What is Sumi-e?
Sumi-e is inkwash brush painting originating from China over a thousand years ago, and embraced enthusiastically in Japan, Korea and now internationally. The name sumi-e literally means water+ink+painting 水墨畫.
Different names are used in different cultures:
- Chinese in Mandarin is shui-mo hua and in Cantonese is Sui Mak Wa (水墨畫)
- Japanese sumi-e (墨絵) or suibokuga (水墨画)
- Korean sumukhwa (수묵화)
You will find that I use the term ink wash painting, sumi-e, and sumi painting interchangeably here in this blog. But sometimes it is easier to use the shortest word sumi-e when typing.
Ink wash painting uses Chinese ink on Xuan paper. Different tones and shades are achieved by varying the ink density and brush pressure. It is not simply to reproduce the appearance of the subject, but to capture its soul.
When I paint, I follow my heart and go with the flow.