The Bow by Patricia Larkin Green


A turning point for me was learning to paint Sumi-e, (East Asian ink wash painting), where my goal is to capture the soul of the subject. When I paint a flower I am freed from reproduction and inspired to convey its movement and fragrance. Less is more.

Although I mostly paint with oils, Sumi-e ink painting largely informs my work. I plan the canvas and palette ahead of time, freeing myself when I am in the act of creating. My palette knife is one of my favorite tools, because I can blend and carve the oil paint. The texture is sensual and meditative, like grinding the ink stick in water on stone to make the wash.

When painting with ink, a single stroke can produce astonishing variations in tonality, from Frans Hals’ black to silvery Wyeth gray. Every brush-touch must be full-charged with meaning, with useless detail eliminated.

When I paint my intent is to let each mark of my brush meet the canvas as an extension of my state of mind.


Currently Larkin Green teaches sumi-e (Asian ink painting) at The Japanese Culture Center and Japanese Arts Foundation. Proceeds from her work (including sales from artwork, Sumi-e workshops, Big Brush performances, curatorial projects and speaking engagements) benefit The Japanese Arts Foundation (click here to make a donation).

 “I am grateful for all I’ve learned from generous artists and teachers that came before me. Now I hope to share what I know to help liberate the creativity in others to discover what they are capable of. ” 


Copyright © Patricia Larkin Green