Literati Painting: A Synthesis of Art and Meditation

This is a digitally constructed collage. I put together pieces from different classic Chinese paintings and tried to mimic the style of a fourteen-century literati artist.

I’ve done research on China in the past, especially Chinese traditional art, and have written about it here and here. This week I decided to start writing a new book about China. I will use art as a reference point and bracket that reference between two centuries–the fourteenth and twentieth. And I will focus my attention on one city that just happens to straddle the Yangzte River: Chongqing.


Credit

It was Chongqing that became the last stronghold of the free Chinese in WWII (Second Sino-Japanese War). And it was there that fierce resistance by the Southern Song Dynasty held invading Mongols off for years.

Why art? Because in China, art has been a vessel for culture and tradition. Through conquest and revolution, art has endured. I find that to be especially true in the literati tradition.


A Word About the Picture at the Top of the Page

The picture was prompted by a contest on Steemit, which I enter every time it’s open. In the contest we are challenged by a fellow Steemian, @shaka, to make a collage from one of his photos. Rank amateurs (like me) and graphic artists participate. Sometimes a good idea prevails over skill…that gives me hope. However, I don’t enter to win. I enter to have fun.

Here’s @shaka’s photo, as it appeared before I made the collage:

Here are the elements that went into my collage:

[By the way, emulating, or even copying an artist is considered to be an homage, in the literati tradition]

The tree was extracted from this picture:

Wu Zhen Fishermen section.steemit 2,5x562,2cm._ca._1340._Freer.public.jpg

Fishermen, by Wu Zhen. China, fourteenth century. Public domain.


The meditating gentleman was extracted from this picture:

Ni_Zan_Portrait_Yuan2.jpg

Ni_Zan_Portrai_Yuan, unknown author. China, Yuan Dynasty (approximately fourteenth century). Public domain


The lotus flowers were extracted from this picture:

lotus.jpg


Pink and White Lotus, unknown artist. China, Yuan Dynasty. Public domain.


The birds were taken from this picture:

Loquats steemit and_Mountain_Bird anonymous public.jpg

Loquats and Mountain Bird, by anonymous. China, fourteenth century. Public domain.


The ducks, reeds and characters were taken from this picture:

Ducks_steemit and_Reeds_MET_47_18_19.jpg

Ducks and Reeds, by Lin Liang. China, fifteenth century. Public domain.


The hint of chrysanthemum was extracted from this picture:

chrysanthemum steemit public Xian'e_Changchun_Album_08.jpg

Xian’e Changchun Album 08, by Guiseppe Castilione. Between 1722-1725. Public domain.


If you’d like to see the blog that accompanied this collage, you can find it on Steemit. It’s called The Brain: Meditation, Flow and Literati Art.

I’ll try to post a new chapter for my book once a week. That’s going to be a challenge, but I might as well aim high 🙂

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I’ve Been Writing a Lot…

 

 

mach writing Josef_Löwy_Handstudie_vor1872
Josef Löwy: “Handstudie” 1872.  Public domain

 

 

I’ve been writing quite a lot for several years now.  At first I wrote a book about personal experience.  Many people begin with the personal when they first write. After I finished that book, I cast my eyes out, and saw a universe of interesting subjects.

A blog followed–on Godaddy.  Then I opened a Twitter account. A few children’s books followed.  As the years passed, I wrote more books and found more mediums on which to feature my writing.

WordPress offered a convenient platform…and so here I am.  It may be my temperament that leads me down different paths.  Or it may be a symptom of the times. So many opportunities exist for people who want to write.  There’s no such thing as a closed door anymore.  We all have a key and an invitation to enter.

I’m blogging today about two lovely opportunities for writing, besides this one, that I explored this week.  Both of them are on Steemit and both are extraordinarily accessible to just about anyone.

The first I’ll mention is dedicated to haiku writing.  This has turned into a weekly exercise for me.  This is supposed to be a contest, but I don’t write to win.  I write because the community and the exercise are enjoyable.  Each week we are offered a picture and are asked to write a haiku in response.  This is a link to the contest.  My haiku is on the bottom, in the Comment section (under @agmoore).

Another exercise I’ve engaged in this week is a short story contest, Tell A Story to Me.  Contests abound on Steemit. I rarely win, but I do have fun writing for them.  Tell a Story to Me really captured my imagination in this round.  The prompt was the Golden Record.  My story is done, and I’ll post it on Monday.  The theme is so rich I can see this story developing into a book.  I’ll let you know how that works out 🙂

One thing you’ll notice, as you navigate around the creative writing blogs on Steemit, is that a lot of names reappear on different blogs.  There is a true creative writing community and after a while you get to recognize different writers and their styles.  You also appreciate how writers grow as they practice their craft.

And I don’t know much about cryptocurrency.  Steemit pays rewards in cryptocurrency.  But that is not the attraction for me or for a lot of people who blog there.  Maybe we’ll make money and maybe we won’t.  But in the meantime, we’re having a very rich experience.

I think I’ll try my hand at a haiku here.  This is in response to the picture featured in the contest.  Can’t show it…might be considered plagiarism.  When you read my haiku, you’ll see why I don’t win the contest 🙂

accent accent

Sunlight warms the pier

Wisp of a brown leaf withers

Atop its shadow