What Exactly IS Sumi-e?

Studio tour artist Diana Bullock has practiced Sumi-e [Japanese ink painting] for over 20 years; it is an Eastern style of painting, founded in Japan and taught at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto. 

  Three bees a buzzin (C) Diana Bullock

Three bees a buzzin (C) Diana Bullock

Sumi-e is Japanese for ink “sumi” and painting “e”. The Philosophy of Sumi-e is contrast and harmony, expressing simple beauty and elegance.

Sumi-e attempts to capture the Chi or "life spirit" of the subject, painting in the language of the spirit. A Sumi-e artist becomes the rose to paint it. The art of brush painting aims to depict the spirit rather than the semblance of the object. Patience is essential in brush painting. Brush strokes are as few as possible to depict the subject and there is no "correcting" a painting. The combination of ink and rice paper make for very spontaneous work and it is virtually impossible to go over a stroke. 

  the bird is the word (C) Diana Bullock

the bird is the word (C) Diana Bullock

After many years of study the artist submits a painting to a committee of Sumi-e artists and if they feel the quality of the work is acceptable the artist is given a name that is representational of their painting style and a seal to use on their paintings……the translation of Diana's seal is Simple Elegance. A Sumi-e artist must continue to study and to practice…. the learning never stops. Diana continues her studies with many artists including from Japan and China. She also shares her knowledge of this art style conducting workshops for different groups including the Sumi-e Artists of Canada

The materials used are called the Four Treasures, ink stick, stone to grind the ink, a brush and rice paper. The paper is very thin slightly thicker than tissue paper. Colour is added to enhance a painting when necessary.

  Four Treasures

Four Treasures

Balance, rhythm and harmony are the qualities the artist strives for by developing patience, self-discipline and concentration. The goal of the brush painter is to use the brush with both vitality and restraint.

Diana is at location #14 on this years Tour. Also at this studio is Allison Bullock and Grace MacPherson. To see more of Diana's work visit www.alternativesinart.ca

  Simplicity (C) Diana Bullock

Simplicity (C) Diana Bullock