Darlene, a native Washingtonian, is a retired teacher who spent half her career in the South Pacific with husband, Merle, and two children. She came full circle about 15 years ago and settled in Gig Harbor.
The love for SUMI-E, a Japanese word which means painting a picture with black ink, began over forty years ago following a few days in Japan. She began studying and painting sumi on her own until 1999 when she discovered the Puget Sound Sumi Artists organization. She continually takes classes from the group's masters. Darlene also teaches sumi classes to all ages, enters shows and festivals, and does demonstrations. As well as studying the traditional sumi-e, she adds Asian watercolors to her work and creates sumi mixed media. She's also a member of the Peninsula Art League.
A painting session begins by grinding the sumi stick with water on a grinding stone to make black ink, and then making a dish of grey ink. The animal hair bamboo brush is dipped in water, grey ink, then black. Grasping the brush in the middle with arm off the table, basic calligraphy strokes are made on rice paper to create images. Whatever the final image, creating a work of art is an experience within itself, a journey recording a brief moment in time.
Studying and painting sumi is a constant in Darlene's life. Her goal is to improve as a sumi artist although she will always be "a beginner" in this spontaneous, simplistic, spiritual style of painting.