This is what I was doing at 4am today ... practicing Japanese Calligraphy. Why? Well, the short answer is, "Because I'm a procrastinator." The long answer also includes procrastination, but it's really because I wasn't very confident that I could do this.
I'm in the Japanese Calligraphy group of my women's club and I'm the least experienced one in the group. I was still practicing dots, dashes, and lines until a couple of months ago. But we were given the opportunity to exhibit a piece at the May luncheon (usually, the group exhibits at the Japanese Ambassador's residence at our March Tea!) and I thought that having a deadline would motivate me to progress a bit.
So I practiced and practiced, and practiced some more:
I finally felt like I was getting the hang of it, so I pulled out the shikishi (色紙), the special square board that we were supposed to write our completed work on. Turns out, the paper texture is much smoother and slippery-er than my practice paper, so my final product wasn't as good as I had hoped. I still gave myself a pat on the back for getting it done.
[numerous practice sheets on the left, the teacher's sample on the top right, and my final piece on the bottom right]
Of course, when my piece was displayed next to everyone else's, it looked pretty amateurish, but that can't be helped. I am an amateur!
This opportunity gave me the confidence to continue with calligraphy after the summer. For awhile, I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep trying, but I see that I have potential (as long as I practice), and it's a wonderful way to forget about everything else for awhile and concentrate on creating something.
Speaking of creating ... here are a few bonus pics of me attempting to draw with a calligraphy brush with the extra ink in the suzuri (ink stone -- 硯 ). It's really quite difficult, and I admire artists all the more (especially one of my favorite illustrators, Chris Riddell, who does a lot of work with black ink and a thin paintbrush).