Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Chinese Brush Applied to Photography ~ Random Memory #30 ~ Hong Kong


I try to remember many things while composing a shot, light, angle, composition and camera settings and many shots wind up in my computer trash bin. I practice almost daily, I want the steps to seem as natural as brush strokes.

Koi Pond

Five hundred revolutions of the ink stick on my ink stone. Add a few drops of water and let my mind wander while keeping the circular motion smooth and steady. When satisfied with the consistency, dip the point of the brush into the ink and make the first stroke on the rice paper. There is no turning back.


Random Memory #30 ~ Hong Kong

I am sitting at a table in Mr. Lao's class with my felt cloth and a section of rice paper unfurled before me. I have been grinding ink and making horizontal and vertical lines on my rice paper over and over and over. I have been doing this for weeks.

A fellow student arrives with a small package which she proudly unwraps to show Mr. Lao. It is an exquisitely carved antique ink stone, the surface smooth as silk. It is a wonderful find she purchased in one of the many fine shops in could have been a museum piece. Mr. Lao's face is a blank mask, he says, "Put it away. It belongs to a Master."

It will be months before I am allowed to paint a cherry blossom.

Back roads and fog

Downeast Maine


Quiet Town...Almost

My shots on the move are rapid, instinctive, free and relaxed. Sometimes the result is startling.


  1. All four are quite beautiful but 1 and 4 the most atmospheric and in very different ways.

    1. Blue ~ Thank you very much! All four were shot in winter when Maine is very moody and atmospheric. I love working with fog and night lights!

  2. Hello Carol:
    These images are superb! For us, perhaps the second and third have the greatest appeal for they contrast one with another and yet both are thematically very similar. Fascinating.

    Mr. Lao sounds to have been an uncompromising teacher!

    1. Hello Jane and Lance, Thank you very much! I agree, the headlights, motion and light contrast in 2 and 3 are similar. I appreciate your insights!

      Mr. Lao was an uncompromising teacher...and I did go on to paint cherry blossoms and many more subjects too!

  3. You can of course always decorate your home with flowers that don't grow, or wilt either. These were painted by master painters of the past, in Western art history. I found a "garden" full of these flowers at, a company that makes excellent canvas prints, and even hand-painted replicas in oil paint on canvas, from digital images in their large archive for you to choose from.
    I ordered this one online from, , called Flowers by Jan Brueghel the Elder, a Flemish painter of the 16th century, as a present for my dear sister for her birthday, that she now has proudly hanging in her living room. She loves tulips and actually has those growing in the garden now, not far from the framed canvas print.
    She said the print adds "timelessness" to the atmosphere of her living space. That's true, because that beautiful vase of flowers has now stood for 600 years.

  4. Replies
    1. Optimistic Existentialist ~ Thank you so much for stopping by with such a lovely comment!


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