Still chasing the wild feeling of my earlier charcoal sketch. This time I started off with a watercolor under-painting (photo below), and then went straight in with charcoal. I did not mind the “do not use black” dictum.
The image below shows the stretched watercolor, with the under-painting applied. I worked quite loose and wild at this stage.
Here are the three versions side by side:
For me personally, in each of these three attempts, there is a point, right at the water’s edge, that feels familiar – a place I have been to before. When a painting of mine gives me such a gift, I am filled with a sort of sad joy.
Such “familiar places” of homecoming represent perhaps the inner space to which we can also come home. Hongzhi describes how we can come home to it again:
The practice of true reality is simply to sit serenely in silent introspection. When you have fathomed this you cannot be turned around by external causes and conditions. This empty, wide open mind is subtly and correctly illuminating. Spacious and content, without confusion from inner thoughts of grasping, effectively overcome habitual behavior and realize the self that is not possessed by emotions... Here you can rest and become clean, pure, and lucid. Bright and penetrating, you can immediately return, accord, and respond to deal with events. Everything is unhindered, clouds gracefully floating up to the peaks, the moonlight glitteringly flowing down mountain streams. Leighton, Taigen Dan; Wu, Yi. Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi (Kindle Locations 591-594). Tuttle Publishing. Kindle Edition.
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