Tuesday, February 26, 2013


26.2.2013 Technique of writing,
ink on pastel paper,
ca 31x41cm framed,
for sale

A few years ago I painted quite a bit in the Chinese brush painting technique and looked at calligraphy, then for some reason I started testing out other techniques. Yesterday I brought out the materials and played around a bit. Today's painting is a calligraphy work.

The characters are pen (top)+law which together makes "technique of writing". The mount and frame are part of my complete composit...ion.

China is so much tradition and also so much a modern coming country. Art and literature also has the two components tradition and modernity, the old and the new. I have tried to use both aspects in this work in topic, style and materials.
Tradition, order or the law, the rules if you like say that the characters are horizontal or vertical, mine are diagonal. Normally they are of fairly equal size, Mine are of different size, and I’ll get back to why. But even with these changes there is some feeling of order in it, some system to it.

This is a Westerner’s painting and the characters are probably quite naively painted in the eyes of an oriental calligraphist. That is OK, because naïve is my style in painting also when doing western style works.

Normally the paper is white shuen (rice) paper which behaves very differently from western paper. I have used a paper normally used for pastel work. The ink, and ink brush is Chinese, but a modern kind. I do have the proper ink sticks and grinding stones to do it the traditional way but this time I used a modern version which is a brush pen with an ink cartridge system.

The mount is a simple one but with the tiny sophistication of the black inner lining that enhances the black in the characters. The frame a very simple unpainted wooden one.

As an artist, a reader, an art lover and most of all a teacher I mean and say that the most important thing is that some kind of content or message gets a reaction from a receiver. Of course as a teacher I think spelling and grammar is important, rules and techniques are, but only as an addition – not alone. A technically perfect painting or story which does not engage my thoughts or emotions has nothing no matter how perfect the lines are drawn or the spelling is. No law is good unless it serves the people. That is why the last character is slightly smaller in my painting.
Watching the painting the pen character looks back at me, the top 6 strokes turning into eyes. This aspect that even if taking away the real meaning of the characters it is an image – of something, intrigues me. The human mind is so focused on seeing faces that we so easily do that.

I am myself very happy about how it turned out: The combination of old and new, of simple and complicated, of the two characters having individual meanings but also a new one when together as well as being an abstract image, of it all working well together.

I hope you liked it too and enjoyed more detailed background information this time.