Water and Ink

In high school I developed a love of art, particularly painting with watercolors. I enjoyed the delicate brush strokes and the way time passed around me while I slowly built up a careful painting. When I started university, I stopped painting. I made excuses about not having room to bring my supplies to college and being too busy, but those were simply excuses. I don’t know why I stopped painting. I do know that with every passing year, the idea of picking up my brushes again became increasingly daunting. Recently, I’ve been watching one of my friends and his dedication to improving his guitar skills. He’s mostly self-taught, but I’ve watched him keep up with very difficult songs. It’s clear he’s put in a lot of work despite having an incredibly heavy workload in college. Listening to his covers, I decided I wanted to try to stop making excuses and just paint.

I had been interested for a while in exploring the Ink Wash painting style. The style has been practiced across East and Southeast Asia since the fifth century, and is known for being a simple expressionistic art form. Although the actual traditional technique is far beyond my ability, I’ve decided to try to capture the spirit of Ink Wash with watercolors. It’s a difficult form, but I think if I start by trying to reproduce actual Ink Wash paintings, I may be able to get a feel for the style. Then, perhaps, I’ll be able to take some of my photos from my time in China and Japan and adapt them into the style.

It may seem like an odd pursuit for an overworked college student, but I want to learn this new technique for myself. I haven’t pursued many hobbies since I began university, and I don’t want to lose all of my hobbies from my youth. Also, it would be worth the effort if I could actually someday master Ink Wash. It’s a beautiful art form, and I’d love to be able to contribute to its tradition.

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