Sunday, May 22, 2011

Meditations on a Wave on the Day of the Venice Art Walk: May 22, 2011

by Gregg Chadwick


Gregg Chadwick
Study for Kamakura
14"x11" oil on linen 2011

"The most precious thing in life is its uncertainty."
- Kenko, from Essays in Idleness (Tsurezuregusa), circa 1330


I am always honored to support the Venice Family Clinic with my art. My donation this year reflects my interests in Southern California and Japan with Study for Kamakura. Kamakura is both a beach town and a center of Japanese culture. In my painting, grey beach haze seems to mask the distance between east and west.

Kamakura is home to the great statue of Buddha, the Daibutsu, pictured on countless postcards and books on Japan. Two years ago, I finally made my pilgimage to Kamakura and stood in awe beneath the great statue. A great wave washed away the building housing the Daibutsu in the 15th century. Since that time the statue has been seated in meditation beneath the sun and the stars. After surviving great tsunamis and political upheavals, the Daibutsu provides perspective on humanity's rush for wealth and power. Beneath the ancient bronze statue, I felt the past speaking to me. If we stop and listen, we can hear our long gone friends speaking to us through words, colors, and forms.

The 14th Century Japanese poet and monk, Kenko, wrote, "The pleasantest of all diversions is to sit alone under the lamp, a book spread out before you, and to make friends with people of a distant past you have never known." Lance Morrow's essay in the June 2011 issue of Smithsonian magazine considers Kenko's thoughts. Morrow explains "In a time of traumatic change, some writers or artists or composers may withdraw from the world in order to compose their own universe—Prospero’s island." When artists withdraw into their studios to create, they are not alone. With them, breathing soundless encouragement, are the voices of the past.

Kamakura 36"x48" oil on linen 2010
Gregg Chadwick
Kamakura (Daibutsu)
36"x48" oil on linen 2010
Private Collection, Los Angeles

“Leaving something incomplete makes it interesting and gives one the feeling that there is room for growth.”
- Kenko, from Essays in Idleness (Tsurezuregusa), circa 1330



Portrait of Kenko, Buddhist monk and poet,
by Kikuchi Yosai(菊池容斎)



Details on the Venice Art Walk Below:

Now in its 32nd year, the Venice Art Walk & Auctions has raised millions of dollars for Venice Family Clinic – largely through the Silent Art Auction, which offers great deals on original and limited-edition works by the biggest names in the Southern California art scene.

Hope to see you at Westminster School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, for the Studio Tour, the Silent Art Auction, the Select Auction, the Art Within Reach pop-up store, the Artful Living auction, the Food Fair, live music, and the separately ticketed Art & Architecture Tour of Water and Tree-Lined Streets of Venice. Don’t forget there’s free parking and shuttle service from two nearby lots.

By the way, online sales are now closed, but you can purchase tickets at the event.

Thank you very much for supporting Venice Family Clinic and its mission of providing free, quality health care to people in need. It’s going to be a great day.

Map to the Venice Art Walk:
Venice Art Walk



More at:
The Timeless Wisdom of Kenko
Venice Art Walk 2011



Great Buddha at Kamakura
photo by Gregg Chadwick

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