That Dao thing is what its about.

I have always been attracted to the Daoist principals, and find them  energising when working creatively.

But what is ‘The Way’ ?  - I do not know. So i read to learn .. ..

illustration: Daoism immortal  Cao Guojiu By Zhang Lu.

TAO - can be described as the basic, unfathomable structure of being, which underlies the universe.

Commonly Translated as ‘the Way’

Taoist thought was first articulated in the Tao-te-Ching, the classic text attributed to the great sage Lao-tzu believed to have lived in the sixth century B.C.

During this same century Prince Siddhartha taught the first tenets of Buddhism in India and Confucius developed his theories of family and state organization in China. The teachings of all three of these great sages have had profound influence on traditional Chinese art and culture to the present day.

The Bible's Old Testament tells us that man has dominion over the rest of creation, and the 8th Psalm, echoing a similar attitude, states that the Lord made man "a little lower than the angels," and, "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands and has out all things under his feet."

Chinese art, particularly landscape paintings, suggest a very different relationship between humans and nature.

Significantly Taoism has no supreme deity; it is a vision of universal order, a primal cosmic energy (yuan-ch'i) composed of complementary forces known as yin and yang.

Detail - Xia GUI ( Song Dynasty ) ‘ View of Streams and Mountains’

Chinese art, particularly landscape paintings, suggest a very different relationship between humans and nature. Daoists speak of a harmony among all aspects of nature, and say "Heaven and earth and I live together." The harmony in nature is illustrated in the balance between such things as water and mountains.

 

    EC  152 ‘I Saw The Hills’

Indigenous to China, Daoism arose as a secular school of thought with a strong metaphysical foundation around 500 B.C.,

Two core texts form the basis of Daoism: the Laozi and the Zhuangzi, attributed to the two eponymous masters, whose historical identity, like the circumstances surrounding the compilation of their texts, remains uncertain.

The Laozi—also called the Daodejing, or The Way and Its Power—has been understood as a set of instructions for virtuous rulership or for self-cultivation. It stresses the concept of nonaction or noninterference with the natural order of things.

 

 EC 229 ‘Sunrise Study’

Dao, usually translated as the Way, may be understood as the path to achieving a state of enlightenment resulting in longevity or even immortality.

 

But Dao, as something ineffable, shapeless, and conceived of as an infinite void, may also be understood as the unfathomable origin of the world and as the progenitor of the dualistic forces yin and yang.

Yin, associated with shade, water, west, and the tiger, and yang, associated with light, fire, east, and the dragon, are the two alternating phases of cosmic energy; their dynamic balance brings cosmic harmony.

Nature is shown as omnipresent, overshadowing the human figure.  It exemplifies the Taoist idea that Nature pervades and surrounds us, and that humans are not in control Nature.  In honor of the changefulness and mobility of Nature, Taoist artists always leave their works unfinished.   This practice also invites the viewer to become a co-creator of the piece, as if a participant within Nature.  Even the most elaborate pieces of Taoist art consists merely of brush strokes in varying shades of watered black on white paper.  Empty space is critically important, because emptiness has its own kind of fullness.   The ink used is “watered” ink, reiterating the meaning and importance of flowing water. 

 

“Nothing in the world is softer or weaker than water
Yet nothing is better at overcoming the hard and strong
This is because nothing can replace it 
That the weak overcomes the strong
And the soft overcomes the hard
 Everybody in the world knows
But cannot put into practice”   (Tao Te Ching verse 78)

 

 

  EcArtNow.co.uk - The Collections : EC 145 ‘The Waterfall’

 

Daoist art reflects the broad time span and the diverse regions, constituencies, and practices of its creators. The artists—commissioned professionals, but also leading Daoist masters,

Quote :

”Taoists view the universe as the same as, or inseparable from, themselves so that Lao-tzu could say, “Without leaving my house, I know the whole universe.” This implies that the art of life is more like navigation than warfare, for what is important is to understand the winds, the tides, the currents, the seasons, and the principles of growth and decay, so that one’s actions may use them and not fight them.” ~Alan Watts

 

                           EC 157 ‘The Morning Light’

I find these ideas to be very relevant to my approach toward Art & Paintings.

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