Chinese Watercolours Series, Age 16-18

When I was a teenager and attended Chinese painting lessons, I learned how to make a painting with one beautiful stroke. But  learning to make that one stroke needed a lot of practice.  At one point my teacher, Ming Freedman, had me make at least 150 bird feet until I felt it was right (she still did not agree). It all required  hard labour and single-minded determination. 

When I was learning how to make Chinese watercolours I would spend two hours or more practicing my art every day of the week. Challenging myself to improve. At one point I spent time using ordinary pencils to draw and shade in 50 types of eyes looking in different directions showing different moods and emotions.

Sometimes I entered into a trance as I worked and was not aware of my surroundings as I concentrated on my desire for just the right kind of effect I saw in my mind. I still have to be alert all the time that I do not trip or accidentally drink from my paint brush water as I work.

At other times, I was fed up and felt that I would never be able to make what I wished on any level. That feeling applied not only to my painting but spread to other aspects of my life as well. Nevertheless, I stubbornly and repeatedly kept trying different ways to get the results that I imagined in my mind. That is how I learned many different techniques.