• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 02
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Her Passion

It began with tentative brushstrokes, leaves that looked like crows’ feet, an ache in the arm as she swept brush across rice paper.

She’d spent fifteen minutes, maybe longer, grinding ink onto stone only to produce blobs of black liquid that spread like blood where it touched.

But she wanted this. Now on this weekend dedicated to the art of Chinese Brush Painting, she swabbed brush on paper with mechanical strokes and began to feel at home.

The tutor guided her strokes as she moved from leaves onto bamboo, orchids and cherry blossom, then, gathering confidence, she went large.

Across a trestle table she unrolled paper the length of a scroll and began painting lines and swirls. She added touches of colour, brash red to the blocks of black.

Uninhibited, she moved to working on the floor, taking over every available surface. Her classmates contracted into corners to give her space. By the end of the weekend she had a wall full.

She painted into the night when everyone else had gone to bed. She left with something to show for it. Her final masterpiece of black and red spoke of her passion.

I hear she is still going, has lined the bedroom wall and is designing drapes for the windows with Chinese calligraphy. Her arm no longer aches, brushes rest behind her ears, ink permanently stains her fingers.