I read about the Ten Ox Herding pictures back in November and was drawn into the series. Even before I had read all of it, I knew I was hooked. Initial searches kept pointing me back to the archaic depictions that give this involved topic a rather simplistic, even childish look. After a lot of searching for a contemporary illustration of the series, I finally came across Terrance Keenan’s work and oh gosh! how beautiful it is. http://terrancekeenan.com/home.html
He has two books with his artwork and poems for the series. The colors, symbols and movement he uses truly do justice to the ox herding philosophy.
I was so excited to find his website that I wrote him an email expressing how pumped I was to find it and how much I admired his work. I really didn’t think he was even going to read my email. Worse yet, it would end up in his spam folder! After all, an artist, poet, monk like him has purpose-of-life type of questions he’s solving for the world. But, wait, he replied!! He was so surprised that I had found his work and equally thrilled that I admired it and wrote to him. I could see his smile come across in his words. (Trust a poet to do that with such ease!) He even took the time to look at my website and loved my paintings. I was so humbled and overwhelmed with this gesture! Now we both wanted to buy each other’s artwork, but we didn’t want to taint this beautiful connection we shared and still do, by involving money. So, of course, we are doing a trade. He sent me his books filled with pictures and poems that are so calming and energizing at the same time and I sent him a few of my painting prints. Most importantly, we exchanged hand-written letters. He writes the best cursive, I tell you!
My mind is blowing here! My eyes are just opening to the concept of combining art with my quest, restlessness, being, journey, answers, questions, all of it and see where it leads! Who would think that an artistic, enlightened monk living in rural Ireland and this artistic, engineer mom living in a hip US city could share such a heartfelt connection!
In Terry’s words, “Joy is the great revolution. Reality is the last nostalgia. No blame. Be kind. Love everything.”
You can see Terry’s work on his website. http://terrancekeenan.com/home.html
Maybe even write him! He will be so thrilled!