In China, people started using brushes even before the 11th century BC. Later, it was introduced to Japan and used for copying Buddhist scriptures as well as making administrative documents. Since there were many large temples like Todai-ji, which is famous for the Great Buddha Statue, the ancient capital Nara became the major production center for brushes.

If you have a chance to visit a traditional art material shop in Japan, you would be overwhelmed by rich variety of brushes. The kinds of animal hairs used for brushes are goat, horse, deer, racoon dog, weasel, rabbit and so on. …

Sumi-e painted Kimono

Years ago, a gallery owner told me that her uncle was a painter who suffered from bad health. She believed this was caused by the chemical art materials he used.

If you are a painter of Sumi-e (Japanese traditional ink painting), you are lucky! You will only use natural materials.

First of all, Sumi is a black ink stick made of soot and Nikawa (animal glue).

There are many kinds of Sumi, but they can be roughly divided into two types; brownish Sumi and bluish Sumi. It depends on what kind of soot was used.

For brownish Sumi, oil (rape…

The most important thing when you paint Sumi-e (Japanese traditional ink painting) is to try not to paint well. What does that mean?

First of all, try to find something beautiful and observe it closely. If it is a strawberry, touch, smell and taste it. If it is a rose, buy one and decorate your room. If it is a dog, stroke his hair and listen to his barking. If it is a tiger, keep your distance! Just observe her at your closest zoo.

You will know how the strawberry seeds line up. You will count up how many flower…

Tamayo Samejima

Sumi-e (Japanese traditional ink painting) Painter, Online Sumi-e Classes, Items on Etsy

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