Digital Asian Brush Painting
Black ink wash painting began in China and spread to Japan centuries ago. The Japanese name for this art form is Sumie (“sue-me-ay”). The art is rooted in Zen Buddhism rooted in Chi. When creating one of these paintings, the artist is not showing a realistic depiction of the subject but a visualization of the spirit of the subject.
This painting uses single strokes that are combined to show the spirit before the artist. The strokes are small set against a muted background that emphasizes the painting. For many years, only back ink was used diluted with water in this watercolor technique. Eventually, artists began using red ink. Many present day Sumie artists also use other watercolor paints to broaden the color palette in their artwork.
The artist’s signature is a major part of this art form. Traditionally, the artist signed their name with a stamp, called a “chop.” Chops are usually red because that color symbolizes good luck in China and Japan. Many artists sign with the chop only. Some Western artists also add their signature near the chop so it can be read by people who can’t read Chinese.
Chops are often the artist’s name in Chinese characters. However, they may also be symbols of other things that mean something to the artist. I designed my own chop, which is seen in all my paintings above my signature. I used a symbol of my name, Sharyn, from the Rose of Sharon to design my chop. I researched and discovered that the Rose of Sharon is a member of the hibiscus family. Happily, I also realized that the hibiscus is a flower often painted in Sumie. So I painted my own tiny hibiscus for my chop design.
Please enjoy the Asian brush paintings in this gallery!
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