Sumi-e, the Zen Way of the Brush

Art Gallery

Kalpa shares her exquisite ink paintings with us

We came across Kalpa’s incredible and exquisite ink paintings and wrote to hear more about her work. She told us that she just recently has been invited as a member of the ICCPS (International Chinese Calligraphic Art & Chinese Ink Painting Society) to exhibit at the Museum of AnShan City in China, from September 19 until October 3, 2011. Top professional Chinese artists will join and it will be one of the biggest and most important exhibitions in the history of the ICCPS so far; a book with all the participant’s paintings will be made available, also there will be several prizes to win.

Kalpa said that it was quite a push to have her work done in time, as there was only one month until the deadline and she had to send her paintings to Japan first to have them mounted in the traditional way as hanging scrolls with silk. She wrote:

“When I took sannyas in 1982, Osho gave me the name Ma Veet Kalpa which means Beyond Imagination. My sannyas letter is all about creativity and has been a guidance and living experience up till now.

I had always known that I am a painter, and during my studies at the Academy of Fine Art I discovered my preference for painting with watercolours and ink in a spontaneous way. Still I was looking for the technique I could express myself the best.

Some years later I came across a Japanese artist who showed me how to work on rice paper, a very absorbent kind of paper which needs a lot of practice. To work on it one has to be very fast and without hesitation; any inadequate pressure will result in a blotch of ink. To learn the technique I took lessons from different Chinese teachers.

The art of ink painting has been brought from China to Japan during the 13th century where it developed itself as a Zen art, known as Sumi-e. The art of Sumi-e is not only to understand the unity of life, but to experience it. One has to be in the moment and capture the vital essence out of a deep connection with nature.

While painting I love to hear Osho’s voice, listening to the wind through the bamboos, to the birds in the trees, remembering the beauty of a lotus in the Buddhafield.

It is Osho’s finger pointing to the moon that gives me the feeling of roundness like a Zen circle.”

Kalpa, Scottish by birth, lives and works in the Netherlands. She took sannyas in 1982 and moved into the commune with her two children.  After living in Rajneeshpuram and Pune she went back to Holland to live and work as a professional artist. Over the years she had more than a dozen exhibitions; many of her paintings have been sold. – All photos: © Kalpa MacLachlan

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