I have loved Chinese art, since I went to an exhibition in Glasgow many years ago. Today, with a friend I  went to the latest exhbition at the V&A in London, which was titled Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700-1900", which reminded me all over again how wonderful this art is.   I will have to go back again, to see the "Digital Dragons", where you can apparently zoom and swoop through the landscape of the paintings....

Anyway, I got into tai chi through failing to get onto any Chinese painting course many years ago (they all seemed permanently full, term after term) and being determined to do something of a Chinese nature.... Doing tai chi led me into reading more about Chinese culture, travelogues, and back to art books. Then about a year ago, I started going to a freestyle art group, where everyone does whatever kind of art they fancy, so finally I started trying to paint in the Chinese style. After a while,  I  discovered Persian painting and have really got into that. However, seeing this new exhibition today, made me think how I could use the techniques and brilliant colours from Persian painting in Chinese style painting, so both would complement each other.

Now, since this is a tai chi blog, some tai chi:  Tai chi has really taught me how to focus my attention in the moment and painting does exactly the same thing, focusing me. One does it through  breathing and movement and the other does it through the  process of painstaking detailed working on the different details of the artwork. Focusing in the moment, in the process of doing what you're doing, is the key to improving at both tai chi and art. I have found that if I am concerned about reaching some kind of goal (finishing a painting, learning to a deadline), then my practise and art both suffer. But if  I focus on doing what I'm doing in the moment and nothing beyond that, then painting and practise both improve.

Tai chi helps teach you how to focus on what you're doing, so you get that "in  the zone" feeling as a regular part of your life, not just as an odd occurrence now and then - well, that's my experience... I have felt so much more "in the  zone" with focusing on the here and now. You hear a lot about "living in  the moment" and what it means is focusing your whole attention on what you're doing in a systematic way.  Tai chi will teach you that system as part and parcel of your tai chi learning - just persevere and it will happen!