To me, stones are not simple materials or canvases for painting pictures on. Among all those numerous stones on a river bank, one stone, looking like an animal, catches my eye. When I find a stone, I feel that stone has found me too. Stones have their own intentions, and I consider my encounters with them as cues they give me it’s OK to go ahead and paint what I see on them.
So the stones I decide to paint on are not arbitrary, but my significant opposites with whom I have established a connection, which inspires me to work with them. In my encounters with the stones and in my art, I respect my opposites in toto, so I never process stones, and would never cut off an edge to alter the shape. Stones may fall outside our usual definition of living organisms, but when I think of the long time it takes for a stone to change from a huge boulder in the mountains to the size and shape it has, as rests in my palm, I feel the history of the earth that the stone has silently witnessed over the millennia, and I feel the story inside it. I feel the breath of a life inside each stone, so sometimes I paint while I talk to the stone as I hold it in my hand.
In order to bring out the living being that I feel in the stone to its surface, I proceed very carefully. I consider step by step, for example, whether I am positioning the backbone in the right place. Does it feel right? Am I forcing something that disagrees with the natural shape of the stone? I tread carefully. I put my paintbrush to the stone when I truly feel that it is the right brushstroke. In this sense, my painting is a dialogue with the stone. It is the stone that determines what I paint on it, not me. The art I want to create is a life newly born in my hands through my dialogue with the stone. I want to paint the life, the living spirit of the being I feel inside the stone.
I paint the eyes at the very end, and I consider my work completed only when I see that the eyes are now alive and looking back straight at me. To me, completing a piece of work is not about how much detail I draw, but whether I feel the life in the stone.
Discussion about this post