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  • Japanese Ink Painting

    Based on simplicity and minimalism, this work is a form of active meditation, a training of discipline of hands and mind. It enhances self-confidence and flow with the brush, promoting new sets of drawing skills. With each subject you will learn about its core feature and ideas, alongside key brush strokes, using traditional brushes, ink and fine paper. • Fees include your study work-sheets, plenty of practice time, all your tools and materials, 1-2-1 tutorial, group discussion and light refreshment. • Intermediate students are welcomed to learn advanced level themes or work on a personal project. • Professional tools and materials are all supplied for your workshop as well as light refreshments. • Professional calligraphy sets, brushes and paper can be purchased direct from the studio during workshop time. • Spaces are limited. 1 - 5 students per session. Fees are €95- / £75- for a one-off or €360-/ £280- for a bundle of 4 consecutive workshops. Fee may be paid online or in-person. Please add your whatsApp phone number to receive the studio pin-location after booking as it is rather rural. To be notified of future Japanese ink painting workshops, please sign up for our newsletter below.

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  • The Four Treasure of Ink Painting

    Known as the 'Four Treasures', these are the main tools and materials used in the practice of Japanese ink paintings and they are — brush, paper, ink stick and ink stone. Each, carry a long tradition of craftsmanship in its own right, as the quality differ from simple student kit, to highly prized, hand-crafted collectible items. Paper was made traditionally with kozo fibre (the bark of mulberry bushes), and can vary in thickness, shade and size. The brush, made of natural animal hair, ranges in hardness, size and shape. The ink stick is made out of soot or coal dust, traditionally mixed with essence oils and natural glue to form a solid stick. This black solid ink has a variety shades of black, and gradations of translucency. And finally, the ink-stone which is made usually out of slate, is there as a rough surface upon which the ink is grind. Japanese brush - 筆 fude The Japanese brush, known as fude, has been used in Japan for over a thousand years for writing and painting. Originated in China, its usage goes even further back into ancient history. It is one of the oldest painting tools known in human history. The brush is not just a brush. It was considered a magical instrument by the ancient calligraphers and artists of the East and is still revered for its capabilities today. It is a tool that facilitate the very flow of the creative process. It is used as an ‘extension’ of the hand for writing and painting. Like a magic wand, it gives expression with spirited ink mark, to the world as it is being experienced. A transformational object, no less. As one of the four treasure of ink painting, with a single brush the artist can make a thousand different ink strokes. It is in the mastering of the special qualities of the brush that a rich expression of forms can be achieved. What is the brush made of? The brush is made of natural materials. The handle usually made out of a piece of bamboo or wood. While the bristle is formed out of various types of animal hair. These are cut and strung together in a particular format, then glued, and attached to the handle. The bristle hair can range from animals such as horse, goat, sheep, weasel, badger, even chicken and peacock feathers. What is the difference between western and Japanese brushes? The preferred shape of a brush is that of a water drop like, a round full body with a sharp, neat tip. This formation allows a variety of rich lines and ink marks to be painted with a single brush, whilst using western brushes one may need different brushes to achieve the same result. Because of its unique structure, a Japanese brush, in difference from a western brush, can hold three times more ink. A high quality brush is made in such a way that the longer hair is strung on the outside, and the shorter hair is on the inside. Sometime made of different kinds of hair so that the inside ‘hold’ the ink for longer when used. Horse tail, weasel, deer and badger’s hair, are commonly used for the shorter, central part of the brush. While softer hair, used for the longer, outside part of the brush and can be made of goat, sheep, cat, and softer parts of horse and deer’s hair. These longer hair get wrapped around the central core of the brush. The softer hair tend to absorb more ink and the hair keep together when wet, and tight around the hard core hair of the brush. Types of brushes Although artists can use one brush to create all sorts of brush strokes, once practiced with, you may wish to have a selection of brushes of different size and hair type to use for various projects. Here are the main brush features to look out for - Size - brushes range from exquisite fine brushes, to small, medium, large and mega brushes, the size of a broom. Choose the sizes you are most likely to use. Firmness - the choice of which brush to use, follow on with its size, is how springy, or elastic the bristle is when used with ink on paper. For example, softer brush will have a fine flow for long orchid leaves, while a more springy brush will facilitate bamboo stem strokes in a powerful way. Function - selecting the right brushes is determined by the function you would need it for. And so from the range of brushes used for ink painting, choose your brushes according to size, theme of painting and firmness. There are other specialised brushes, such as those used for calligraphy, be it fine sutra texts or flowing large poetry scrolls. And then there are other specific range of brushes, such as those used for background washes of painting; professional mounting paintings; and layering alum to size paper. Japanese ink - 墨 sumi Japanese ink, known as sumi or boku, is an organic, natural material, that has been used in Japan for over a thousand years for writing and painting. Originated in China, its usage goes even further back into ancient history. It is one of the oldest painting material known in human history. Because of its unique quality, painting with sumi ink can creates beautiful variance shades of black and translucency that range from soft greys to deep black, making ink painting so powerfully spirited and sublime at the same time. What is sumi made of? Sumi ink traditionally comes in the form of a solid ink stick in various sizes and qualities. Made of compressed soot or coal dust, mixed with essence oils and natural glue to form the solid stick. Soot was collected either from burnt wood, like pine, making coal dust. Or soot collected from vegetable oil lamps burning, usually in caves, after which, the soot forming on the rocks surface of the cave would be carefully scratched and collected. When sumi is made of pine soot, it will produce a more matte, cold, lighter, bluish black, where when it is made of oil soot, it will be more glossy, brighter, deeper reddish black. The quality of the ink depends on the type and age of the wood used for coal dust, or the quality of the vegetable oil. Higher quality sumi, has good weight about it, as there is no air formed between the soot and glue. It would have a smooth surface texture, as all the materials are well bonded. And it will carry a quality fragrance to it, especially when grinding it for painting. Ink-stones - 硯 suzuri Ink-stones, known in Japanese as suzuri, originated in China as early as the 3rd C. BC. As it is used as a surface for grinding ink on with an ink stick, a good quality ink-stone is as important as an ink stick in producing high quality ink. It is the right consistency of ink particles and water that is required when ink is ground on the stone surface. If the surface is too flat, the ink stick will not get well ground and the ink will be watery and weak, if the surface is too rough, the ink will be coarse as it will consist of large particles, making it impossible to paint or write with. And so, it has been an ingenious long term quest to make the perfect surface that will produce thick ground ink. A tool that produces beautiful, fine, fluent ink for painting and calligraphy. This quest has made the production of ink-stone a refined craft throughout the century, both in China and Japan. How does it work? An ink-stone will usually have a flat surface upon which the ink is rubbed, known as the ‘hill’ (oka). It will also have a deeper part, which is known as the reservoir, where ink will be collected and form up as it is ground. It is known as the ‘well’ or ‘sea’ (umi). The making of ink is done by gradual rubbing of the ink stick on the ink-stone, while adding water to it. Please see video ‘how to make ink’ for full demonstration. Types of ink-stone Ink-stones are made in various sizes and shapes. Some are circular, others are rectangular. There are ink-stones with lids to match, which keeps the ink clean in between sessions. And some stones have a specially design to size wooden boxes, to protect the stone. As ink-stones production has been developed throughout thousands of years, the materials used for them varied from clay, bronze, iron, porcelain, to a variety of rock formations. Today most students and artists ink-stones are made of slate, which offers an excellent textured surface upon which ink is ground. Yet, the connoisseur of ink-stone may be keen on those made of unique rock formation, which produces particular beautiful textured surface. The duan ink-stone, with its beautiful purple/red or green colour is one highly sought after ink-stone. The mountains in the Duan prefecture in China, are known as volcanic tuff. The rock formation from this place produces fine surface, perfect for ink rubbing. The ink-stones were made of rocks from the lower part of the mountains. These mines, opened since the 7th C. onward, are no longer active. Therefore making these ink-stones highly sought after collector’s items. A well sough after Japanese ink-stone is the akame ink-stone, known to be produced since the 11th C. in Japan, at the Yamaguchi prefecture. The stone allows for smooth and fine ink with excellent texture. Akama stones, contains large amount of quartz and iron, making it easy to carve on. And so ornamental design and lids are often made for these ink-stones. Another well known ink-stone is the ogatsu ink-stone, made in Miyagi prefecture in Japan. Its colour is beautiful smoky black, made of hard slate, which is known for its texture and low water absorption. The traditional crafts of making ogatsu ink-stone dated back to the 14th. C. and it is still active today. Japanese paper - 紙 washi Japanese paper, known as washi, is a fine yet strong, hand made material made from the bark of mainly mulberry bush. Because of its unique qualities, painting with ink on washi can creates beautiful variance shades of blacks and translucencies, ranging from soft greys to deep black. It is one of the ‘four treasures’ materials, which together with the ink, ink stone and brush, have been making ink painting a powerful spirited and sublime practice at the same time. Washi was first known to be made in 105 AD by a Chinese official, and introduced to Japan in 610 AD by a Korean Buddhist monk. The process of paper making in Japan has been refined throughout the years, to a most sophisticated high level production, with over 230 types of paper made at the hight of this hand made industry. Today only few hundred families still making paper in this unique tradition. What is Japanese paper made of? Washi is made from the barks of various shrubs. In a process of steaming, or long wetting time it is transformed into fibre used to create fine paper. The most common bark used for paper, is from the bark of mulberry (broussonetia), known as - kozo. This plant has been growing in the wild for centuries in Japan. It takes two to three years for the bark of the kozo to mature enough to be used for paper making. Harvesting occurs in late fall or early winter after the leaves have dropped. Shoots are cut near the base of the plant and are tied into bundles that can weigh over forty-five pounds. A second type is - mitsumata - known as Oriental Paperbush (edgeworthia chrysantha) typically cultivated on hillsides, interspersed with Japanese cedars and cypress trees. It is harvested in much the same way as kozo, except the tied bundles are often placed in rivers after harvesting to preserve freshness. Mitsumata produces fibres that are soft, absorbent, and insect resistant. It is often used in combination with other fibres. Pure mitsumata produces fine writing paper. The highest quality fibres are used in making paper that Japanese bank notes are printed on. The third type is - gampi - which is harvested in spring, when the plant is saturated with water and sap. Gampi can neither be steamed like kozo or mitsumata, nor cultivated with much success. Gampi plant grows in the wild and its extremely tough, long fibres, must be harvested from February to May. The naturally damp-resistant and insect-resistant fibres are excellent for making long-lasting paper. The slick, lustrous paper makes a distinct crackling sound when handled. The scarcity of gampi fibres and the high quality of the product makes it a rare and expensive paper. It is often used as calligraphy paper or in the pounding of gold leaf. Types of paper There are two main types of paper used in ink painting. One is raw paper, slightly rough texture and soft. This paper is absorbent and will react with the ink and water. The second type is sized paper, which has a layer of alum solution coat, making it non absorbent and resisting ink and colour. It usually has a smooth and fine surface texture. Unsized paper was loved by Zen monks and artists as it reacts well to free style painting and calligraphy. It echo the bold, free brush strokes and requires an experienced usage of ink and brush. The raw paper will reflect variety shades of ink fine hues and colours. Sized paper was used as early as the 10th Century in Japan, by poets and artists, for poetry and story telling scrolls. The paper was used for detailed artwork and fine sutra copying and decoration. The ink ‘sits’ on the surface of the paper, and will not ‘run’ on the paper. It is used today for delicate line work, especially with figures and fine landscape. There are additional varieties of absorbency grades and textured paper, including semi-sized paper, where depending on the artist’s subject and desired effect, the paper is chosen. Format, Size, Texture and Sound of paper Paper can be found in three main formats. As individual sheets of different sizes, where the common largest sheet size is 69 x 137 cm. As rolled paper, which can come in variety of sizes, such as 34 x 69 cm and 46 x 69 cm and can be rolled for few meters. And third, paper which is already mounted on cardboard, ready to paint on, known as shikishi. Handmade Japanese paper, despite its delicate feel is very strong and supple. It has one smooth side and the other slightly rough. Painting is done on the smooth side, for good absorption effect. The rough side is used for the mounting of finished artwork on a backing paper. You will also find that paper comes in different thicknesses. This reflects the making process and does not necessarily relate to the actual strength of the paper. You may choose different thickness according to the way you wish to present your artwork. If you want to mount the painting, a thinner paper is preferred. If you wish to frame it in the western style then you may wish to work on a thicker paper, where you may not need to mount it. Paper has different crackling sounds when handled. Get used to listen to that sounds and begin to recognise different quality of paper according to its sound. Getting your own set As an ink practitioner, you will discover in time, your own preferred brushes, size of paper and inks you enjoy working with and create your own set. As a beginner, you may wish to try a beginner’s set. See below recommended sources in the U.K. and the U.S. However, if you are drawn to keep working in this medium, you may want to invest in a good quality set to last you a lifetime. * STUDIO SETS - Quality Japanese MADE sets - curated by Talia ArtBrush comprehensive Sets - curated by Talia - Made in Japan Traveller Set Celedon Set Blue & White Set U.K. Sources - Recommended for beginners - Affiliate with Jackson’s Art Supply PAPER Papaer Pads 30x40cm 20 sheets Paper Pads 24x32cm 20 sheets INK Liquid Bottled Ink 180 ml Liquid Bottled Ink 60ml If you want to grind your own ink - Ink Stone Ink Stick BRUSHES Medium Size Brush Medium Size Brush BOX SET - Made in Japan. Ink stick, ink stone, single fine brush, water dropper in a beautiful box. You will still need another large or medium brush to add to your painting set. OTHER TOOLS FOR YOUR SET Ceramic Flower - For mixing colours Brush Rest Brush Mat - fudemaki - to keep safe and well your brushes WATAERCOLOUR Watercolour Set of 12 Colours Watercolour Set of 18 Colours Watercolour Set of 24 Colours U.S. Sources - Recommended for beginners - Affiliate with BLICK PAPER Newsprint for Practice Japanese Practice Paper - Sketch pad 48 sheets Hanshi paper - Loose sheets 24 x 33 cm Pads - 24 x 32 cm 20 sheets Pads - 30.5 x 40.5 cm 20 sheets Paper Roll - 20 x 50cm length Individual sheets Okawara - Sized paper 30.5 x 40 cm Awagami Mingeishi - 63.5 x 94 cm Mulberry - 63.5 x 85 cm INK Liquid Bottled Ink If you want to grind your own ink - Ink Stone Ink Stick BEGINNERS BRUSHES Large and Medium sizes Yasutomo Bamboo Brush - Size 6 Yasutomo Bamboo Brush - Size 6 Yasutomo Bamboo Brush - Size 5 Yasutomo Bamboo Brush - Size 4 Yasutomo Bamboo Brush - Size 3 Detail Fine Brushes Yasutomo Bamboo Sumi Brush - Size 2 Yasutomo Bamboo Sumi Brush - Size 1 Yasutomo Bamboo Sumi Brush - Size 0 OTHER TOOLS FOR YOUR SET Ceramic Flower For mixing colours Brush Mat - fudemaki - Keep brushes safe and dry Brush Mat - With sleeves Brush Rest - White brush rest for six brushes Watercolour - Set of 12 Watercolour -Set of 18 Watercolour - Set of 24 Metallic Shades - Set of 6 To read further comprehensive essays on the Ink artist tools-set and for a list of quality tool-sets sources - check out ArtBrush Library ** First image is by Katsushika Hokusai -A surimono for the year of the horse 1822 ✥ ✥ ✥

  • 21 Books Every Ink Painting Practitioner Should Read

    There are many great books on ink painting and art history that can help practitioners improve their skills. This is a list of 21 art-related and Japanese ink painting history books. Each has been part of my own journey with ink through the years and impacted my understanding and appreciation of art. They are essential for any artist who wants to learn more about ink painting. I full-heartedly recommend these books to ink painting practitioners. They cover a variety of topics, from the history of Japanese ink painting to the artist practice and meditation. Few are catalogues of museum exhibitions and may be out of print. See if you can get them second hand, or direct from the museum. They are all well-written and filled with beautiful artwork that will inspire you to create your own masterpieces! This list is being updated from time to time, so do check it up or sign up to the mailing list to get updated. History of Japanese Art By Penelope Mason This book is one of the most concise works of Japanese art history you will ever need. It covers history from early Jōmon time (10,50-300bc) and up to Meiji and Shōwa (1868-1945). The book looks into the art forms of each period, mainly painting, ceramic, architecture, and sculptures. Purchase on Amazon HERE History of Far Eastern Art By Sherman Lee This book was given to me by a dear friend who was an avid Japanese art dealer and collector in London. He said to me, "This is the only book you need on Asian art. Take it!" It includes work from the early stone and bronze age and up to 18th c. Japan. And it covers the art history of China, India, Japan and South Asia and Indonesia. Purchase on Amazon HERE How to Look at Japanese Art By Stephen Addiss Any book by Stephan Addiss is a book I would recommend. He is one of the leading, passionate scholars of Japanese art, and I was lucky to be in few of his lectures when he visited London. This book helped me begin to understand how to view Japanese art. And although rather thin looking, it offers essential guidelines as to how to approach and begin to appreciate Japanese art aesthetic values. It covers ceramics, sculptures and traditional Buddhist art, zen ink painting, calligraphy, woodblock prints and gardens. Purchase on Amazon: HERE Empire of Signs By Roland Barthe A very personal book on Japanese aesthetic by Roland Bathers which touched me deeply in its feeling descriptions. As is said in its promotion, "If Japan did not exist, Barthes would have had to invent it…" Purchase on Amazon HERE The Art Lover's Guide to Japanese Museums By Sophie Richard This well-designed book, with many images, covers prominent art museums in Japan and is quite recent. It includes tips and advice with detailed addresses. It can be a great source of information for those of you who wish to view original art while travelling to Japan or viewing the museums' websites online. Purchase on Amazon HERE Mustard Seed Manual Translated by Mai mai Sze A latest printout of 17th C. manual of how to paint. Originated in China and adopted by Japanese artists as well. It has various different volumes. Original copies can be found in museum’s displays, like the British Museum. The manuals have many lessons and examples of how to paint according to various masters of the time, with core notions and reasonings. An essential manual to guide and inspire the ink painting practitioner. Purchase on Amazon HERE Buddhism and the Arts of Japan By Richard B. Pilgrim A short concise writing with a chapter on Zen art and Zen aesthetics Purchase on Amazon HERE The Art of Zen By Stephan Addiss A beautiful book of paintings and calligraphy by Japanese monks from the 1600 - 1925 with notes and translations by Stephan Addiss. Purchase on Amazon HERE Masterpieces from the Shinenekan Collection Los Angeles County Museum catalogue This catalogue presents a selection of Japanese paintings, of the 18th C. Edo period, from the collection of Joe and Etsuko Price. I was lucky enough to meet with the collector himself, and view original artwork both at his home and at the museum. The collection holds valuable Japanese ink paintings, in particular the eccentric ink masters work of 18th C. Jackuchō, Shōhaku and Rosetsu. Purchase on Amazon HERE Haiga By Stephan Addiss Exhibition catalogue book of the haiku painting tradition, known as haiga. This book may be of interest for the ink painter, calligrapher and poetry lovers. Purchase on Amazon HERE Haiku - Japanese Art and Poetry By Michiko Warkentyne & Barry Till A sweet little book of Japanese haiku poetry according to season, with accompanied artwork and calligraphy. Purchase on Amazon HERE Under the Seal of Sesshū By Jon Carter Covell Read about the life and work of 15th C. master monk-painter Tōyō Sesshū, considered one of the founders of Japanese ink painting tradition. The book was written by Jon Carter Covell in 1941! So if you can get your hand on a copy, you may just discover overlays of history interwoven. It covers the life of Sesshū, his styles of paintings with attention to his landscape, figures, bird and flower and animal painting. Purchase on Amazon HERE Wild Ivy - The Spiritual autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin Translated by Norman Waddell Translation to English of the spiritual autobiography of Zen master Hakuin. The book includes Hakuin own Zen experiences, paintings and advise to students. Purchase on Amazon HERE A book of Five Rings By Miyamoto Musashi Known as Japan’s greatest warrior, Musashi was also a master of the brush. Although only few of his paintings survived, they are well known and unique to his character. He is the one to coined the phrase - ‘as the brush so is the sword’. Towards the end of his life he put together his experience in a simple five chapters book. An essential read for the ink painter and the martial artist alike. Purchase on Amazon HERE The Uninhibited Brush By Jack Hillier Jack Hillier is one of the pioneer scholars of Japanese art and his writings are so very insightful and well written. In this (big) book, published in 1974!, you will find essays about the great masters of ink of the Shijo style, to include the literati movement, Ōkyo and his followers and many others. Purchase on Amazon HERE Designing Nature - The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art By John Carpenter A beautiful exhibition catalogue book written by my London university professor, Dr. John Carpenter, now head of the Metropolitan museum of art. We have always shared the passion for Rinpa school and aesthetic, and it is worth while reading his notes in this catalogue with his excellent example of how to research Japanese art. Purchase on Amazon HERE Silver Wind- The Arts of Sakai Hoitsu By Matthew P McKelway A beautiful exhibition catalogue book presenting highlights from the exquisite artwork of ink painter and Rinpa school master Sakai Hōitsu. Purchase on Amazon HERE Sea of Ink By Richard Weiha A most poetic, beautiful short story based on the autobiography of Chinese ink master Shin-t’ao of the 17th century, who was committed to capture nature with a single brush stroke. For the ink painter, the poet, the dweller and art historian. Purchase on Amazon HERE Anam Cara - Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World By John O'donohue Well, yes, I know this is not Japanese related, but it is one of my favourite books of healing, wisdoms and calm. Always like to read from it, whichever page opens. Purchase on Amazon HERE Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain By Betty Edwards The is the one and only essential drawing skills course you will ever need. With super practical exercises to develop your drawing skill as far and high as you like it. You can use the Japanese brush and paper for the practices. Purchase on Amazon HERE Think Like an Artist By Will Gompertz I stumbled upon this pocket book at Daunt bookshop in London and couldn't resist it. It is full of humour, brightness and intelligent tips for all you artists out there. Purchase on Amazon HERE Learn more in the ArtBrush Library Membership View a growing list of 48+ recommended books in ArtBrush Library. The ArtBrush Library is a membership with a selection of writings, essays and contemplations to guide you with your Japanese ink painting studies. Sign up now for a one-time payment of £55 >

  • Wabi-Sabi and the Practice of Ink Painting

    ‘To those who awaits only the cherry blossoms, Let me point to the spring in grassy patches amid the snow of a mountain village’ Fujiwara no Taika This poem has been used to explain the very essence of wabi-sabi by Sen no Rikkyo, master artist of Japanese tea ceremony. Wabi-sabi as an aesthetic concept evolved with the tea ceremony in Japan by Sen no Rikkyo during the 16th century, yet it is rooted deep in Zen Buddhism already in the 12th century. Although strongly embedded in Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi as a concept is not always easy to define. It can however, be felt. This is perhaps its most clear element, the use of the senses for the aesthetic experience. While the 21st century is riding into a digitalisation of the senses, wabi-sabi takes us back to the touch and the taste, the sound and the fragrance of things, as well as their visual experience. To hold a tea cup with both hands and be touched by its textured material is the heart of the experience. While sipping tea, to feel the tongue sticking a little to the fired clay, these sensual feelings are woven into the ceramic beauty impact. In similar way to the tea ceremony, the ink artist takes a step back from the mundane daily world into their own rhythm, holding a raw ink stick and grinding it on an ink-stone to make ink. Feeling the rough texture of the stone and taking in the fragrance of the ink as it blends with water, the artist dip the brush to make that first brush stroke - this preparation time creates a unique intimacy of nearness to the natural materials. The love of the textured material and its simplicity, define wabi-sabi artistic aesthetic, where possible, keeping materials not fully processed, so one can still get a glimpse of their original state. The soot of which the ink is made of, kept its true nature for many years whilst being exposed to the elements. Be it fire or rain, heat or cold weather, it gifts the sense of humility and humbleness away from pretension and arrogance. The power of simplicity Wabi (侘び) carries the idea of elegant beauty that is reflected in simplicity itself. Simplicity that has its core in humbleness. A will to be with the essence of things and not their external cover up. ‘Get rid of the non essential’ - is the wabi-sabi artist most valuable instruction. The interaction of modest intelligence with a clean, efficient arrangement, allow wabi-sabi artists to keep with the integral component of its creation, and avoid unnecessary details. Ink painting will reveal just enough details for the viewer to identify the subject painted, but not more than necessary. The ink painting is intended to echo the very nature of its subject matter, not to copy it. Rustic beauty Sabi (寂び / 錆び) translated from Japanese, to mean ‘rust’. It suggests the nature of the ever-changing experiences and things that weathered, fade away or dissipate. It signifies not the ending of things, but actually the flow and continuity of the creative process. Sabi aesthetic does not find a need to ‘hide’ the ongoing ageing of the art created, on the contrary, the moss on the stone sculpture, the rustic wood pillar inside a home, or the ragged ink brush stroke on textured paper - are all part of cherishing the beauty of time passage. The way ink becomes even more distinct as the paper ages, turning yellow in time, is part of the magic celebrated by the aesthetic of sabi. This ever-changing state of materials far and beyond the artist work, emerges because of time throwing its magnitude flow upon everything. And while doing so, revealing a tranquil beauty within the greater creation and its ongoing powerful laws of transformation, extinction and reformation. Finding and enjoying the rustic beauty of this is the aesthetic of sabi. Cherishing the creative process Within the aesthetic of wabi-sabi , the creative process is exposed and emphasised. It is original in a moment in time, and thus a unique experience. The ink painting is not intended to be perfect. On the contrary, not the complete figure is painted, nor the whole landscape is seen. The painting will hold spaces and gaps ready to be completed with the viewer’s imagination. In ink painting, one can appreciate the aesthetics of wabi-sabi where the flow of the brush and ink emphasise the wellness experience of imperfection. It is imperfect because no hand can make a ‘perfected’ line in that sense. Each line and mark is raw and organic, rich in wonder and mystery, reflecting the nature of both artist and viewer at any given time. Wabi-sabi aesthetic practice in ink painting offers an intimate experience. It unfolds the feeling that even the minute and seemingly insignificant painted theme, can have an insight into the warmth and beauty of a growing and becoming creation.

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  • Summer Flowers and Insects

    Step-by-step how to create beautiful Japanese ink paintings of water irises, wild roses, hydrangea, grand peonies, dragonflies, bees, ants and butterflies. In this course you will learn to paint four well known summer flowers and insects. These are - Water irises, wild roses, beautiful hydrangeas, and grand peonies. You will also learn to paint dragonflies, butterflies, ants and bees and discover how to add these insects to your composition in such a way that they will enhance your painting. Flowers and insects have always been a popular theme in Japanese art. Learning to observe, appreciate and paint them, has become a specialization theme for students of ink painting, not only because of their beauty, more so, they offer us a glimpse into the magical, interdependent working of nature.

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