Li Na, China

On Painting Li Na:

Some comments below taken from Debra Di Blasi’s emails to me:

“It’s a bit socialist-art style, which I kind of like. (We have quite a bit of Vietnam and China socialist-style posters, prints and statues, so it was not a big leap.)”

“The paper, by the way, is unbleached mulberry, which I love. Slightly thicker and tougher than Yuanshu bamboo paper, with wood particles visible.”

“The ‘chops’ (carved jade stamps with Xiling Red Seal Ink Paste] are: (smaller) “debra di blasi” carved vertically, and (larger) a phonetic translation of “debra di blasi” into Chinese characters, which was a gift from my husband purchased during one of his trips to China.  I had a Hong Kong chop-maker create the small one for me when we lived there.”

“I slept on the request for relevant text and here’s what I dreamed: ‘Amid the thick bamboo hides a butterfly with strong wings.’ I’m going with my subconscious.”  Debra and I both thought these words might be a good title for the work.

About the Artist: Known for her innovative prose, Debra Di Blasi has received numerous awards and is the author of eight books. Her most recent work, Selling the Farm, just won the 2019 Nonfiction Award (C&R Press) and will be published in September, 2020. In the world of the visual arts, Debra Di Blasi took a BFA in painting and later worked as art critic and contributing writer for The Pitch, SOMA San Francisco arts magazine, and The New Art Examiner. Her visual and multimedia art has been exhibited at museums and galleries in the U.S. and online. Nostos Journal of Poetry, Fiction and Art published a portfolio of her Chinese brush painting in Volume III 2019, including cover art. You can learn more about Debra Di Blasi and her wide-ranging work on her website.

The image and text above were first published together for the National Senior Men’s Tennis Association. The prose alone was first published in Another Chicago Review.

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