My Journey as a Sumi-e , Pencil drawing Artist

by | Aug 30, 2011 | 0 comments

My Journey as a Sumi-e , Pencil drawing Artist blog illustration


I was born in Yerevan, Armenia It was part of the former Soviet Union, and freedom of expression in any form was severely restricted. Nevertheless, I found refuge in the study of biology, which presented me with means of connecting with nature’s own creativity.

At the age of 20, I immigrated to Montreal, Canada where I continued my studies in biology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Sir George Williams University, now Concordia University. In my first job as research assistant at McGill University, I used light and electron microscopes as tools of investigation. I felt that I was observing the symbiosis of living organisms, their inexorable interrelation, the vitality and somewhat veiled simplicity of life.

Initially, my art developed out of this understanding and was inspired by the organic shapes of the microscopic world, by plant and animal forms, and by the human figure. In 1986 I graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art.
I continued my work as a scientist after moving to Ottawa with my young family, in 1989. I practiced my art whenever time permitted. The opportunity to study Sumi-e, or Japanese brush painting, came to me when I met and studied with the noted artist Tomoko Kodama, whose breathing brush method opened new means of self-expression.
Health challenges have lead me to other Eastern philosophies and practices in addition to Sumi-e, such as tai chi, Taoism and Zen Buddhism.
I paint, draw, and try to live with their teachings. I use graphite pencil or ink and graphite to draw my human figures, where the emphasis is on capturing the mood or energy in a minimalist way. I use spare, suggestive outlines and shades to emphasize the contrasts between dark and light – yin and yang energies. My paintings are in Sumi-e style, based on classic Chinese and Japanese calligraphic strokes. I aim at rendering the spirit, or chi, rather than the semblance of an object or person. My growing experience reveals to me more of the parallels that exist between tai chi, art, and life.


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