+ MOUNTAIN LAKE WORKSHOP
by RAY KASS
Michael Hofmann is an artist and teacher who paints in the manner of traditional ink and brush painting that has its origins in China. A San Francisco native, he lived in Kyoto, Japan, where he apprenticed for thirty-three years with the eminent sumi-e artist and Zen master Gyokusei Jikihara (1904–2005), regarded as one of the country’s foremost Nanga painters.1
Mr. Hofmann’s work draws inspiration from nature and Eastern philosophy, and displays warmth and vitality of spirit. In 1997 and 2000, he assisted us in Ki no Ichiku, our arts and crafts projects in Japan, and we invited him to come to Virginia in 1998 to lead a special Mountain Lake Workshop in sumi-e (ink) single brush Nanga painting.2
(This was not Hofmann’s only visit to Mountain Lake; also in the summer of 1998 he was guest director for Jiro Okura’s first “Souls on Garbage” workshop when a schedule conflict prevented Jiro from attending.) He provided an introduction to the Nanga painting tradition and materials and a lesson in bamboo painting. As a principal workshop contribution he gave a talk about the meaning of the dragon in traditional Asian culture, following it by painting Under Mountain Lake Dragon on four fusuma-size panels. The painting is today in the permanent collection of the Taubman Museum of Art.