Small Town Sharing - Asian Ink Art

Two things I love about small town life: it is intimate. One can know many people well, and town life has its own economy that is less money based and focuses more on sharing.

Last week I was the happy recipient of an invitation to learn about Asian ink painting. The invite came from painter and friend Susan Christie. After showing me her collection, much of which revealed the masters she has worked with and her influences, including the small vintage book that tipped her off to a desire to work in this medium and sent her to the other side of the planet to study, she took me to her studio to play.

For a while the two of us painted together sharing a single sheet of receptive rice paper. While we talked as neighbors and friends do it seemed that what was being shared was documented by the ink and paper between us. Like an ancient copy machine it held the stories in speckles of drip and smears of brush strokes from watery to densely black with expressive liquid charcoal.

As a conceptual artist I use people, places and life events as mediums. Tangible materials like paper and paint feel an odd fit. When I left her home I felt closer to my friend and more able to appreciate the ancient form of expression that until now escaped my attention.

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