I recently had a revelation and realized that to make art a routine part of my life I need a routine. As you all know life interfers with our best intentions. I want to use Mondays to learn and practice Sumi-e and Fridays or Sundays to draw, draw, draw. Painting, exploring materials, doodling will be part of the schedule any day, any where, any time. I just need to set aside some specific time for Sumi-e and drawing which I see as major skill builders. Well, of course, life stepped in and Monday we ran errands and worked outside and played with the dogs in the sunshine. Since my Tuesday drawing class with Irina is over, yesterday became Sumi-e day. Using newsprint and lamp black and charcoal watercolor (I was almost out of ink) I practiced the curving strokes needed to make dots, dashes, flower petals. I have four small prints that I bought from a catalog years ago. They sit at the top of my stairs to greet visitors and are of Chinese calligraphy for words like laughter and friendship. I looked at these and decided that two were too difficult for me to copy but that two had potential for my current learners skill level. I practiced and practiced. I am not sure if I am making all the strokes appropriately but here is my last attempt.
I also worked on the painting of an orchid. The orchid is part of the Four Gentlemen that are used to teach the basic strokes. The four are bamboo, orchid, chrysanthemum, and plum blossom (preview of things to come!).
Now the neat thing is that my order from Oriental Art Supply was delivered late yesterday so I was able to use better paper for my final practice. Both of these paintings were done using double shuen practice paper, Black Magic ink and charcoal watercolor. The book I am using is The Chinese Painting Handbook edited by Viv Foster that I bought at Barnes & Noble.