Friday, September 11, 2009
Three years ago, I traveled to Jackson, Wyoming, with a friend to attend a Chinese painting workshop given by artist Lian Zhen. I loved it so much that I decided to bring Lian to Missoula, Montana, where I live, this fall. After our local paper, The Missoulian printed an article about the event, my phone rang and rang, and my email got inquiries from artists of all levels from professionals, dabbling amateurs like me, and complete beginners. My 'waiting list' has become an email list for local information and events related to Chinese painting.
So many individuals said that when they saw his paintings they knew they had to learn from him. People who had never lifted a brush wanted to spend a week of their lives in his workshop. This outpouring amazed me and inspired me. I believe that art exists to bring beauty into the world, that the work of an artist can help people relate to the world around them, especially the natural world that Lian so beautifully expresses in his paintings of animals, flowers, and the natural world around us. The overwhelming response to this opportunity for access to tools and techniques that can help in the creative process demonstrates the truth that the creative urge is a fundamental part of being human.