Why Do I Paint Sumi-e

by | Oct 26, 2016 | 2 comments

As promised in my previous blog post, I am sharing my thoughts on why I like to paint in Sumi-e style and spirit. I could write a book on this and no matter what I say, I will not do justice to it.
To keep it simple, throughout the years of art schooling at Concordia University and studying the Master’s works, most of the time I felt overwhelmed by the profusion of information depicted in them… all those colours, lines, nuances, details…. Of course I admired the skillfulness and the mastery of the artist, but personally, most of the time much more enjoyed the viridity of the sketches and studies the Masters created for practice or for use in their composition of the final paintings. Those sketches are fresh and alive. They carry the energy and the mood of the subject…. all is there for the experience, nothing more is needed…. for me.
I think when we look at a painting and if the artist is successful, what we notice at first is that energy, the essential. In my opinion, the painting is successful when the Master succeeds to transmit that essential energy in his/her artwork. Unfortunately often that energy ends up being lost in the extensive and sometimes (for me) excessive information and description. Of course, I am not underestimating the skill and the mastery of these “excesses”.
I have felt that there is excess not only in art but in life as well. So, I have searched for ways of drawing or painting that shows what is the inherent essence of the subject matter. As, in my life, I sought for the essential in life’s chatter and excessive detail.
Sumi-e and its supporting philosophies gave me the inner understanding, the ability to see beyond the detail and the language to communicate that. Through Sumi-e painting, I have not only found access to the subtle world around me but most importantly, within. For me, Sumi-e is not a technique, a way of creating an artwork but a way of living.
In my classes, and in upcoming online  classes, I aim to teach the art of painting and the art of living Sumi-e……


  1. Keena Friedrichsmeier

    Thank you for your insight. I came across your work via an article you wrote on the philosophical differences between eastern and western art-making. It was very interesting! Your artwork is beautiful and I look forward to seeing more of it, & reading your blog.
    I'd be interested in your online classes when you have them ?

  2. Lilith Ohan

    Thank you Keena. Enjoy your art as well….the texture, colours, the spirit… Nice to connect!


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