What is sumi-e (Asian brush painting?)
The Chinese have a saying: “The brush dances and the ink sings.” This is a perfect description of a sumi-e painting. The artist is working to capture the essence or spirit or qi (pronounced chi) of her subject in the painting. When the painter is very familiar with her subject, for example her pet rabbit or dragon, her awareness of its essence will allow her to paint it very freely and simply. The brush will dance, the strokes will be lively and free, and the image will seem alive on the paper.
Sumi-e means “ink picture” in Japanese. “Sumi” means ink and “e” means painting or picture. Since similar styles of painting with brush and ink are used throughout Asia this style of painting is often referred to as Asian brush painting. Sometimes, poetry (haiku) and other writings are combined with a painting and the combination is called haiga.
Super Simple Sumi-e shows you how to make a variety of basic brush strokes to create lovely paintings. Here’s a sample lesson from the book in how to create a simple bird with variations.