Entries by David Lewis (179)


The Six Laws and how to Read Them - James Cahill

One of the most famous writings on art is by Xie He, "Six principles of Chinese painting", translated by James Cahill, the well-known art history professor at the University of California in Berkeley.

“Xie He (); was a Chinese writerart historian and critic of the Liu Song and Southern Qi dynasties who wrote the "Six principles of Chinese painting" (繪畫六法, Huìhuà Liùfǎ) in the preface to his book The Record of the Classification of Old Painters (古畫品錄, Gǔhuà Pǐnlù) written circa 550.

The six elements that define a painting are:


1. "Spirit Resonance," or vitality, and seems to translate to the nervous energy transmitted from the artist into the work. The overall energy of a work of art. Xie He said that without Spirit Resonance, there was no need to look further.
2. "Bone Method," or the way of using the brush. This refers not only to texture and brush stroke, but to the close link between handwriting and personality. In his day, the art of calligraphy was inseparable from painting.
3. "Correspondence to the Object," or the depicting of form, which would include shape and line.
4. "Suitability to Type," or the application of color, including layers, value and tone.
5. "Division and Planning," or placing and arrangement, corresponding to composition, space and depth.
6. "Transmission by Copying," or the copying of models, not only from life but also the works of antiquity.




Weaving math into Navajo education.

Making connections: Navajo Math Circles follows Navajo students in a lively collaboration with mathematicians. The project began out of an appreciation for patterns weaved into Navajo rug designs.


Message To Investors: Paying for Mistakes



It used to be that humans were creative as a matter of survival. One had to figure out when to plant corn, how to build aqueducts, and what kind of animals could be domesticated. As an example, in Mongolia, they have to bring the foal to the mother in order for her to produce milk. The mare's milk is then used to produce Airag - айраг, fermented mare's milk. How creative is that? One can get drunk off of old horse milk - genius. This kind of creative wisdom was lost with the age of industry and technology. Now we just get some meringue milk for our soy latte at Starbucks. All the more reason to promote the arts in our education. Art teaches the skills for creativity that technology has replaced - because technology cannot survive without creatively-thinking people.


Escape and The Cage of Independence

…the act of disobedience [eating from the forbidden tree of knowledge] as an act of freedom is the beginning of reason…the original harmony between man and nature is broken…Man has become separate from nature, he has taken the first step toward becoming human by becoming an ‘individual’…He has committed the first act of freedom.  The myth emphasizes the suffering resulting from this act.  To transcend nature, to be alienated from nature and from another human being, finds man naked, ashamed. He is alone and free, yet powerless and afraid.  The newly won freedom appears as a curse; he is free from the sweet bondage of paradise, but he is not free to govern himself, to realize his individuality.  - Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom, Chapter 2