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Painting Chinese: A Lifelong Teacher Gains the Wisdom of Youth
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Painting Chinese: A Lifelong Teacher Gains the Wisdom of Youth

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  68 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
As Herbert Kohl approached seventy, he realized the image he had of himself (energetic man in midlife) was not in keeping with how he was viewed by others (wise grandfather figure). To counter the realization that he was growing old, Kohl, a staunch believer in lifelong learning, set out to try something new. While on a walk, he happened upon a painting studio and on a lar ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published August 21st 2007 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 112)
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Ann Fisher
Oct 26, 2013 Ann Fisher rated it it was amazing
What a marvelous, informative, life-affirming book! Kohl, who has educated thousands of students and future teachers over the years, and whose progressive philosophy has lead him to embrace openness and creativity in the classroom, signs up for a beginners' class in Chinese painting, where his classmates are kindergarteners, the curriculum is based strictly on copying of others' pictures, silence is required, and positive reinforcement is rare. He thrives, eventually becoming an excellent painte ...more
Jun 03, 2013 Kerfe rated it really liked it
"Who can tell the end of the endless changes of things?" --Li Po

Herbert Kohl, activist and educator, approaches old age with trepidation. He knows it will involve change, but he is both reluctant and afraid.

In choosing to become "as a child" and learn something both unfamiliar and demanding as he approaches 70, Kohl finds a guide and an anchor for all the other changes in his life. He is learning Chinese painting, but also a different approach to living. He paints; he reads Chinese literature, p
Sep 04, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
This quiet book approaches the topic of aging and the wisdom that can be gained from those around us in a gently insistent fashion. Noted educator Herbert Kohl was approaching a crossroads in his life. Unhappy with how a university education program he had created was being dismantled, Kohl happened to be walking through a San Francisco neighborhood when he stumbled upon an ad for a Chinese landscape painting class. It turned out to be exactly what he needed since he ended up painting alongside ...more
Laurie owyang
Feb 17, 2012 Laurie owyang rated it really liked it
Becoming a student in his 'old' age (approaching seventy), and attempting to learn a new skill (Chinese painting in this particular case) helps the author accept and even embrace the aging process. Who knew that sitting in class with five year olds could lead to this? It's a fascinating and humbling journey as he wrestles with his anxieties about aging, mourns the loss of his accomplished career, and acknowledges his arrogance and need for public attention. A book well worth your time and attent ...more
Aug 01, 2008 Judy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: adults (any age) struggling with change
Recommended to Judy by: Emily
This little book is a journey. Through his study of Chinese landscape painting, Kohl address the conflicts and insights that accompany change. In his case, aging and retirement are prominent, but his ongoing attempts to integrate Taoism, painting and poetry with his Western critical/competetive thinking spoke to me.

Note: loaned to Mary
Judy Iliff
May 10, 2009 Judy Iliff rated it it was amazing
I love this book! What do you do when you discover your position is being eliminated. You learn to center yourself. In the process you learn about yourself. I believe every teacher should read this book. We, as educators, are too focused on originality and don't give enough credit to the masters who should be emulated.
Oct 08, 2013 Annm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author of the book uses Chinese painting to help him through some transitions in life. While i am ot yet near retirement age, as he is in the book, I am old enough to think about that. I am also considering doing something wlse with mylife than ai am curently doing. His issues made me think.
Cat Bennett
Sep 07, 2013 Cat Bennett rated it really liked it
A succinct and humorous tale of finding humility and artistic discipline in a children's class in Chinese painting. It offers insight into the Eastern way of approaching art through rigorous skill-building that, in time, reveals spirit. Perfect for a lazy afternoon of contemplation.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Kohl was feeling down with his life as an aging educator. He wanted to
try something fresh and new. Somehow he ended up in a painting class,
a class to learn to paint the Chinese way, a class for children.

It was just what he needed.
Apr 21, 2008 Henrietta rated it it was amazing
I learned from this book that you don't have to be in your 20's anymore to accomplish anything! The writer is an septogonian (hope this is right!) and he's still active and even went thru a "second childhood!"
Feb 04, 2013 Edna rated it it was amazing
This was a charming book dealing with aging and learning a new skill . I would recommend this book to artists, writers, teachers and anyone who wishes to learn how to meet aging in a positive manner.
Oct 15, 2011 Katie rated it it was ok
While I took away some things to think about from the book, the author is so introspective and repetitive that it was a tougher read than it needed to be.
Oct 04, 2014 Pam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting account of the author's use of a new skill, Chinese painting, to accept his aging and transitioning into retirement.
Mar 17, 2011 Odoublegood rated it liked it
this is physically a very pretty book, and there's a lot to be learned from it, too
D. Lambson
May 29, 2008 D. Lambson rated it really liked it
Very inspirational
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