Sumi-e Artists of Canada











Graduation Ceremony - June 13, 2015

Seeing the finished sumi-e paintings tells the story of this year's graduates. Each artist that received a seal, which marks a kind of graduation, spent several years with brushes and rice paper to reach a point when a sumi-e painting became their own statement through this ancient art.

Understanding the work involved to reach this special moment in time was conveyed by Sumi-e Artists of Canada President, Gary Bist. Each bug, rock, tree, animal, person and landscape painted formed the development of the person as much as mastery of an art.

Roslyn Levin, an accomplished sumi-e artist and instructor and our Membership Executive, described her journey as a sumi-e artist. It began while working in a variety of art mediums that led to an encounter with a well-known sumi-e instructor in Ottawa. Roslyn reminded those receiving their seals that none of us ever stops learning in the sumi-e painting world.

Michael Byrnes conveyed his interest in sumi-e painting expressively. His painting was a blend of Canadiana. He told the attending friends, family and other artists how the elements of mountains, pines, and the canoeing Canadians came to be!

Michael's work used reflections on water and shading to present a unique place to the viewer. The sky also is very much a part of his balanced landscape.

Michael added his seal and signature to the records for graduating sumi-e artists. These records of artists receiving their seals go back over 30 years.

Pine trees have a special fascination for Henry Lobbenberg, which he explained to all of us. Each tree has a character that emerges from its knotted, twisted trunk and branches.

The twin pines that dominate Henry's painting draw the viewer into this natural though contemplative setting. The pines are offset by rocks in a captivating mix of living and inanimate nature.

Henry's seal and signature were added to the Sumi-e Artists of Canada collection.

Nobuko Khan told us that she wanted to paint her image for a while. A Mount Fuji like mountain is central yet framed by other elements of nature.

Whiter and darker shades of ink create a dynamic mix that makes you explore the painting. Water plays a role in tying the pine tree, an island and the distant shore together.

Hiroshi Yamamoto, sumi-e painting instructor at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, presented Nobuko with her seal.

Monica Chow explained that she was drawn to sumi-e art by its simplicity and transformative power. A sumi-e work can express so much by so few strokes of the brush.

Monica's sumi-e painting effectively uses light, medium and dark ink, with a variety of seemingly simple brush strokes, to ceate a memorable landscape. A few birds echo the solitude of the place.

Monica added her seal and signature to our collection of sumi-e artists.

Janice Bennitt-O'Callaghan was intrigued by this defiant looking bird. Janice tried to capture the bird's defiance in the midst of a striking, stormy environment.

Janice's sumi-e painting captures the nature of this bird. The interplay of the weather, the bird and the setting provides a second, larger nature.

Janice's seal and signature were also added to the record of sumi-e artists' seal imprints.

The graduation ceremony is also a social occasion. Thank you Linda Nakatsu for hosting our event!

Our graduates gathered for a group photo. From left-to-right: Janice Bennitt-O'Callaghan, Michael Byrnes, Monica Chow, Nobuko Khan and Henry Lobbenberg.

We left with a positive reminder to all of us to continue our development. Learning never ends.