It would have appealed to the youthful artist experiencing his first encounters with the Tao and Zen that the unpremeditated paint stroke (the basic unit of tachisme) or the gestural mark or incision could be thought of as having something of the truthful spontaneity inscribed in the calligraphic or expressive stroke of Japanese and Chinese ink-brush painting. Zen painting was in itself conceived as a work of nature mediated through the artist whose patient preparation was simply that of awareness and readiness. 'The constructive powers of the human mind', wrote Alan Watts, the most widely read western advocate of Zen, 'are no more artificial than the formative processes of plants or bees, so that from the standpoint of Zen it is no contradiction to say that artistic technique is discipline in spontaneity and spontaneity in discipline. [...] when you paint it is the brush, ink, and paper which determine the result as much as your own hand.'
fig. 1 monochrome painting
[Photo Bruno Schneyer, Zeil am Main]