About Sumie

Sumie is a form of Japanese ink painting, and is an art done in monochrome, with the use of ink and Japanese paper.  “Sumie”  is literally a combination of 2 Japanese words – “sumi”( 墨)meaning black ink and “e”(絵)meaning picture.

Sumie has a deep connection with Zen philosophy. Zen and Sumie came from China around 800 years ago and then developed in an original Japanese way. ”Be conscious only in this moment” is a Zen teaching that is very applicable to Sumie.

Zen is a school of Buddhism which emphasises the practice of meditation as the key ingredient to awakening ones inner nature, compassion and wisdom.

  • National Galley of Victoria ( https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/artofzen/ed_zen_history.html)

Sumie was used as training for Zen Buddhists. In more recent times, Zen meditation has been reconceived as “mindfulness”, and has practically applied to business and life in general.  Meditation is used in offices and schools.

Sumie practice needs both the meditative and creative application of the mind – “creative meditation”. It requires a high level of concentration and a calm state of mind during the process.

The first step to produce a Sumie work is to make the ink by rubbing an ink stick, in quiet contemplation. 15-20 minutes is often spent in preparing the black ink.  It starts the drawing process and calms down one’s feelings, to help in drawing the best art.  It’s a kind of meditation.

In the second step, Sumie requires full concentration, as you can’t redraw or correct any mistakes. During the painting, you apply all your spirit, sense and concentration, while avoiding mistakes. The process mixes ultimate creativity and meditation, so emotions should be calm to produce the best results.

Please try and enjoy the workshop and experience this Sumie opportunity!

Ink art works