膠絵 Japanese Mineral and Organic Dye painting
True colors, Earth and Nature
My heart for art was fostered from my home country. After I spent half of my lifetime in the South Eastern US and experimented with a large variety of colors and materials as a visual artist, I wanted to revisit my original heritage. The Japanese mineral painting method is a complex technique. These materials all come from our mother earth, and I have a profound appreciation for them. My life has drifted me through lots of unexpected experiences. These different situations and newfound people have enriched me. I feel that this meticulous process is meaningful, important, interesting, and serves to inspire within me the true essence of art.
My art is created for you to feel that your life is being part of this sweet earth and love within our universe.
The natural mind of art
This painting is Japanese style distemper on paper. The colors are from organic dye and mineral pigments. The binding agent is collagen (glue) called nikawa, which usually comes from deer or rabbit, and then leveled with water. The paper surface is treated with alum and nikawa leveled with water and then as gesso, sun dried oyster shell white that is calcium carbonate is used to treat the surface before paint colors. The pigment gives its own personality. The colors are from velvet mat finish to dazzling sparkles, which are best seen under lights. Each color and texture is mixed with nikawa, by hand with fingers in small dish, and leveled with water to change its strength of luminance. This method has been traditional way in large area of Asia, but the method has particularly been preserved by Japanese art culture for over 1000 years. The substrate is durable hand-skimmed paper Kozo Washi. This Washi is made from mulberry bark, wrapped twice on a birch wood panel. If you wish, you can separate the art from the wood panel and use a different kind of framing.
It inspires me, after all.
I have busy days and many tasks and I have realized that our life is a “Battle with time”. Therefore, my “Nihonga” process of painting is inspiring. This lengthy conversation of using earthen materials is meaningful. It allows me to realize and appreciate each step. It has deepened and fulfilled my art and it became worthy to share. I feel fortunate to all the elements of earth, sea, water and wood that exist together at the moment with us.