.
Sumie is a moving meditation in ink. The brush strokes become the whole focus of ones mind and physical activity.
There is no room for thought or extra interference between ; thought / action /brush /paper.
Images from the day by Gerard
|leaves in the wind|
The day moved along in a silence which was neither laboured nor dictated. In fact it was a silence born out of itself!!!!!!