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Living movement

Post #975 • March 22, 2007, 11:45 AM • 10 Comments

Henry P. Bowie, On the Laws of Japanese Painting:

The Japanese artist is taught that even to the placing of a dot in the eyeball of a tiger he must first feel the savage, cruel, feline character of the beast, and only under such influence should he apply the brush. If he paint a storm, he must at the moment realize passing over him the very tornado which tears up trees from their roots and houses from their foundations. Should he depict the seacoast with its cliffs and moving waters, at the moment of putting the wave-bound rocks into the picture he must feel that they are being placed there to resist the fiercest movement of the ocean, while to the waves in turn he must give an irrestible power to carry all before them; thus by this sentiment, called living movement (sei do), reality is imparted to the inanimate object. This is one of the marvelous secrets handed down from the great Chinese painters and based on psychological principles—matter responsive to mind. Chikudo, the celebrated tiger painter, studied and pondered so long over the savage expression in the eye of the tiger in order to reproduce its fierceness that, it is related, he became at one time mentally unbalanced, but his paintings of tigers are inimitable. They exemplify sei do.

Comment

1.

beware

March 22, 2007, 10:51 AM

What if the tiger is sleeping?

2.

drew

March 22, 2007, 12:52 PM

Then you paint its eyes before the eyelids.

3.

Marc Country

March 22, 2007, 2:09 PM

The Tao of Apollo Creed...

4.

Marc Country

March 22, 2007, 2:12 PM

So many times, it happens too fast, you trade your passion for glory. Dont lose your grip on the dreams of the past. You must fight just to keep them alive.

5.

Hovig

March 22, 2007, 2:48 PM

Chikudo, the celebrated tiger painter, studied and pondered so long over the savage expression in the eye of the tiger in order to reproduce its fierceness that, it is related, he became at one time mentally unbalanced, but his paintings of tigers are inimitable.

Like Lawrence Olivier said to Dustin Hoffman: "Try acting, it's easier."

(Old story, but still a goodie: Hoffman allegedly came to the set of Marathon Man one day looking haggard from staying up all night. Olivier assumed Hoffman was preparing for his torture scene by trying to "become the character," denying himself sleep in real life. Hoffman denied the story at first, but later said he was awake coincidentally, from stress or depression, not from method acting. Whether this has anything to do with painting tigers I'll leave to others....)

6.

drew

March 22, 2007, 3:14 PM

Acting in painting as in pretending or lying, there seems to be plenty of that going on, of course its easier, maybe that’s the problem with the art as of late, its all fake money making garbage...no more blood sweat and tears going on, well, for the most part anyway…

7.

ahab

March 22, 2007, 3:42 PM

Blood and sweat are my studio mates, so to speak. It's been a while since I cried while working in the studio, although the fumes of burning paint sometimes cause me to choke up.

8.

Jack

March 22, 2007, 7:37 PM

Acting, in the context of the theater or film, is an art, and Olivier was a greater artist than Hoffman. The British have an extremely long and rich acting tradition, and they know better what the business is about than people who huff and puff and twist themselves into pretzels over it. It's like anything else, a matter of aptitude, talent and learning from those who came before and left a worthwhile legacy. I don't give a damn how much Dustin "suffers"--the proof is in the pudding, not how strenuously somebody worked to make it.

9.

catfish

March 22, 2007, 7:43 PM

Jack, Hoffman is damn good, whatever his relationship to Olivier. Don't you agree?

10.

jm

March 22, 2007, 11:25 PM

Perhapes put another way, one must embody the spirit of that which one intends to pictorially emulate.

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