Sumi e and Suminagashi…expressive art for special needs children


Today I have been practising “mark making” in preparation for a workshop I will be taking with fellow artist, Jan Marinos, with special needs students. We will be getting the youngsters to explore making marks on various oriental papers. We will also introduce them to Japanese marbling… Suminagashi.

The marbling will give colourful patterns which they can overwork, if they so choose, with ink marks. For this marbling (suminagashi) we use Oriental papers such as Hoshu which need no preliminary treatment and have good wet strength. We will introduce participants to grinding their own ink using a solid ink stick and stone in the traditional way. This is a relaxing activity which focuses the mind in preparation for painting. We will then use soft Chinese brushes of various sizes to make expressive marks…. not necessarily the flowers etc which I painted, but more simple, expressive, non-representational,  mark making.

One of my works shown below, which combined Sumi e roses on marbled paper, I made into a fan employing a simple concertina fold method. The Hosho paper is very strong and easy to fold while retaining those folds well . With assistance from their aides, each participant in the Special Education workshop will make a fan. Other works will contribute to a joint mural/assemblage presentation at the final 2 day camp.

.Sumi esumiganashi on oriental papers  sumiganashi and Sumi e fan

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Botanical Art


KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI was Science (and Maths) teacher before I started on my journey as an artist so it is natural that botanical art holds some appeal. (my Uni major was in Environmental Science). Looking through some photos of older art works while preparing for an artist talk at a local art group, i came across this watercolour done whilst artist in residence at a local primary school. It shows some of the vegetation of Sykes Reserve in Railton, Tasmania.