My career as an artist has led me on many unexpected paths, amongst them, the restoration of valuable antique Chinoiserie furniture and works of art. Every day I would draw, apply, carve and gild tiny people who amongst their everyday activities were practising their art of Tai Chi. I portrayed their beautiful flowing movements and purposeful stances with delight and I often thought how wonderful it would be to learn.
So sometime later galvanised by a brief, but fortuitous encounter with a student of Tai Chi, the little knowledge I had already acquired through my work and the fact that Tai Chi followed much of the philosophy that I already possessed in my life, I embarked on a new adventure in Tai Chi Chuan.
I wanted to find a master, a mentor. I was studying classical riding up to that time, at Lord and Lady Loch's wonderful yard, and I desired the inspiration that I had found in my riding teacher, Lord Henry Loch, before he died so prematurely. http://www.sylvialoch.com/
I sought the advice of the Tai Chi Union of Great Britain and the BCCMA, and although not my preferred way of learning, I went to a local class. I liked and was impressed with the senior students and watched Keith perform with fluidity, focus and dynamism. This I thought could be the one I am looking for, how could I have found him so easily.
Despite this I was soon eager to be out of the full-time class situation. I wished for private lessons, a personal and concentrated learning experience to work alongside it.
I have never under estimated work and effort, but when this is borne out of desire to reach a peak level in whatever one pursues, it is achievable and gratifying.
Having taken time out from my classes, for personal reasons at that time, I continued to practise the modest standard of Tai Chi I had reached, every day with my young son. His ability to read, understand, retain information and his inexhaustible enthusiasm enabled us to work together under our own impetus. His interest was such that I took him to Keith, the man I believed to be the Master we sought. He was! This proved to be a rewarding, intense and ongoing experience for my son also.
It was only later that I became aware of the enormous health problems he had overcome (so little does he let them show).
These would have stopped most in their tracks, but despite this, he keeps up his training, pursues his own studies, and luckily for those of us fortunate enough to learn from him, his teaching.
I delight in the weapon forms, in particular the Tai Chi Sword form. This elegant and flowing form heightens my awareness and focus, with the sword ´moving like the calligrapher’s pen`.
My work grows, it opens my mind and inspiration for my painting comes more easily.
Art is an expression of the reaction of the spiritual self, to the encounters of everyday reality and sometimes more. In practicing my Tai Chi I get in touch with these emotions, experiencing them as physical manifestations which interfere with or sometimes improve my form. In seeking balance within I become more aware of my true self and it is this I attempt to express within my art, my teaching and my life.
To discover more about my work as an artist you can visit www.gloriadean.com
©Golden Rooster Media Penela 2008