Our June 28 Incubator Meeting was fun and hands-on! We had a full group, with students visiting from a summer program at Amherst College, along with our usual community participants. This meeting was all about individuality, both accepting our own and seeing the beauty in that of others. Our guest this week, artist Ann Burton, demonstrated the beauty of individuality with two traditional Japanese jackets. Each jacket was elegantly understated on the outside, but when turned inside-out, they reveal a beautiful. She explained that this illustrates an important concept of the Japanese, that each person has something different and beautiful within them, that is not visible to the eye.
Burton introduced the group to Sumi painting, an art form that the Japanese picked up from the Chinese. Sum painting involves painting images of bamboo with just water, ink, and a pointed paint brush. We began with a breathing exercise, which involved gentle arm motions to symbolize taking in the energy of the Earth, Sun, and those around you, then sending that energy back out into the world. She encouraged us to do this breathing exercise at the start of everyday. Then, she taught us Sumi painting: we are informed to dip our brushes in the water, then the ink, and simply hold the brush at the top and move our arms rather than our wrist. This way, the brush would do most of the work for us. Ann wanted us to note how different each of our paintings came out, despite everyone using the same technique. She closed the meeting by telling us that, even though we were not trying to share the beautiful inside of our Japanese jackets, we did through our expression with Sum painting.
By: Laura Flynn