Thursday, August 6, 2009

What is the ancient art of Sumi-e?

Sumi-e expresses the character and soul of the artist. It is a meditative process and spiritually personal. Understanding this concept has been at the center of my art. I have been a student of Western painting and of ink painting. Ink painting called Sumi-e has captivated my spirit and soul. I am continually trying to increase my understanding of the secret of beauty and grace and elegance.

The Sumi-e art form is steeped in Zen Buddhism. In Sumi-e or ink painting, you have to 'become one' with the object in the painting. When you understand and/or experience how the simple and bold lines of the brush strokes and various shades of the ink are transformed to create a powerful spirit and energy, then you will have a sense of what these philosophies and paintings are all about.

Below is an example of a contemporary Sumi-e by Casey Shannon. I have used the traditional sumi (ink) for painting the flower. The red chops or artist seals are very common for Sumi-e painters. The sumi-e painting is not finished until the chops are applied by the artist.  Here the large round chop translates into 'be well'. The square chop is my name 'Casey'.  And the small round chop above my signed name translates into 'spring'.     More to come..........

Flower of White
Flower of White