Tag Archives: Listening

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

The 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.

Chinese Listening

Acrylic paint and a stiff brush may not be the best tools to use – but if I’ve got this even vaguely close to the mark, this set of characters represents ears, eyes, undivided attention, and heart. Meg described it to me as paying respectful attention. This feels like a lovely, useful way to capture the essence of good listening so I thought I’d pass it on.

I had another go at the drawing this morning, this time using ink.

Chinese Listening 2

Thank you Meg, and everyone else who offered suggestions.