Friday, April 17, 2009

etegami and the 5 senses (hear)

Recently, I was flipping through one of my growing collection of etegami books and my eye caught the phrase "drawing etegami with each of your five senses." I may have been doing this all along, but doing it consciously and doing it unconsciously are two different things. It's probably a concept one learns in Art 101, but I am not an Artist with a capital A, and I guess I never did take that class. What little I know about etegami is like the treasures and tools a character in a role-playing video game wins, or stumbles across, during his heroic adventures. I looked through the etegami I've done up till now and picked out a few that attempt to communicate a particular sensory perception. The one posted here is of a shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute). The shakuhachi is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, made from a whole segment of bamboo, and this particular one incorporates the actual root end of the bamboo plant at the wide end (opposite the end you blow into), giving it even more character than usual. I've taken shakuhachi lessons. It's a notoriously difficult instrument to master. The sound it produces is like the wind-- like the real wind blowing through real forests and real canyons. And like the wind, it whispers, sighs, moans, howls, screeches, and croons. Sometimes rich, deep, and melodic. Sometimes weak and ephemeral. The drawing-- and the words-- will surely convey this aural sensation to those who are even slightly familiar with the references. For those who are unfamiliar with either, it may be more of a struggle.

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