Keeping the link between ink, nature and poetry alive.

In between lotus painting sessions I painted a postcard view from another well-known Zurich garden – the Rietberg Park.

Ink painting depicting a monochrome neoclassical staircase view with blooming hydrangea and plants in watercolour in the foreground
Rietberg Garden on a summer day, ink and watercolour on Gasenshi, 2023

The pretext for this outing was the villa-sized delight exhibition „Lyric in Ink Lines – Painting and Poetry in the Arts of China“. Not that one needs a particular pretext to visit. I’ve had many a pleasant Sundays simply walking the park.

My art also touches on this connection between nature, poetry and literature. I’ve painted and written a whole volume in this spirit – “Autumn in Japan”. However, my personal ink practice is more firmly rooted and influenced through the later Japanese tradition. I am familiar with Japanese poetry and literature (through English or French translations), and although I am aware of the Chinese roots, I have yet to read any of the original lyric. The exhibition was a wonderful learning opportunity. To admire not only the “sketchbook”-like paintings with wonderful landscape atmospheres, but mainly to read the accompanying texts and poetry. A wonderful audio rendition of the “Ode to the Red Cliff”, for example, is available in multiple languages.

When exiting the Villa, the garden behind had a wonderfully quiet view. All the visitors exited towards the main park entrance and this corner was empty. The neoclassic staircase framed by three different varieties of blooming pink hydrangea and only the sound of buzzing bees was inspiration enough for my brush pens.

I got a little carried away with all the green foliage. Still, I think I succeeded in capturing that lush feeling of a summer day in the postcard. What do you think?

The museum is currently running a small “inspired” challenge for the exhibition, and the poetry quote below, selected by the curator to match my image made me smile.

Whether I purposefully choose the places of tranquility or they choose me, wherein lies the truth? Until next week, in this calm corner of the internet.


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