Art meets meditation in the ancient Asian technique of ink wash painting. A contemporary award winner will show how it’s done when the Lemont Artists Guild presents a demonstration by Patricia Larkin Green.
Because of construction at its regular home in the Lemont Public Library, the group will gather Oct. 21 in Homer Glen. Everyone with an interest in art is invited, guild President Liz Popp said.
For Larkin Green, the ink technique called sumi-e in Japanese incorporates elements of Zen painting.
“When you’re using the brush on the paper, it’s so sensitive … if you’re very quiet and centered and focused,” she said. “I’ll be looking at the translucence of an insect wing or a petal. The more you concentrate on that moment … you become what you’re painting. It’s like a breath just caressing the paper. It transfers. That moment of your breath and the brush and the paper is captured.”
Larkin Green was introduced to sumi-e at the Art Institute of Chicago, and was trained by Madeleine Stanley-Jossem, whom she calls her sensei, a Japanese term for teacher or master in an art. Now Larkin Green passes along the skills, offering talks and classes.
In her program for the Lemont Artists Guild, she will touch on the history and philosophy of ink wash, and will introduce the symbolic language that describes sumi-e, beginning with the materials referred to as the four treasures: ink stick, inkstone, brush and paper.
“I talk about the basic foundational brushstrokes – the four gentlemen,” she said. “These brushstrokes are bamboo, wild orchid, chrysanthemum and plum blossom. When you paint each of these gentlemen, you’re introduced to a large variety of different brushstrokes.”
Once comfortable with them, an artist can play and be expressive. The traditional sumi-e brush is handmade, its core containing stronger, stiffer hairs, while outside are softer hairs allowing a tapered point, she said.
Larkin Green begins each work with meditation.
“It’s very important for me to be centered,” she said. “The meditation helps center my thoughts, my attention, control my breathing. … [It’s] helped me transition from the hectic busy world of work life into a very quiet place in order to create … inhale beauty, exhale sumi-e.”
Popp said the guild offers programs on a variety of mediums each year, and awards a scholarship to a high school student in the arts.
Upcoming program topics include composition and night photography Nov. 18; member show and tell on Jan. 20; marbling Feb. 17; watercolor March 16; iconography and illuminated icons April 20; and photography lighting effects May 18.
Popp, an artist who holds a degree in illustration and a master’s in painting, said she has a passion for abstract.
“Life is more than what is in front of us,” her artist’s statement reads. “It is a gift to be able to reveal and express one’s inner self. There is more to life than just what is seen and heard. Art is an incredible way to create what otherwise would not be shown or put into words.”
Popp said the guild is a fun group, adding, “We really encourage people of all ages to join us. Come check out a meeting. Art is our way of fulfilling that need or desire to feel like we’re more than a number on a piece of paper.”
If you go
WHAT: Lemont Artists Guild program on sumi-e painting
WHERE: Homer Township Public Library, 14320 W. 151st St., Homer Glen
WHEN: 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21
INFO: Donation for food pantry appreciated; 815-341-1145, www.lemontartistsguild.org