Sunday, November 20, 2005

Bamboo leaves in rain

Xia Chang (1388-1470)Bamboo Bordered Stream in Spring Rain --1441

This is a 12" section (about 2 feet from the left edge) of a 50 foot scroll.

What's suckering me here is the delicious sense of space that depends on the varying darkness/lightness of the brush strokes. Xia was apparently a scholar/official who was in charge of scholar/officials --- so I'm guessing that his ability was well recognized by his peers. This painting apparently was made a year after his retirement -- accompanied by a poem dedicated to a friend whose estate offered a similar spot for retreat -- the sense of the poem being "isn't it nice to get away from everything and look at the bamboo in the rain.

This shows the last of the 8 feet of the 50 foot scroll that is currently on display --- and you can see how the delicacy of the leaves is giving way to the heavier volumes of a tree trunk -- and a very different kind of space develops.

This is near the left-most edge -- the trip to the garden beginning with the flat space of crackling silhouettes of leaves against the page , set off, just occasionally, by lighter brush strokes that indicate a deeper space. I can stare at this part over-and-over again. It's so refreshing - envigorating.

Here's a detail -- shot with my new Panasonic FX8 camera with
"optical image stabilizer" to compensate for my shaky hand.


Anonymous marly said...

One thing I love is a mastery that allows a kind of offhand carelessness--an elegance that is the fruit of labor and practice but looks like ease.

November 29, 2006  

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