Painter’s Path IX: Three Short Dialogues

One finds either delusion or enlightened giving.


Student: How do we escape the false way of viewing painting?

Teacher: How, how, how! Always wanting to know how! Suffice it to say, you must be generally aware of painting without taking too seriously your awareness. The little centipede walks in harmony with all of its legs. If for one moment the little centipede starts to think about each of its tiny legs – well, you get the picture. The centipede will fall over itself. That is why I say to you: be generally aware of what is going on.

Student: In the state of non-knowing (what you have also called “wise ignorance”) there is no one painting. There is only painting and the observation of painting. They are the same.

Teacher: There is “just this”. Nothing special. It is quite simply what is there. Of course, you still delightfully sit in front of your work to see if what you have done needs resolution.


Teacher: When you resist your own creative flow you are like someone swimming against the current. It is easy to drown.

Student: We go with the current, good or bad.

Teacher: Yes. Good or bad, steering with it and using it.

Student: We have no choice but to flow with it.

Teacher: You always have a choice. Listen, to me. Would you rather row against the current or sail with it?


Student: It is very difficult to paint without a goal. Isn’t this painting blindly?

Teacher: You wish to control everything you do and yet have a wonderful, fresh, and original painting! Yet you cannot. Why so, caterpillar? It is because your work lacks the sensation of life, of sailing with the current, of no resistance. Painting is not only with imagination but also with skillful means. You do not worry about specifics. Do you see the beauty in it?

Student: Teacher, I believe I do.

Teacher: Accomplish your painting without planning it. You will see a relationship between doing and happening, freedom and necessity. Do not be afraid of loosing control. There is a methodless method to painting: an action that emerges from the unknown of your mind freely and spontaneously. Quickly, now!
Students raise their hands to ask more questions. The Teacher pays no attention to them. He is in a hurry to leave the room. However, he suddenly stops, turns around, and simply holds up a finger to his lips. Shhhhh.

“Enough said.”

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