Last weekend in Seaways Bookshop in Fishguard I found a treasure. It sat on the shelf, cover facing outwards, a beautifully produced book, Sea of Ink, translated by Jamie Bullock, written by Michael Weihe.
” A beautiful novella in 51 short chapters and 11 pictures about the life of Baba Shanren, one of the most influential Chinese painters of all times.”
The book, it suggested, can be read in a couple of hours, like watching a film, but don’t do that. Sometimes just read one of the chapters and then take a while to think, about ink, about brushes, about what makes you paint, or sing or do whatever it is you do.
Looking further into Peirene I find that they are a small publisher who produce only 3 books a year. They have a facebook page, you can subscribe to them ( I suppose in the way people once subscribed to the Puffin club), a brilliant idea. You can also buy subscriptions to a year, or two for a friend. Such a wonderful birthday or Christmas present.
Sea of Ink came into my hands at just the right time. I love the swift making of paintings in ink, the holding in the mind’s eye the image, grinding the ink and sweeping the brush across the page. It is a form of painting that comes closest to meditation I think and this is a book I will return to time and again.
I am often asked how I developed my ‘style’. A curious question as a style to me implies an artifice that is disingenuous. Rather I have a language in which I paint, and subjects I chose to paint and this has developed using time and experience. Michael Weihe explains it far better than I. If you click on the image it will enlarge so that you can read chapter 33. ( Many thanks to my able studio assistants for holding open the page and making sure the grindstone didn’t move.)
So, this is why I love independent bookshops. Because in them you can find treasure that may well change the way you look at the world.
Peirene also do marvelous events. Thank goodness for people with visions of beauty.
To see the beauty of a life spent sailing a sea of ink have a look on google images.