Write Me a Sonnet, 9x11" Ink on Paper

"From Beyond the Known Country"


These are Sumi-e ink stroke paintings on paper which are my minimalist version of “literati painting,” an ancient Asian ink wash practice. In the Chinese and Japanese technique, strokes of ink are applied to paper or silk in a meditative method for simplified, open strokes using a variety of paintbrushes or bamboo wood reed pens. The gradations of light to dark areas are manipulated by diluting with water, as in watercolor painting. The subjects are historically landscapes, with natural elements like plants, hills, mountains, clouds, and rivers. Often the viewing perspective is from above, looking out over a valley or down into a city. I used many of these natural themes in my work, but investigating landscape from a contemporary, frontal perspective. I work on the paintings first as a clarifying horizon line in one or a few strokes of my paintbrush, then thinning with water to soften the edges. Although I realize these paintings chiefly horizontally, they can be turned sideways to appear as leaves or feathers branching upwards or downwards into space. The lack of reference points allows the viewer to interpret these as natural objects, atmospheric clouds, waves or landscapes.