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Aya 's Life and Art

  1. Studying traditional Japanese brush calligraphy for many decades forms the foundation of my art today. While I grew up seeing Japanese traditional classical writing, Manyo-gana, I did not understand it at that time, though I enjoyed seeing the different writing styles. There was a folding screen in our house with about 20 different poems composed and written by the different people on the theme of Harusame (Spring Rain). As a child I could only read a few characters of the phonetic Japanese alphabet, hiragana, in the poem, but my childhood memory of fascination with writing and a feeling of appreciation for that writing, has remained with me ever since. I remember looking closely at the different calligraphy styles of those different people and seeing which style of calligraphy was the most attractive to me and which ones were not.  Living over three quarter of century in this world, the direction of my art has been changing like my life, in accordance with the philosopher Heraclitus’ (c.535– c.475 B.C.) view of life: Panta Rei (Everything Flows). As I came to free myself artistically like formless water fitting into any shape, I found that there is no barrier to what I can do. My feelings are summed perfectly by my favorite haiku, written by the 16th century Japanese poet, Basho:  Yield to the willow All loathing All the desires of your Heart.  My mind and brush are following the artistic wind without resistance, so that I feel that I am “Doing nothing, but doing something.”   My focus is listening to my inner voice and paying attention to how I live in the universe: my wish is for a universe filled with eternal blessings. I am using years of accumulated materials done in media other than the traditional Sumi-ink. In recent years, I have been using brushes I made myself and finding harmony in different papers and the magic of how they interact with water and time, for it takes hours of drying for all the colors to blend naturally. All of this brings new excitement to my work.  My brushwork needs my entire body to move, and my twelve years of karate training at OKA in Lebanon, NH and my recent classes in Belly Dancing in Hanover, NH have been beneficial, adding agility to my body movements and the extra energy gained from the young people with whom I train.  February, 2011