A recent trip to York saw me in a craft shop. Nothing unusual about that - Catface is a very crafty lass, so we spend ages picking up supplies for her business - but this time, I thought I'd treat myself to something. I've never really had any ability with art whatsoever (my hands are the hand-equivalent of tone deaf, as to which my atrocious handwriting will attest) but I do enjoy calligraphy, even though I don't count myself as any good.

The shop in which we found ourselves had a large selection of Chinese and Japanese brushes of all shapes and sizes, so I selected a small-ish squirrel-hair brush that seemed to feel right and speak to me. I know that may sound strange, but there's a great quote from trueart.info about brush selection, which I hope they don't mind me copying here:
"In the west, a brush is considered simply a tool for self-expression; it needs little character of its own ... In the East, however, there is a tradition of treating artists' materials as friends, rather than as slaves to artistic expression. Artwork is a cooperative process that involves the unique characteristics of the tool as well as those of the artist."
Certainly, I have no truck with Western art, so maybe this approach will suit me better. It definitely makes a change to hold an artistic implement that feels natural and comfortable, so already I'm ahead of where I've been before.

In the past I've used my calligraphy set to write kana characters, but that's not really all that it's made for. This time, I decided to be more ambitious, and try kanji (which I can't really read yet), in cursive style (which is possibly silly of me since I definitely can't read cursive!). I had a think about what to try, and I settled on the phrase "water's sound", which is the last line from a Basho poem I like.

I really enjoyed making it in the end. Although this is just a rough draft (I'd quite like to put it on three canvas blocks once I'm confident enough), I think it's come out looking quite cool. Although since I can't really read Japanese, I'm probably not the best judge... Anyway, this - I hope - is Mizu no Oto:

I'd really love to hear some opinions. I'm genuinely not fishing for compliments or anything - if you happen to be able to read Japanese and could tell me where I'm going right/wrong, I'd very much appreciate it!

Comments (0)