Catherine Lecce-Chong

Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

Lighting

Twilight

Medium

Photo with Digital Painting

Representation

Asian Art Supplies

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Artwork

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4 Thoughts Changing the Mind
Heartbeat
Hugging My Mountain
Psalm 100. Shout with Joy
From Heaven Descends Blessing
Awareness
Mu of Emptiness
Origin
Psalm 23
Not One, One Dharma
Trust as it is
Pure Heart
The Feminine
Rumi and the Rose
Melt

Artist’s Statement

Zen Calligraphy, Mark Making, and Writing

…have always been a part of my life in much of my art. My mother says that I was trying to copy books before kindergarten.

The multilingual experience of words and communication from different cultures are precious to me and the world. Maybe that is why I use color symbolically and emotionally to express the treasure of calligraphy and mark making.

So you will see a range of different ways I have used the written word. Often I photograph my work with objects integrated over the surface. Sometimes I play with digital painting after creating the artwork.

If you want a deeper dive into this part of my life that continues even today, take a look at my Instagram.

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

The 4 thoughts that change the mind

Written in one-inch size Chinese characters and small English handwriting. The colors used are of the rainbow with red…

…characters at the top, then each line progressing through orange, yellow, green and blue at the bottom. There are small, randomly scattered rhinestones. Why so fancy? Many Tibetan use these meditations daily.
1 – is the difficulty to obtain the freedom and chances of our human incarnation.
2 – is the impermanence of life.
3 – is the defects of our attachments to this uncertain and suffering world.
4 – is the cause and effects of our actions and how we get stuck repeatedly in bad habits. Karma.

4 Thoughts Changing the Mind

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

Heart Beat

I was fortunate to be a weaver for 12 years. When my Navaho teacher, Belle, died tragically, I had to comfort myself with painting.

This multi-media 22″ x 30” painting looks like a weaving with one-inch horizontal stripes.

The stripes alternate with cream-colored stripes with grey stripes. The center of the painting has a 2” x 2” black cross, surrounded by tan, turquoise, and rusty-colored cubes. On the right and left sides, and the top and bottom, at the margins of the paper are the same cross design but are only half of the center design.
There are two vertical columns cut out between the center cross design and the half designs on right and left side. These vertical columns twist and curve downward. The cutouts are filled with curved horizontals of tan and dark red. It’s as if a small part of a body is being revealed under the weaving.

There is white writing on the dark stripes at the top. It reads: “Know the song. You sang a song to explain everything. People did not talk so much. When you sang a song, you put all the power of your heart into it and it was a holy thing.”
Source: The Pollen Path

In gold ink:
“When we beat the weft into position, we can hear the heartbeat of the Navaho nation.“ Belle Rosing

White writing with dark outlines on light bottom stripes:
“But today not very many weavers know the song.”
Source: unknown

Belle, my son and I remember your heartbeat and honor the ancestors of the land.

Heartbeat

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

Hugging My Mountain

The mountain character has a triangular shape made by strong tall vertical strokes like the spine of the mountain. We are reminded to sit tall and straight.
And the base line is a strong horizontal with bold accents on the ends. It gives a feeling of strength and balance.

When you sit to meditate, feel your dignity like a mountain.

20″ x 24” black and silver ink on Asian paper. This photograph of the calligraphy also includes a thick dark piece of bamboo next to the character.

Hugging My Mountain

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

Psalm 100. Shout with Joy.

Multi-colored one-inch size Chinese calligraphy on white paper, with English translations in middle of page. Multi-colored geometric stamps round and square randomly placed. Photographed with a strand of colorful, felt beads in random curves. Impression of joy and play.

Psalm 100. Shout with Joy

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

From Heaven descends blessings

10″ x 12” gold and black ink on Asian paper, four characters for good fortune. Solid, blue circle seal on lower right corner.

From Heaven Descends Blessing

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

Awareness

12″ x 20” – Two bold strokes with a bamboo brush making fast and sketchy shapes in gold-black ink on paper. Photographed with crystal and rocks on it. At bottom right, there is my stone seal carved with a rabbit, my Asian Zodiac sign. To the right side of painting, you can see small circular dishes with ink.

Awareness

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

Mu of Emptiness

12″ x 20″ Large, gold-black ink character. It reminds me not to be attached to the uncertainty of life and all phenomenon.
I included a circular brooch from my late mother-in-law.

The bottom has my Chinese art name meaning “victorious west”. The name from my father in law.
There is large blue seal which I associate with space.

As a contemplation, I practice this character the most.

Mu of Emptiness

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

Origin

10″ x 12” – Red ink Japanese Character and English. Inspired by my teacher, Gyousyou Suzuki. Japanese on left, and English written vertically on right. Literally two characters mean “remember heart.” That is our origin. In the photograph, there is a river stone and a slice of sunlight over the character for heart.

Origin

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

Psalm 23

10″ x 12” Sketchbook. Practicing Chinese calligraphy in Italian cafe.

Black ink Chinese characters, less than one inch. Left side has large red heart with a small red cross and a yellow square POST-IT that says, “Good Shepherd for Uncle Peter.” Digital painted background, gold and light violet. The characters have light violet shadows.

Psalm 23

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

Not One, One Dharma

20″ x 24” Black ink Shodo on paper. The character has a large circle in the middle. Digital, orange background and block letters saying, “Not One.” Photographed with scattered crystals and sequins.

Not One, One Dharma

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

Trust it as it is

20″ x 24” Black ink Shodo (mystical calligraphy) on tan paper. Cursive calligraphy for the word “is.”

Trust as it is

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

Pure Heart

20″ x 24” Two large, Shodo characters written in horizontal row. Silver-black ink on dark-grey ink background.

Pure Heart

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

The Feminine

20″ x 22” Two black ink thick lines come into the paper from the top, meeting at the bottom, to form a triangle. Red ink swirl inside the triangle and slightly splatters outside. Signature: Victorious West in lower left corner.

Photographed with small square dish with black in it.

The Feminine

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

Rumi and the Rose

20″ x 22” Heavy, black, ink lines and large, circular, red ink splatter over them.

Rumi quote: “The patience of the rose close to a thorn, keeps it fragrant.”

Photographed with clear, plastic push pins scattered over the image.

Rumi and the Rose

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Zen Calligraphy and Mark Making Series

Melt

Black ink flower petals fall down into an icy blue waterfall in a pond.

Rumi quote, “Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself.”

Melt

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Artist

Catherine Lecce-Chong

In the blink of an eye, in 2018, my life and art changed; I lost much of my vision. Decades of classical western painting or traditional Asian painting and calligraphy, would fade away…  But not the passion or the essential drive to create.

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