Japanese New Year Card (年賀状) Sumi-E Workshop - Vikingess Voyages

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Japanese New Year Card (年賀状) Sumi-E Workshop

Sumi-e (墨絵) is a traditional ink wash painting style introduced to Japan in the Muromachi-period (1338-1573) through Korea. Although sumi-e originally was developed in China during the Tang-dynasty (618-907) it gained its own characteristic style in Japan by masters like Sesshu Toyo and under the influence of Zen Buddhism.

Sumi-e is still popular in modern Japan, and I've been lucky to meet Mimi Wada who is an contemporary sumi-e artist. She arranges workshops for people interested in learning to make sumi-e paintings, and since the year is coming to an end she gathered a group of interested painters (an amateurs like me) for a New Year card workshop.

Next year we enter the year of the horse, making the animal a natural choice considering the design for this year's New Year cards.
How to make a sumi-e horse
We received handouts from Mimi-san showing how to paint the horse step by step. Still, it was quite hard to make the horse look as natural as Mimi-san's version of the horse. Seemed like the other participants also had a lot more experience than me, so I kinda was the only one making somewhat disproportionate horses with crooked legs.

At least I made some improvement throughout the lesson

Mimi-san demonstrating
Mimi-san and Yuki

This is what it looks like when you're a Sumi-e master. Work by Mimi.
...And this is what is looks like when you're an amateur. Still, not too bad though.
Again, Mimi-san's skills are "slightly" better then mine..
Le saint opera decorated with Mimi-san's sumi-e scroll
All in all it was a great chance to learn more about sumi-e and its painting techniques. And now I also have my own original New Year cards to send of to some friends! Just hope they'll ignore my lack of artistic skills.. Oh well, it's the thought that counts, isn't it?? ^^

Mimi's sumi-e scroll has been exhibited in Le saint opera since mid-November.
For more information about Mimi's Sumi-e art, check out her website Sumiracle
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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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