For the past ten years, I have been practicing in free style with Chinese Ink on rice paper. It took me a long time to learn to work faster with an economy of brushstrokes. As a poet, I greatly appreciate the fact that for the Chinese, poetry and visual art are inseparable. Not only are paintings often inscribed with poetry, but also each painting is a poem in itself. Painting represents silent poetry for many Chinese artists and it has come to mean the same to me. The absorbency of rice paper calls for an intense, deft and concise approach, as it is often the case with poetry. I have used these new skills to paint the cover of my three poetry collections. I love to paint figures, animals and landscapes, but cranes and egrets are one of my favorite subjects.
Or Why I Love to Paint Cranes in Chinese Ink
They carry dreams under their wings,
flattened over rice paper, cranes spread
their wings in grey shades, their necks
bleed ebony, its darkness melts all over
their raised tails. See how their kohl-lined
eyes frown under the red patch of bare skin
cresting their heads like a mask or a crown
as they stand on one leg, majestic, immobile.
First published by Fifth Wednesday Journal