Many moons ago a wise man gave me the following advice: “See, touch, taste, smell, hear and speak as much as you can. Spend time alone travelling out of the cities, research into religions, ways of life. Go with an open mind and a warm heart. Don’t cling to the past, but enjoy the present and fly towards the future.” I try to live my life like this, exploring - through travel, art, cooking and conversation - discovering beauty, stories, inspiration and friendship. I have lived, worked and travelled all over the world - from Bhutan to Brazil, Mongolia to Mozambique, Azerbaijan to Antarctica. But the country that soaked deepest into my soul is Japan, where I lived for many years. There are adventures to be had every day, and I am so happy to be able to share them here with you!
cherry blossom (Japanese ink on rice paper 12"x6")
When I started learning Japanese 15 years ago I used to stay up until the early hours of the morning in the college library copying characters from an old dictionary, dipping my brush in juicy ink, sweeping it across the rice paper and marvelling at the words that spilt out. Such a beautiful script, each word a picture in itself. The therapeutic quiet rhythm of shaping the text belied the speed at which each piece was created.
Although sometimes it is good to work on a creation for days, weeks, months even, there is something fundamentally satisfying about finishing a piece in under a minute. I took out my old brushes again yesterday and tried this with sumi-e (Japanese ink painting) with a little help from Takumasa Ono. As the ink flowed through the bristles the memories flooded back.