When evoking English word forms with the brush, the challenge is to work out the choreography so that the brush dances rhythmically through the whole word without hesitation. I start with the Roman letters that form a necessarily "meaningful" word. While writing the word many, if not many, many, times a way must be found to link the letters energetically so that the brush flows from beginning to end. The placement, relative sizes as well as the shapes of the letters might shift dramatically as the word itself becomes a unified energy field.
Well executed, the brushwork will enliven the "void" around and within the word. And thus, a third-dimensional sense of depth will be created by the energy extending down beneath the surface as well. In this way, the brush strokes intensify the meaning to nourish the heart of the viewer.
Through a grant at the East-West Center in Hawaii, I studied calligraphy in Kyoto, Japan, with Morita Shiryū in the mid-sixties. At a gathering of calligraphers in his circle, I first wrote in English with the feeling of writing one large ideograph. Back in California, I eventually produced a series of calendars that showcased my English brushwork in an accessible format.
Living in Santa Cruz since 2000, I have taught a monthly class as well as a calligraphy workshop occasionally at Jikoji Zen Center in the Santa Cruz Mountains where I often go to work in the garden.
Note: The Japanese word, "a-wa-re" expresses dismay with the passage of things and/or time.
Author photo: Lynda Sierra