In this the penultimate session of the course, I would like to encourage the students to become creative. Although there is a set ‘form’ in the way Chinese calligraphy is traditionally presented and I will cover this in class, contemporary artists demand licence for change.
It’s a departure from my methods so far. Until now, I have asked them to adhere strictly to rules and copy the models I supplied to them. Studying the masters and copying their brush strokes.
Now that they have their basic techniques, they must each work towards completing an artwork and presenting it as if for exhibition.
Some students take to this new way of working immediately and others will resist. Not all will revel in creativity and variety. There’s safety in following those before us and unknown dangers in creating new paths, sometimes arduous if ultimately satisfying.
The tyranny of history weigh upon us. Who are we to ignore and defy those early disciplines?
Creativity is built on knowledge. Nothing comes from nothing. Although the students have had but six weeks of study and experience, some more diligently than others, all came to class with toolboxes of knowhow.
Someone is taking a break from a renovating job: could he not paint on a plank or even a wall and photograph the result? A draftsman may want to return to his Indian ink and fine nib and draft an outline of a character. The cook may use icing or fashion a cookie cutter. The watercolorist may do it in colour, gardeners in flowers, potters in clay and so on.
One year I asked students to come up with an artwork after learning three strokes – one of my favourite pieces was created that day. Students have surprised me in the past; I hope they continue to do so.