This summer, I have been dedicating my non-earning-a-living days to learning HTML and CSS, the pixel world of the web. It is a world of grids and boxes-within-boxes and automatic wraps. Nice. Elegant.
And complicated like all get out once you get beyond the basics. Not that I do not love the logic of this; I do. The detective part of my brain finds it very satisfying. And it goes well with my love of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and all things interactive.
We know that the tail
of a Garamond or Times New Roman letter calls to mind the calligraphy brush. Serif letters are partly about the soft or hard landings of letter strokes. These landings link to the adjacent letterforms and are still believed by many to make for easier reading than sans-serif letters.
the more pixels I count during my HTML/CSS days, the more I want to escape the box confinement. The digital world we inhabit today was not born of rounded shapes, body shapes, cell shapes, or star shapes. I sometimes miss those shapes shut out of my screen world. Nature is not square.
The Moving Line : Handwriting, Drawing & Brushwork as Embodied Practice
And so on July 25, 2015 I registered once again for a day working with Barbara Bash, well-known Big Brush calligrapher and Buddhist teacher. A remedial course for those of us still wanting to write, draw, or paint by hand.
Even though we love the digerati world, there can be something missing for us in days when we work only on digital devices. That something is working with the hand and pencil, hand and pen, hand and brush. I am not new to this path, having studied off and on with Bash since 2005, but I do forget and my handwriting is still illegible.
When Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche once said, ‘It is possible to make a brushstroke that expresses one’s whole life’ I took that to mean a very LARGE brushstroke. This was the beginning of my Big Brush practice. — Barbara Bash: Big Brush The Journey
Photographs in this Blog
were taken at the weeklong Big Brush Workshop held at Skylake Retreat Center in Rosendale New York July 2015.
- Barbara Bash bio from her website www.barbarabash.com : “Barbara Bash has been walking the calligraphic path for many years with an interest in Buddhist sensibility as expressed through western art forms. She was a longtime student of Chogyam Trungpa. More recently she has been studying Nonviolent Communication. She is intrigued to explore the combining of these two deep and rich communication disciplines.
- For more information about the Big Brush Workshops, see https://www.barbarabash.com/big_brush.html, accessed 8/28/2020
- Bob Wing bio from his blog on the Naropa website https://www.enaropa.org/blog/tag/bob-wing/: “Bob Wing, founder and instructor of the Aikido program at Naropa University, teacher of the body-centered Gestalt Therapy, and guest faculty at the upcoming Authentic Leadership Program, shares how his practice of experiential traditions over the years has gifted him with the insight to become a better teacher.” Accessed 8/28/2020.
- Philip Ellis Foster bio at http://lawrencevillepubs.org/vsvsummer2015issue/news/philip-ellis-foster-56-talk-does-not-cook-rice/ Accessed 8/28/2020.
This post was originally published on July 28, 2015 and updated in September 2020.
The Good Page Blog © 2005-2020 All Rights Reserved Barbara Kristaponis. Photographs: © 2005 Barbara Kristaponis. The photographs are from a Big Brush and Sword workshop taught by Barbara Bash at Sky Lake Retreat in Rosendale, NY in 2005.