Without much fanfare,
Alighting on a fragile bow
What is Sumi-e?
Unlike Ukiyoe, Sumi-e is not specifically a Japanese Art. Like many Japanese refinements, Sumi-e Originated in China and was exported throughout Asia. Ink (wash) painting developed in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). According to Wikipedia, Korean Missionaries introduced Sumi-e to Japan in the 1300's (1).
Sumi-e is said to have been the first 'impressionist' art form. The art is meant to convey the spirit of the object, not the form. Only the smallest amount of ink and brush-strokes should be used to portray an object. The Sumi-e artist must understand the feeling, and personality of an object to paint it. Knowing the physical characteristics and painting them is not enough to draw the feeling from the artwork(1). Wikipedia has an interesting anecdote on this theme in reference to Zhang Seng You that you should read, its pretty interesting.
Drawing the Ink from the Stone
The Sumi-e Artist has a few basic utensils. An ink stone, ink stick, water, and a brush or two. The ink stick is often a combination of Pine soot and Resin, (animal glue). A resourceful chap can buy Sumi-e ink in a bottle. Although, like many Japanese Arts, the process is often more important than the result (2).
A artist should of course start with a few drops of water on the ink stone and grind fresh ink from the ink stick. When the ink is the desired color and thickness the artist can dive in to their creation.
Famous Sumi-e and artists you should look at;
2-Wise-Geek, What is Sumi-e.
Other resources for those interested in Sumi-e;
The Sumi-e Society of America
A Basic Lesson on You Tube
The Artwork displayed in today's post.
1- The bird flying inverted to the bamboo.
This is a work by Seika Tatsumoto (1935-) A Sumi-e artist of Japanese Traditional Style. Purchased at the Kyoto Handicraft Center, Kyoto.
These Sumi-e paintings were done by my 6 yr old daughter （トリニテイ）, during Japan Week in Spokane, WA. (Originals available for extraordinarily high prices ＄＄＄... inquire within!).
All photo's, original works, and comments are my personal property. Please be respectful of the effort I've taken.Your comments are welcome, be polite: No throwing pebbles in my pool of zen.
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