My Art Gallery: Being In Harmony with the Tao
By: Jenny Peng
*Painting by Clark Peng, he was my first art teacher.
He also happens to be my older brother, one of two.
In the most profound and translated text ever written, 老 (Lao) 子 (Tzu), or Old Man warned us two thousand years ago on the virtues of living in balance and the consequences of living unbalanced.
In harmony with the Tao,
the sky is clear and spacious,
the earth is solid and full,
all creature flourish together,
content with the way they are,
endlessly repeating themselves,
When man interferes with the Tao,
the sky becomes filthy,
the earth becomes depleted,
the equilibrium crumbles,
creatures become extinct .
To be able to record words that that still ring true to this day must have meant he saw with alarm to what was happening around him as behaviour that went against the Tao, which he equates with the universe. Lao Tzu wasn’t keen on expressing his opinions to improve his status or sought to leave a legacy. In fact, legend has it he was at a check point when a guard urged the old man to write down his wise words upon letting him through.
Since then, the world has gone through many changes but his words along with other important teachings such as the Bible, the Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita have withstood the test of time. It contains a deep core of truth. Yet, paradoxically it is now more than ever that we need to embrace these ancient wisdoms and perhaps regain the same clarity of perception with which Lao Tzu observed his fellow brothers and sisters.
For the world to be in harmony, the step begins in each one of us. And that begins with simple appreciation. The following illustrations are created by me. I use acrylics in a simple palette of five colours: black, red, yellow, blue, and white. I draw inspiration from
what I see around me.
* The painting on the right was inspired by a powerful image that came to me in a dream in which I was sitting in a grassy field, in awe of these green giants.
From my commute to campus, the view outside my bedroom window, and even a stroll through the west coast woods on the far western tip of Vancouver in which I am marveling at an eagle perched like a dignified general on the highest branch of a Douglas Fir. I hope in sharing these works of art, it will inspire you to notice the small, the seemingly ordinary, but extraordinary natural world that we are blessed to be surrounded by in this part of the world.
* My interpretation of a memorable tree that stands on the grounds of UBC campus. Walking underneath it is very…thrilling.
*Inspired by the view outside by bedroom window, at sunset.
* Perched like a dignified army general, the west coast of Vancouver is home to many eagles that love to inspect the waters.
* Some earlier pieces. The one on the right is my rendition of a teapot turned chicken.
* Published artwork in Inscape literary magazine. Animals and plants appear continuously as subjects of my pieces.
* Straight out of my journals. Again, nature is continuous throughout my pieces and probably resembles a deep affinity with It.
* Many of you must also have your own collection of paintings and photographs inspired by nature. We would love for you to share them with us at STV. Simply create an account and upload!
* A glass jar and a grape. I’ve learned that trying to depict glass in a painting is more difficult than it seems.
* Believe it or not, the women in the right were under water when their photo was taken and published in National Geographic.