March 03, 2007

Bei...

Between bits and pieces of past memories and bits and pieces of what I pick up on the web, my data can become quite skewed. I like to believe there is some element of truth in my sources, but darned if I can always trace it to fact.
Many years ago I studied Sumi-e, or Japanese brush painting. Not in any great depth but I did feel that it taught me to better brush control... didn't think much about the art form itself. But lots of it stuck, in particular I would often find a need for a dot of dark hovering somewhere near a main dark. I've always called these dots "bei" because that's what my teacher called them. You most often see them in or near the joints of bamboo in sumi-e paintings. Anyway, lots of times I would think or say, "What this painting needs is a little bei!" and slap down a dot of dark. But think I can find any kind of reference to bei on the Internet? Nada!
A few years ago (2003) I did a series of small abstracts called "Bei," part of which I'm featuring here today. The images showed up on my screen saver and I wanted to have a closer look since some could be considered early bokushos. There is a Beiten Method of Japanese painting which is a type of pointillism, so I feel the bei/dot relationship is valid in some way. Sure wish I had a fluent-in- Japanese neighbor!

These little paintings (part of a series of eight, 10x10 with maple frames) show that I CAN work with color... a challenge after limiting myself for a year. It's good to be reminded.

7 comments:

Jacie said...

Oh Karen, I just love these! I can't believe it! They are precisely what I was thinking about when I left the comment on your last post. How remarkable!

Ha! So I see you have already been to that destination. Really these are great!

Martha Marshall said...

Yes you can. But we already knew that.

Curtis Verdun said...

These small abstracts are absolutely great! They have so much drama, simple but strong compositions and very good color work. I may have to look into this "Bei".

Steven LaRose said...

I'm almost certain that I painted the one labeled Bei2-6.jpg. Are you sure you don't want to do show together?

Self Taught Artist said...

chunky, cryptic and mysterious...these are wonderful. I feel drawn into them, trying to understand what they are trying to say....its almost audible.
great work!

thealteredpage said...

Great colors and composition on these pieces.

Anonymous said...

I think you learned something very useful in Sumi-e. Your 'dotting' is very effective. Ann