I first encountered the Buddha Board a couple of years ago at a summer camp fair at my daughter’s elementary school. One of the art-centric camps had set it up on their folding table. The Buddha Board consists of an easel-like surface and a brush-pen. The large version—and the best one, in my opinion—features a built-in water well atop which the brush rests elegantly. You brush the water on the surface and your marks at first appear black as ink—think Chinese calligraphy—and then, slowly, those marks disappear. It struck me as the perfect tool for kids to practice art: Look, ma, no paint! (Translation: no mess.) The Buddha Board is as good a product for adults developing an art practice as it is for kids. The shape and texture of the brush lend themselves to the depiction of things like dragons, with their scales, claws, fire, and scutes.
My husband has appropriated my first, large-size board for our bedroom, where it serves a secondary purpose: if my daughter isn’t successful at getting me, a late sleeper by nature, out of bed, he writes the words “Get up” on the Buddha Board, and I have until they’re gone. But in a year like the one we’ve just had, the product has, I think, still another role: the restoration of equilibrium. I now have a medium-size Buddha board sitting on my desk. I draw something on it. I watch it fade. This too, as they say, shall pass.
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