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Sumie (SOOmeeay) painting was introduced by Zen Buddhist monks in the 14th century. It is the Japanese refinement of the Sun China style of Sumi painting  Sumi being the medium used to make paint.


The Sumie artist/student continues the Zen philosophy of reflecting one's spirit in the painting. Open space is as important as the painted area. The Sumie artist works with a sense of meditative tranquillity. Time has no meaning and a student is a student for life.


Once touched to paper or silk, the brush produces a single stroke. No retouching is permitted. When color is used, it is added with a single stroke.




Nihonga is a Japanese two brush method used when painting silk on surfaces that are hard, smooth, and less absorbent than paper or silk. The first brush carries the color and the second brush carries water with which the artist blends the pigment.


My Sensei


A teacher's teacher, Reiko was born in Japan. Reiko graduated from Futaba Jo Gakuin where she began her studies in Sumie painting of the Nanga School. She continued under the Nanga masters until 1952 when she immigrated to the United States. I studied with Reiko weekly from 1988 until her passing in 2015. I am grateful to have painted under such an honorable Sensei.

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