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.