World of Sumi – Artist Statements

Alice Liou
I always feel very close to nature and appreciate its beauty and healing power. Being an art enthusiast, I am inspired to capture nature’s energy and serenity in my work. Painting wildlife and mountains reminds me of their music and spirit!

Using sumi ink and watercolor in my art brings more excitement to the process. The transition between the light and the dark brings extra sparks where needed. The splash of colors creates harmony and contrast where they belong. And the rhythm among the objects reveals a path where they become live again!

It's most rewarding when I’m able to express the spirit of the object in my work. I hope through my paintings, the viewers could also feel the magic of the nature that I love. Website:  

Barbara Yunker
ASIA GIRL: For a number of years I have done traditional sumi-e (painting using Asian sumi ink.) The last year or so I have started to combine collage and digital markup. The painting of the girl was done using sumi ink on tea-stained rice paper. The light red squares are my Asian name insignia or "chop." To the original painting I combined paper collage, then mounted everything to a black board, then did digital markup in my phone.

I think this may be about remembering the old ways of traditional Japanese culture and realizing that this way of life has largely given way now to the adoration of Western cultural values.

RIDGE DANCE: I paint to music. As the music moves me, the brush, and the ink—we let the dance begin! This work is Asian sumi ink on mulberry paper, and takes us high in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest—exalting in ridge upon glorious ridge—a happy place for me. (I’ve hiked the length of the Pacific Crest Trail through Washington.) The small red mark is my “chop” or Asian insignia, a stylization of my initials.

SIERRA—ARTIFACTS AND MEMORIES: To create this artwork, I did sumi-e on the beige paper, then mounted it to white rice paper to create the deckle edge. This was mounted to the black textured paper, and then a larger field of white, finally overlayed with small paper “hash marks” and stones. The red mark is my “chop” or Asian insignia.

The stones and their placement acknowledge the centering—or spiritually restoratative--qualities of our natural world. The hash marks could be a derivation of the sun symbol rays of Native American art. To me they enhance the image’s sense of balance and order.

Dorothy Matthews
For me, bamboo symbolizes the stages of living for each of us.
From birth through thriving periods, decline, and renewal we can consider similarities in our own lives. Think how bamboo successfully adapts to many difficult conditions.

Notice how the old culm, survivor of seasons and storms, manifests visible new growth along its bent stem, while new potentials push to light from unseen roots. As with each of us, bamboo’s life cycle can be simultaneous, not just sequential.

The power of Light – however each of us understands it – is represented by the red-gold circle near the painting center.

Sumi-e, watercolor, acrylic on distressed foil

Judy Kalin
For me, painting is a process of suggesting information and mood to the viewer by means of shape, color, line and value on ANY given surface. I attempt to relate to the viewer emotionally. Often, the viewer completes the form, loses edges, changes shapes, enlivens or subdues colors as they bring their own experience and recognition to each painting.

I am continually intrigued by the beauty around us and the ever-changing landscapes that our Lord has created. My joy is to attempt to create a fresh understanding of what He has already created.

Sally Penley
Most of my fine arts career has been focused on painting and Western calligraphy, but in recent years, I have been exploring the wonders of “sumi mark-making.”  The organic, wabi-sabi results of this process are always surprising and satisfying.  I enjoy combining the raw sumi images with my more-disciplined calligraphic work. 

My favorite tools of choice are beautiful, handcrafted Lebenzon brushes, the foam brush and simple pieces of cut-up mat board.  Making marks with these tools is truly a joyous and meditative process for me.