Zen Brush Painting Workshop, One Stroke Makes a Painting

Instructor: Bob Schmitt, teacher of Chinese painting and calligraphy
When: Saturday, March 25, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm (This Date is full!)
or Sunday, March 26, 1 pm – 5:00 pm
Where: Laughing Waters Studio, 3718 Minnehaha Parkway East, Mpls. Mn 55406
Cost: $110 for members and $125 for non-members, all materials included
View Bob's poster for this workshop.

Join us for this one-day Zen brush painting intensive workshop offered to the MZMC community.

  • learn the practice of grinding ink/loading brush
  • practice the immediacy of putting ink to paper
  • explore the honesty of working with these ancient materials
  • discover how much can be revealed in painting a simple circle
  • create an entire season in one brush stroke
  • or even an entire year of seasons in one brush stroke
  • no experience or talent needed
  • laughter and encouragement guaranteed

More about Bob and his realtonship to brush painting:

I have been an artist as long as I can remember. However, my relationship with the bamboo brush began when I was twelve years old. There was an art program on local public (then educational) television teaching basic sumi-e (Asian black ink painting). I would come home after school and sit in front of the TV with my brush, paper and ink. Each day would be a different object to paint: orchid, crab, etc. This is how I became attached to the brush.

For over 50 years, I have been using ink and brush in the manner of Asian sumi-e (black ink) painters, primarily as a self-taught artist. As a graphic designer, I often have used brushwork in logos, design elements, and illustration.

Then in 1995, I had the opportunity to take 2 workshops with 2 Chinese painting masters, Lok Tok (see Lok Tok's work) and Yitong Lok ( see Yitong's work) of Toronto, Canada. This brief encounter turned my artistic world upside down. I received a glimpse of the depth and beauty of Chinese painting. Over the years I continued to study with the Loks during their biennial visits to Minnesota and in short visits to Toronto.

In 1998, I met Hong Zhang, a Chinese painting master who lives here in Minneapolis. I became a private student of Mr. Zhang after taking 2 terms of Chinese calligraphy with him at the University of Minnesota.

For 18 years now under his direction, I continue to pursue a rigorous professional training in Chinese landscape painting and calligraphy. My training with Mr. Zhang challenges and strengthen my skills and understanding of this ancient form of creative expression. The rigor of practice in this tradition has deepened my understanding of the power of these simple materials: ink, brush, and paper.

It is with great pleasure that I present my efforts to capture the spirit of landscapes I know and love—Minnesota landscapes—using ink and brush in the Chinese painting tradition. It is also an honor to be able to add my own poetry to these paintings—continuing the Chinese tradition of blending imagery with words.

I am often asked if I paint these on site, sitting by the falls or the lakes. I do not. They are paintings of the memory. They are not photographic in the sense that you could actually go and find these exact locations as I present them. If I am successful they will touch your memory of a particular place and evoke stronger feelings than if they were mere photographic representations. My goal is to capture the essence of place even if I have only one-stroke in which to catch it.

Our mission is to help people experience a deep and quiet joy – a joy that arises whenever we are fully engaged in the work or play of this moment.