Once I got a bird as a present and learned to communicate with a bird. I had dogs, cats, even babies but never birds before.
Every day I learned something new and surprising. Birds are easy, gentle, brave, delicate, miniature, generous, warm, smart, shy, naive, proud…
So first I started painting myself with my little bird but unexpectedly I found myself soon transformed in a strange way.
I never traveled to the East but probably my bird influenced my painting, when there appeared a Chinese man with a little bird out of the blue.
One day by chance the teacher of Chinese Ilana visited my studio and was very much surprised since she spent a few years in China having no problem to recognize a Buddhist monk talking to a little bird.
“Do you know anything about Zen,” she asked. “Not much,” I said and that was very true. “I will send you a book my teacher Yoel Hoffmann translated,” she said and so she did.
The book was fat and red and was named “The Sound of the One Hand 281 zen koans with
answers” translated from Japanese with commentaries by Yoel Hoffmann.
It is difficult to say what actually happened. But the book, the monk and the bird used me or I used them but we all together gave birth to a whole series of the square miniatures 25×25.
Most usually they came more as a result of meditation than planning. First there always was acolor composition, then a drawing and the book came on the top to give the sparkle.The drawing of the figure had to stand on a piece of Earth, a detail which came from my study of Russian icons. Yes, I could never be a perfect Chinese anyway, I was born in Russia after all.
But I found there is no better way to let a space being the space as to put there a small piece of land for a monk to foot on.
The bird as well had probably more connotations that just a bird, it belongs to space, sky, holy spirit, but to the monk too.
That’s where it all started – the four actors of the four-sided small canvas.