Monthly Archives: June 2016

100 VIEWS OF TAIJI (genesis & fine art print)

My practice of taiji turns into works of art.



   This fine art digital print (giclee, see below) of all 100 oil paintings is now available directly from the artist. Archival ink on archival paper, 18″x 24″.

It is available in three versions, 1. just the print on paper, shipped in a roll, 2. mounted on 1/4 foam, sprayed with an archival grade UV- anti fungal protective coating. and a piece of hardware in the back for easy hanging and 3. mounted in a floating wood frame. This includes the sprayed coat and the wire for hanging. All prints are numbered and signed by the artist and will come with a certificate of authenticity.

                                                       Detail of print in floater frame with signature


The author in front of installation of “100 VIEWS OF TAIJI” Soullenz Gallery, 2005. The ‘100 views’ had been shown first at Soullenz in 2003

“This is what I have been looking for my whole life,” is what I felt when I first experienced taiji in New York City in the spring of 1982. I have studied and practiced taiji since then. My main teachers have been Mantak Chia and T.K. Shieh in New York, and since early 1991 Dong Zeng-Chen and Alex Dong in Hawaii. I have participated in many taiji camps and travelled to China and Hong Kong four times. I teach taiji on Oahu’s Windward Side since 1992 and some of the same students are still with me today.


Some of my students getting ready for a performance at the Puohala Senior Center

Taiji-quan is a martial art that developed about 300 years ago, but has its roots much further back and is based on the Daoist theory of the ever changing dynamic relationship between yin and yang. By now it “has established itself as one of the world’s major sciences of self-cultivation. By fusing movement and metaphysics, it has taken its place alongside India’s yoga and the great systems of meditation which have arisen from time immemorial in all places.”  Douglas Wile

Around 2000  I begun to explore taiji through drawings, woodcuts and oil paintings, trying to capture its energy. Just like my ocean paintings I am lured by the subjects of my passions, taiji, yoga, sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, swimming…, to delve deeper through art.


                                          ‘Self Portrait with Sword’ 72″ x 48″, charcoal on paper, ca 2001/3

                                                  Two taiji sketches, 8  x 10″, pencil, crayon on paper.

“100 VIEWS of TAIJI” , oil on canvas, 8″ x 10.” In the summer of 2003 I painted 100 small canvases from the taiji long form as inspired by the 1 1/2″ x 2 3/2″ big black and white photographs in Tung Chen-Chieh’s Red Book and my own years of practice. Old black and white photos are ever fascinating and besides the dynamic form of my teacher’s grandfather I was also drawn to the aesthetic of the simple studio set up and the shadows on the folds of the curtain. I assume these photos were taken in the late 40’s, but stand to be corrected.

Red Book page

Two pages from the Red Book by Tun Ying Chieh

The premise was, to create one hundred paintings, using oil on canvas and develop as many different approaches as I could muster, trying to express the energy and spirit of taiji. I painted one or more a day and was done by the time school started again in the fall. 98 of them were painted in one setting. Only two of them took some adjustment. #45 did not work so I scraped the paint off and voila, there was a ghost image left. Just perfect, the energy left in the room, once the master had moved on. I added a few broad strokes to # 100 in a second session. Since I painted the poses in the order they appear in the taiji set, the taiji adept can follow the form and you can see how my approach evolved.

ART OF TAIJI.T. flat no txt

Five taiji paintings/100 8″ x 10″ oil on canvas, dieter runge 2003.


                                     “100 VIEWS OF TAIJI” Installation at  Soullenz Gallery 2003

Previously, I had done a series of pastel drawings on taiji in Ron Kowalke‘s drawing class at the University of Hawaii.

                                                              ‘TAIJI’ , 18″ x 24″, pastel on paper

The ” 100 VIEWS OF TAIJI’ were shown in Honolulu’s Chinatown twice, at the Hamilton Library at UH Manoa, and selected pieces were shown in Hong Kong at the Dong Family Taiji gathering in 2007. Now 60 of them are in private collection in Berlin and the rest are in Hong Kong, New York, Montreal, Honolulu, Makawao, Kula and other places. 


Dong Zeng-chen, Janet Jin and the author at Soullenz Gallery, 2005

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                                                    Slideshow of a selection of “100 Views of Taiji.”

Giclée (/ʒiːˈkleɪ/ zhee-KLAY or /dʒiːˈkleɪ/) is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers. The name originally applied to fine art prints created on Iris printers in a process invented in the late 1980s but has since come to mean any inkjet print (Wipikidia).

Taiji-quan literally means “Supreme Ultimate Boxing and is an internal martial art. It is practiced in different forms and uses weapons like staff, sticks and swords or push-hands with a partner. in this video I demonstrate the taiji dao, the broadsword, which represents the yang energy or the tiger.

“The Meaning of the Taiji symbol lies in the mutual production of yin and yang, the complementary exchange of hard and soft, the thousand changes and ten thousand transformations. This is the basis of taiji quan.” Douglas Wile

As Inspiration for the name “One Hundred Views of Taiji” I give credit to the Japanese printmaker Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, and Hokusai’s even more famous series on Mount Fuji.

Sources: T’ai-chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Transmissions, Compiled and translated by Douglas Wile, Sweet Ch’i Press, Brooklyn , New York, 1983

To the different spelling: Taiji Quan = Tai Chi Chuan like Bejing and Peking or Mumbay and Bombay, like  Qi Gong and Chi Kung, like Dong and Tung.

The photos of the Red Book and some English explanations on which the “100 Views” are based.

Lineage: Tung Ying Chieh was one of the main disciples of Yang Chen Fu, the founder of Yang style taiji, Tung Fu Ling was his son and Jasmine Tung his daughter. Dong Zeng Chen and Tung Kai Ying are Tung Fu Ling’s sons. Alex Dong is Dong Zeng Chen’s son and Tung Chen Wei is Tung Kai Ying’s son. Besides having studied with Dong Zeng Chen and Alex Dong, I had also the pleasure to travel or hang out with Tung Kai Ying, Jasmine Tung and Tung Chen Wei in China, Hong Hong and on Oahu. The Tung/Dong family taiji is known for its grace, softness, dynamic power and martial prowess. It is said that you first must develop softness in order to develop power. If you have softness an oponent is not able to touch you.

Thanks to all my teachers and the many teachers before them. Special thanks to William Kelly, my New York friend and film maker, who assembled the 100 images in the grid and first came up with this idea; my deep gratitude to Miles Christsen my friend, drummer and owner of printlogic in Kailua, were this project is being realized.

Tung Ying Chieh

Tung Fu Ling  –  Jasmine Tung

Dong Zeng Chen  –  Tung Kai Ying

Alex Dong    –  Tung Chen Wei

Chip Ellis’ site is a great resource on Dong Taiji

Addition August 2016: A few days ago my taiji friend Sylvain Deschenes from the Montreal Taiji Club send me this photo standing next to the late Jasmine Tung in front of the “100 Views” at my former home on Kailua’s Pu’ukani Pl, taken on March 1st 2005. Jasmine Tung was in Hawaii to do research on a book about her father Tung Ying Chieh. Aunt Jasmine as I called her was a graceful and inspirational and well respected taiji master. She stayed at a b&b next door and I was fortunate to hang out, take walks on the beach and hike with her. I had also travelled with her in China and participated in a Don/Tung family gathering in Hong Hong in 2007. Several of the above paintings ended up in her possession.

w Jasmine

The author with taiji master Jasmine Tung in front of “100 Views of Taiji”, Kailua, March 2005


Taiji symbol on wood, Purple Cloud Temple, Wudang Mountains, 2005


Making Art with Mr. Dieter

Mr D.72dpi

Scratchboard print – unknown artist – the interesting experience of using words in relief printing  is that on the board, the words have to be carved or scratched backwards.

Can art be taught? We can certainly help someone with technique, perspective, materials, focus and more than anything, encouragement to unfurl the artist within. I believe that anyone can be an artist. Unfortunately many of us are told, ” what are you doing? You don’t have any talent, blah blah, woof woof…..” At a young age, we often take these comments for the truth and internalize them. As result, we cut ourselves off from any further development of our creativity. All children love art and the enthusiasm at the kinder-garden or pre-school age is often boundless, then by the fourth to sixth grade a tightening up or disinterest has sadly set in already. Some students though remain connected to their drive to create. These students run with the suggestions given, expand on their own creativity and produce amazing pieces of art. My philosophy is to offer kids, interesting projects, provide them with and help to handle materials, point out a few things and otherwise stay out of the way of their imagination. If they didn’t dig deep enough I try to encourage them to go further and if they are ready, I  nudge them towards developing a critical eye for their surroundings and their own work.

Three Mountains

K-1st Gr

There are several levels of trust that help in the approach to making art. The relationship between student and teacher and the trust within ourselves that we can create. Some kids are confident in their abilities while others can be greatly helped by the teacher’s attention, kindness and encouragement. Teaching kids for a year has shown me how the trust the student develops in the teacher builds confidence in the young artist. Taking away the fear of failure, learning that not every project has to be great and that even mistakes can lead to new turns and discoveries are other elements that I emphasize in the art making process.


Save the Rays – poster contest – Henry 5th Gr

When I first started teaching at the elementary school, I used some exercises that are commonly taught in the college level, like color wheel, color bars, gradation, color theory and mixing. I adjusted it to the different grade levels. Generally the students took to it very well. I kept referring to it throughout the year, reinforcing what they learned. Kids often like to do simple things, especially when it leads to new discoveries. I also noticed that the tendency to rely on the computer versus their own imagination increases which each grade. Of course the computer had a valid and useful place in art making, but in 6th grade the answer to the question as how to learn to draw a tree was: “On the internet.” I kept encouraging the students to look outside to see if trees were really drawn with a straight edge. I did take the students onto the field to look at and draw trees and mountains. This activity can be increased.

color bar. Lena B.72dpi

Color bar practice. Lena Baker 3rd Gr


Elsa print.72dpi

Scratchboard print on paper, Elsa Vasquez 4th Gr. I was especially impressed by this print, since the scratchboard does not lend itself to fine lines.

All kids were excited by the technique of printmaking and some of the work blew my mind. Scratchboards is great for this purpose. No knifes involved.

prints gr1

1st Gr print making

During grades K-2, most kids relish to make art, then with every grade the enthusiasm wanes for some kids. By 5th and 6th grade the fear of experimentation and failure has settled in and this is sad. By the 5th grade some attitudes have hardened so much that the student has partially shut down to new experiences. This is sad, but with individual attention, a sensitive approach, a surprise turn,  some of these students can be reached, and can open up again.


Poster for the Sight is Beautiful poster contest. Malia Abreux, Gr 4

During the year I taught at the Elementary School level we participated in three poster contests, two local, and one national. I am proud to say the we cleaned up in one of the local contests and and won 14 awards during the “Save the Rays” national contest. Of course art isn’t really a contest, but kids also do like to compete (not all) and an art contest can energize them tremendously. Here is a link to the Ka’elepulu Elementary School website art page, which has several slides shows of some great art work.

Ka’elepulu Elementary School Art Class Site

Many students of course, thrive in the arts and it is a pleasure for the teacher to introduce new views or techniques and see the student reach for new heights.


Save the Rays – poster contest – Malia Mierzwa Gr 4

My teaching experiences range from teaching senior citizens,  guest teaching printmaking at Horace Mann School in NYC, the AHAA School For The Arts in Telluride CO and other workshops. I co-taught a 300 level course at the University of Hawaii Manoa Psychology Department called Art and Consciousness. Friend’s kids of all ages visiting my studio are happy to be provided with crayons, pencil, paint and paper and let their imagination fly. Several teenagers and young adults have stayed at my house/studio working along with me or on their own, drawing, painting or printmaking. As a former president and current board member of the Honolulu Printmakers I have participated in many outreach activities involving kids. The year of teaching at the Elementary School level has deepened my knowledge of how kids make art, what they can’t and what they can do.


Collage – Henry 5th Gr

Every student of art loves to learn about other artists and even some history or big moments in art. Some of my students loved DADA.  Was it the wildness, or just the word?

And…… just in case you didn’t know, even if you’re bad at art, making art can reduce stress.

“Embrace mistakes” is something I tell the students. You never know where it might lead you.

Dieter has BA’s in PSY and ART and an MFA in painting.

Shit is

Wisdom of a 1st grader

If due credit is not given on some of the pieces, let me know and I’ll change it. If you think that you daughter’s or son’s art should not be presented here, let me know and I’ll take it off.


Even If You’re Bad at It, Making Art Can Reduce Stress


……and never forget:

Water is God.fin

more elementary school wisdom