The Chinese Art of Listening

I’m in the middle of preparing some illustrations for a client, one of which needs to represent good service. I got stuck for ideas, so I asked Twitter for some visual cues to help describe what good service looks like. Among the replies, Meg Peppin suggested that because good service comes from paying attention, I should explore the Chinese symbols for listening. My curiosity aroused, off I went – and here is my attempt at representing what I found.

The Chinese Art of Listening

Ears are represented in the top left, eyes in the top right. In the bottom right we have the heart, separated from eyes by a line representing focus, and in the bottom left we have the mind. Together they stand for wholehearted listening, paying full attention. I struggled making this with acrylic paint and a stuff brush so I had another go with a bottle of black ink.

The Chinese Art of Listening

The shapes flowed better this time though I was still using the same stiff brush. Lastly, I returned to some acrylic paint and had a go at abstracting the characters representing focus and heart. This time I made a thick mix of paint and tried to create some depth in the shapes I painted. You may be able to see this effect better in the close up picture.

Focus and Heart

Focus and Heart - Close Up

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

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