Saturday, February 24, 2007

One Brush, One Ink

Before we leave I've been packing in as much Shodo and Sumi-e as I can, and when no class is available I read books about about painting techniques in the library! A book I was reading yesterday described basic Sumi-e as "One brush, One ink." Meaning, with one brush you can make all the different marks you need to, and with just black ink you can make a complete gray scale to describe any scene. While many sumi-e paintings tend to look realistic, this is not the goal. The goal is to reduce what you're seeing to it's essence, to express the soul of something. So while not Abstract in the Modern Art sense, the images are abstracted. They are after all, done with one brush and just black ink. The conceptual purity involved in this kind of painting really appeals to me, as it did the Zen monks that started Sumi-e.

But now, let me show you some images.

Last week was my last Shodo class with Cosmos, so sad! I wrote elegant flower, and for the first time used all ten of my practice sheets. I think unstamped one is better, but my sensei took the best one and put it up downstairs as an add for her class! I was honored!

But then yesterday I discovered a different free shodo class on Fridays! It was actually a shodo and sumi-e class, but I opted for shodo. This class was more of a culture exchange class, so there were many more Japanese women there, most of whom were doing sumi-e. But they were all nice and tried to help me with my shodo. I chose something particularly difficult, Autumn Wind in One Stroke style, kind of like Japanese cursive. How much more pure could you get than one brush, one ink, one stroke? I was in heaven. I never quite nailed all the parts of the Kanji on one page, but here's my best effort along with my sensei's illustration of regular style verses one stroke style in orange and black. I was having trouble with going slow and fast in the same stroke.

So with all that talk of Sumi-e here's what I've done in the past month. The mountains post card, I think, is getting there.

And finally, on my last sumi-e class today I got a photo with all my senseis. They are wonderful people, so helpful and friendly. Even though it was hard for us to communicate sometimes because of the language difference they really made me feel like a million bucks. I am sad I won't have them helping in person anymore, but we all exchanged business cards at the end of class and they want me to email them photos of the sumi-e I do back in the states, distance learning I guess!


Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Your work is really progressing - maybe you have a future in Japan some time! Bonnie