Zen Creativity: A Brush with Emptiness




October 9 – 10, 2021

*Important Covid Note:  Alok requests that all students be fully vaccinated to participate in his workshop.  Please email him at alok@zencalligraphy.com if you have any questions/concerns about this.  Masks will be required when you are inside the studio.

This is a fun workshop. We explore Zen creativity by being “present, available, playful and not knowing”. All the while, we honor and make friends with a set of 3 brushes Alok designed and had made in the best traditional brush factory in China, 250 g. of very good Yidege liquid ink, plenty of “raw” Xuan paper, and a piece of 100% black wool felt Alok had imported from India to lay beneath each painting essential for reflecting the subtle or bold ink/water patterns back into the absorbent paper. You get to keep all these ‘friends’ with you beyond the conclusion of this workshop on Zen Creativity

Whether you are a beginner, a return student, or an accomplished artist, in this workshop you will have many fresh opportunities to let go of the past– what you already know, the accomplished level you are caught in and perhaps bored with, or the fear whether you can “do” it. And to welcome in each Zen moment, an intelligence prior to thought with all its schemes and maneuvers. Alok will inspire, surprise, and guide you to be rooted and move from your energy body, to rest in the spaciousness of your being, to become comfortable and intimate with the power of not-knowing, and to allow your brush—or you—to dance from emptiness.

Alok may ask you to paint the energy of music, a Rumi poem, the sound of silence, your heart’s desire, or when Master Zhaozhou was asked, “When great calamity arrives, how shall we respond?” he said, “Welcome!” No prior experience with painting or Zen is necessary. We paint with the joyful “discipline” of being “present, available, playful and not-knowing.” Something is transformed in us, at the same time manifested through our brush. At some point during the workshop you will come to realize, “Oh, I am the art!”


To have viewed the trailer and the 69-minute documentary, “Moving from Emptiness: the Life and Art of a Zen Dude.” This film is the best introduction to Alok’s work, available here: Click here: Moving from Emptiness: the Life and Art of a Zen Dude

Workshop: From 9 am to 5 pm both days. Arrive 15 minutes early. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing in layers. Bring yourself in all your glory—however you happen to be! And bring a lunch so we can keep our energies together.                                                                                                                                  


In-Person Classes

COVID Health and Safety Protocols

The health and safety of our Patrons, Students, Volunteers, and Staff are a top priority. Since COVID-19 first surfaced, our staff continues to monitor the situation closely, taking every precaution to keep our Patrons, Students, Volunteers, Staff, and our community safe.

  • We require that face masks, covering mouth and nose, be worn in our buildings until further notice. (Note: face shields are not adequate) Paper masks are available for no charge.
  • Thermometers are available in the Gallery and Studios for self-checking of temperature upon entrance.
  • Sanitation stations are available at each entrance to the Center. Paper masks are available for no charge.

21 1009 AH

Alok Hsu Kwang-han

Alok Hsu Kwang-han

Alok Hsu Kwang-han is a Zen calligraphic painter from China whose work is a startling synthesis of the beauty of Chinese calligraphy, the spontaneity and simplicity of Zen, and the evolution of healing in Western psychotherapy. An artist with a diverse background, Alok has earned academic degrees from American universities in mathematics, Christian theology, sociology and the psychology of religion. He has taught sociology of religion and psychology of transcendence, and in China translated and published 20 books on meditation.

In his workshops, he teaches “Zen as art and art as Zen.” He has also brought what he calls “the creativity of non-doing” into trainings for international organizations and  business leaders.

Alok has exhibited in galleries worldwide. Beginning in 2001, his painting, Just This! Just This! was the entrance piece to the exhibition “Harmonizing with the Infinite” at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. He has had solo exhibitions at the National Ethnographic Museum in Sweden; the Great Hall of Exhibition in Shanghai; the Water Harp Temple and Garden in Pune, India; Kim 3 in Santa Barbara, California; the Goldenstein Gallery in Sedona, Arizona, and other venues.


Alok is well known for his singular work of painting calligraphic portraits in transformational sessions for individuals, couples, families, and organizations. He is the subject of the award winning 69-minute documentary, “Moving from Emptiness: the Life and Art of a Zen Dude.”

Since turning 77 in Oct., 2015, Alok is focusing his energies on teaching in-depth one-on-one tutorial/retreats for a select number of sincere artists at his home studio in Sedona, Arizona. He continues to offer an annual workshop at the Sedona Arts Center.


Cancellation Policy


  • Each student must enroll individually
  • Students may register online or by calling the Sedona Arts Center’s Administrative Offices in the Art Barn, toll-free at 888-954-4442 or locally at 928-282-3809
  • Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express are accepted or student may pay with cash or check by registering in person during office hours at the Art Barn

In-Person and Online Workshops

  • A student may pay in full or place a $125 non-refundable deposit to save a space in the workshop
  • Any unpaid balance is due at least 30 days prior to first day of class
  • If a student cancels before the 30-day cut-off, the balance is refunded (or cancelled if not already paid) – the deposit is non-refundable
  • If a student cancels within the 30-days prior to class, no refund is given and both deposit and balance are forfeited
  • If Sedona Arts Center cancels the workshop for any reason, all payments made will be refunded in full

Important Message

The Sedona Arts Center is not responsible for providing make-up sessions or issuing refunds, credits, or transfers for courses missed as a result of illness, emergencies, or other events beyond our control. There are absolutely no refunds after the cut-off date for any reason, unless the Sedona Arts Center has to cancel the workshop, then all fees paid will be refunded in full.

Covid-19 Update for In-Person Classes and Workshops: 

As long as SAC is able to provide an environment that adheres to the CDC guidelines for social gatherings, and assuming all other normal criteria are met and the workshop or class goes forward, the above cancellation policies are in effect.