“When the hand, the eye, and the heart arrive together, there under the brush, the spirit is expressed.”
– from a T’ang period Chinese brush painting
Through understatement, suggestion, and concentration on the essential, the sumi-e artist expresses the spirit of nature rather than transcribes its precise appearance. Traditional Chinese and Japanese brush painting on rice paper has been practiced for centuries using inspiration from the natural world. Sumi-e brush and inkwash has become my favorite medium during our Wednesday night drawing groups at the Firehouse Gallery in Oak Bluffs. Drawing is like calligraphy. The immediacy of this medium is perfect for drawing from a live model, as the artist must work swiftly and with confidence, capturing essential marks to express form, volume, and emotion.