Japanese Ink-Painting: Lessons in Suiboku Technique

Japanese Ink-Painting: Lessons in Suiboku Technique

Japanese Ink-Painting: Lessons in Suiboku Technique

Japanese Ink-Painting: Lessons in Suiboku Technique

Excerpt

Suiboku painting is a special type of Oriental art. It is a branch or part of the general classification of sumi-e. Sumi-e means, literally, ink-picture. Suiboku means ink-and-water. The main emphasis in suiboku is the shading of black ink into gray--contained in one brush-stroke. The purpose of this book is to teach the beginner the fundamental technique of suiboku painting. I will try to explain this technique as simply as possible, using pictures and illustrations, so that even the amateur can learn by himself and enjoy suiboku as a hobby. The amateur should not be bound by former habits and rules but should learn to express easily and freely in individual style the feeling obtained from nature. That this spirit of expression may be reached is my sincere desire.

Suiboku painting has been enjoyed as a hobby for the amateur throughout the centuries in the Orient. The ink monochrome was recognized as an art form as far back in history as 1066. There were two general styles of these monochromes: those of professional painters, and those of the learned scholars who painted with brush and ink for the pleasure of it. These bunjin (men of letters) of old China were a little different from the literati of today. They were always available for service to their country as ministers or premiers, but after a crisis was over they would return to their quiet life of writing and painting. These amateurs were not bound by the standards set by the professional painters, and their paintings emphasized spirit, not technique.

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