Sumi-e in Three Weeks Author:Sadami Yamada Instructional book about the art of Sumi-e: — "The type of painting known as sumi-e forms one of the great traditions of Far Eastern Art. Its primary colors are black and white. Sumi, the ink from which this painting takes its name (sumi, "Chinese" or "Indian" ink; e, picture), is considered in Far Eastern aesthetics to have five color values, ... more »and the ink painting that developed from this approach to ink is distinguised by simplicity, lucidity and elegance of style.
Sumi-e are painted on white paper as pure and clean as fresh-fallen snow, and the tonal variations of the monochrome ink with which the subjects are given form represent a direct expression of the emotions.
Expression in sumi-e is simple beauty. The desired expression cannot be achieved through the use of delicate lines throughout, for they have a tendency to be merely descriptive in ink painting. The essential nature of a thing however can be condensed in a few abbreviated strokes, and the spontaneous feeling of the individual can be expressed through the subtle tonal variations produced by the brush.
Neither light and shade nor backgrounds are painted in sumi-e. The white untouched areas of the paper serve as background, but these areas must not be thought of as merely paper without any significance. The white areas have a profound meaning, for they give the painting a sense of spatial depth, they produce a sense of elegance and refinement, they perfect the idealistic concept and they introduce vitality into the painting. Sumi-e may, in fact, be called 'the art of white blankness.'"« less