Today I went to listen to a famous calligrapher, 施子清, who spoke at our Confucius Institute (孔子學院).
Two things that he said stuck in my mind. Firstly, what we see and how we feel get expressed in our calligraphy. He used 王羲之’s 蘭亭集序 as an example, to encourage us to observe nature and cultivate our minds in order to make good calligraphy.
Secondly, he said we should not blindly copy our calligraphy teachers. Instead we should make calligraphy in our own style. This suits me well. Due mainly to laziness, I have never taken lessons in calligraphy.
In secondary school, I had a teacher of Chinese who liked to copy Chinese poems onto the blackboard, and his blackboard writing was very elegant. I tried to copy his writing. I also have a couple of fellow classmates whose handwriting were beautiful. So I borrowed their notes to copy. They were my teachers, unwittingly. I do enjoy watching good calligraphy. Other than that, I have been essentially been on my own. Hence Mr. Sze’s words resonate with me. And I extended his ideas.