Happy Valentine’s Day to all! No big plans – just the Olympics and maybe a quick dinner out.
I have been diligently working on Sumi-e painting strokes for three days and I have been struggling. Yesterday I finally completed two paintings of Bamboo and they were quite awful. Technique, composition, it all sucked! But one foot in front of the other…
I got up early this morning and started again. I doggedly practiced the basic strokes again and again and eventually I finished two paintings that I am willing to share. The first I completed in ink and the second I painted in watercolor with my Sumi-e brushes. Yesterday I remembered that one of the criticisms I have heard is that American artists put too much in their Asian ink paintings. That we lose awareness of space in our work. Yesterday I loaded one of my paintings with bamboo leaves. Today I tried to stay really focused on simplicity and capturing the essence and structure of the bamboo.
I feel like this practice has been very beneficial – I have learned an entirely new way to hold the brush – and I am going to continue to work my way through the books I have. I have also found the video instruction on Youtube to be valuable. But I need to go back to drawing and painting. I want to get moving on my Dance painting but other things, like doing tax returns and preparing for my husband’s surgery next week, slow me down a bit. As Nike says I will just do it!
PS I knew I wanted to spend some time learning Sumi-e this year and I love the ink paintings in the Asian Galleries at the Indianapolis Museum of Art so I asked my husband for a jade “chop” for Christmas. We got it from the National Geographic catalog and you can see it in Bamboo #2. It represents as closely as possible our last name in Chinese.