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Thread: Tao Te Ching illustrations

  1. #1
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    Tao Te Ching illustrations

    I am creating (maybe) several illustrations for Ursula LeGuin's rendition of the 'Tao Te Ching.'

    The difficulty is that the text is deliberately ambiguous and illustrations could easily sink the power of the words, I think.

    I will be very grateful for any comments on the image here (for Chapter 75) and on the project in general. This is very much a WIP.

    Thanks, Brett

    The text of Chapter 75 reads:

    People are starving.
    The rich gobble taxes
    that's why people are starving.

    People rebel.
    The rich oppress them
    That's why people rebel.

    People hold life cheap.
    The rich make it too costly
    that's why people hold it cheap.

    But those who don't live for the sake of living
    are worth more than the wealth seekers.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    Very symbolic image derived from the words of the poem.

    At the moment you've introduced colour onto the dove's beak, was wondering if you intend to introduce more colour to the focal area of the image and the poem that centres around the ordinary people while leaving the gun/hawk area in greyscale ?
    "I paint because I love to cut mats" (Arthur Alexander)

  3. #3
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    Hi Juz

    Thanks for the comments. I very much appreciate it.

    Good point about the colour inside the circle. Answer I don't know! I am just letting this one soak. I need to find a style for the illustrations. This is one of them. I am quite unsure about it. So I wait and wonder and work at other things :-)

    I am worried about the "symbolism" as I think it's might get too "preachy". I am working on some much more abstract illustrations. We'll see.

    Actually the bird is a black hawk, but the idea of making it a hawk outside the circle and a dove inside is great. I'll steal that if I may!

    In peace

    Brett

  4. #4
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    This is the first one I tried using watercolor and chalk and some texture stickers.
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    Last edited by screenpainter; 08-08-2011 at 08:50 AM.

  5. #5
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    @Brett, that's fantastic... my misinterpretation has lead to your inspiration, I'd be delighted for you to use that idea.

    Was looking at the piece again and find my eye was really drawn to the garden hoe where you've varied the line weight. You could consider Line Weight as a direction for exploration as well.
    The great thing about digital is the ability to just play around and save it off as a copy. This is what I do when I'm not sure which direction to go as I often find a direction through sandbox play that I might never have thought of otherwise.

    @ScreenPainter, wonderful, so stunning in its simplicity, would make a great community Art Projects thread
    Last edited by Juz; 08-08-2011 at 05:19 PM.
    "I paint because I love to cut mats" (Arthur Alexander)

  6. #6
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    Thanks Juz, I'll work on the dove, although I think I may have decided to go in a different direction!

    I like what you did ScreenPainter. It's interesting how well abstracts work with the text. Which translation of the Tao is that?

    Brett

  7. #7
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    Thanks. I am glad you liked that idea.

    Brett, I just found one off the internet. Is it a bad translation? sorry if it is. I found it here.

    http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/co.../taote-v3.html

    I am glad you liked the pic though. The green water color stroke was my impression of being supple as a newborn child. -Albert

  8. #8
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    The Tao is difficult. It's in ancient Chinese and very difficult to interpret and understand and I am not a Chinese scholar and in no position to judge what is a good or bad translation. I think people find translations of it that suit them. It has been said there are more translators of the Tao Te Ching than there are readers of it :-)

    It is, I think, an extraordinary book and it has kept me company for many years.

    In peace

    Brett
    Last edited by hypotaxis; 08-09-2011 at 10:41 AM.

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