What is this telling us …?

In China and Japan there is a long tradition of writing calligraphy, Chinese characters artistically brought to paper with brush and ink. I consider it fascinating how many non-Asians I have met have strong feelings and associations with a certain piece of calligraphy.

DO (道) - Way

DO (道) – Way

Occasionally, I write “custom made” pieces, and the process of finding suitable characters, deciding the style and eventually discussing the result is always most interesting. Someone who usually cannot “read” and “understand” a single character, never used a brush on his own, and without experience on judging “balance” or “quality of a stroke” makes highly accurate comments on my writings, sometimes pointing out weaknesses or strong points I have not realised myself. And always has a clear feeling about “like” or “dislike”, which more often than not matches my own view of my artwork.

I believe there is “something” about Zen-Calligraphy, which directly speaks to the viewer’s heart, transcending all culture- or language barriers. When writing with all your heart, you completely expose yourself, and this can be clearly seen in the brush-strokes you leave on the paper. A trace full of energy, or “full of emptiness”, appealing to everyone with open eyes …

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