I have enjoyed studying languages with some success in Spanish, German, and Japanese (18 months of full-time study at the Army Language School plus five years using the language in Japan). At age ninety I decided to learn some Arabic and to study Arabic calligraphy. The form and beauty of the Japanese kanji had been attractive to me —- the Arabic writing systems are even more so, with their graceful forms and curves and the limitless variety and beauty of the works created by centuries of master calligraphers from the dawn of Islam to the present.
The proprietor of my favorite donut shop in Portland, Oregon, whose family originated in Lebanon, introduced me to a local Arabic tutor; the Internet led me to a master calligrapher, Mr. Ahmed Kandil of Cairo, Egypt, willing to accept me as a student and to teach me from Cairo using Skype.
I am now several months into Mister Kandil’s program, and although I accept that I do not have time (my age) to achieve high status in the field of calligraphy, I do derive deep satisfaction from my lessons, from my occasional successes, as well as from Mister Kandil’s encouragement and motivation and his firm but gentle corrections of my efforts. His artist’s eye is quick to detect and point out deficiencies, make the necessary corrections (with explanations), and suggest improvements. He has also provided me with supplemental learning material for continued study (Naskh calligraphy books, samples of classic Arabic poetry, etc).
So, from being a complete unknown a short time ago, Arabic calligraphy has become a significant part of my life and a provider of considerable satisfaction. And by guiding my efforts, Mister Kandil has been instrumental in opening up to me the joys of Arabic calligraphy and increasing my pleasure therein.
Following is a sample of some of my, to date, best writings. The journey has not been easy, but I am most pleased with my progress, and will of course, continue to strive to lift the calligraphy to a higher level. (One must have a goal!)