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Shodo / Sumi-e

Japanese calligraphy, SHODO, is a form of artistic writing, of the Japanese language. 

SUMI-E is the Japanese word for black ink painting.


East Asian painting and writing developed together in ancient China using the same materials —brush and ink on paper. Emphasis is placed on the beauty of each individual stroke of the brush.

In 2015 I was in Nara, Japan. I took a calligraphy class from Naomi Yanai.

Something happened when the brush touched the paper and in a very primitive way a kanji character took shape. Since then working with East Asian calligraphy has been part of my Zen practice. 

In East Asia, calligraphy has been hailed as the highest of all art forms for more than 15 centuries.  With more than 80,000 Chinese characters and infinite graphic variations, the expressive potential is unlimited. Each work is a unique expression of the artist’s personality. The calligraphy script is a form of dancing each with its own rhythm. It takes me (for the moment) beyond thought and thru the brush and my body I get a glimpse of myself…beyond my “thinking mind.” There is a great deal of surprise in doing this work!  

Sumi-e has typical features such as simplicity and spontaneity that strikes the viewers’ sensibilities. All components of painting must be alive! This type of painting was introduced into Japan by Zen monks from China.  As in Zen practice, reality is expressed by reducing it to its pure, bare form.  Touch-ups, additions and decorations do not enhance a work, but rather hide its true nature. 

Currently, these works are not for sale.  But if you would like me. 

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