Emptiness and Bliss by Jan Zaremba
Composite Elephant.Attributed to the Kotah Master. Rajasthan, Kotah. c. 1730. Black ink and opaque watercolor over black chalk underdrawing on tan laid paper.
Look very closely, there’s a lot to see.
Diego Rivera. Retrato de mujer, 1944.
Serenity. Though she certainly has something on her mind. Did somebody just walk away from her and leave her something to think about? Something she had not thought to think of before? She looks like she’s rolling it over and over, trying to figure out which way is up. But she’s not straining. Could it be more of an epiphany? A peaceful concession to an idea she might actually prefer? Is she a woman or is she women?
Allan Rohan Crite: Tire Jumping in Front of My Window (1936-1947) via The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
What is more fun than a fun neighborhood? Think of all the dimensions in which you live. Universe-Galaxy-Solar System-Planet-Continent-Nation-State-City-District-Neighborhood. They come in all different shapes and sizes and colors and architectures. They nurture us, exploit us, trap us, free us, rock us to sleep, slap us, trip us, smarten us up, laugh with us. When we look out at the world, it’s the first thing we see.
When I was in High School all those years ago, I took Sumi-e lessons at the art studio I attended. Somehow, my teacher and the owner of the place came across this man who was a Sumi-e master and who had once been a Buddhist Monk and protege of Japan’s greatest Sumi-e master (I forget what his title was). And when he started teaching a class at the studio I decided to join. He was as you would expect a man of that description to be. Wise, wryly humorous, patient and, well, masterful. Sumi-e is completely different from Western forms of art, mentally but even more so physically. You have to trust your body more, you have to think less and you need only provide the information necessary so that what you are painting is recognizable. No more. After I graduated and moved on, I bought a bunch of Sumi-e supplies but never quite got back into it (though I did do a project on it Freshmen year), focusing on other art forms. So there sits the schuen paper, the ink and everything else in the corner of my room. I am determined to pick it up once more when I return to Massachusetts.
Perhaps I will make some more like this one here. Yes, this is painted by yours truly. He is A Buddha, A Foreigner (Sumi-e ink on Schuen paper, 2009). I am told that in the golden age of Sumi-e, the Japanese, Korean and Chinese painters depicted all foreigners, male or female and from whatever distant land, the same. And they often look quite angry, no? He did not explain this that I can remeber. I can only attribute to the fact that they were never schooled in Sumi-e and all the wisdoms of life associated with such a practice. Did you know Samurai were trained in this art?
"You can create the world by naming it. We call that Poetry. You can create the world by using the form of things. We call that Painting. You can create the world through motion. We call that Dance. Or you can create the world by sounds. We call that Music.
I have given you the Secret of Art.
Notice, that I did not use the verb to describe.
The poet does not describe an experience.
He has one."