When I spent time in China I had lessons from several Chinese painters. One of these painters was a Daoist who described the importance of seeing everything as being connected to nature. He taught me that painting in the Chinese tradition is taking the spirit of what you see inside of you. Chinese painters work from memory and don’t follow the Western tradition of observational painting.
Taking in the spirit of an object means being fully present. The object fills your entire field of vision and your only concern is the beauty of what you see. This is not how we usually perceive the world. Usually we are scanning the environment (where did I leave my keys and iphone?), we are distracted, or we become complacent in our surroundings.
The collection of Zen Paintings are works inspired by these meditative moments and for me they serve as a reminder of the need for focus and wonder in our everyday life.
In case you are wondering the paintings are not done from memory. I’m still working in the Western tradition. But I continue to study Chinese and hope some day to have another opportunity to live in China and continue my studies of this culture and their traditions.