In PIGMENT TOKYO, there are professional staffs who have knowledge about art materials. Here's a new series of articles about the practical usage of art materials, “Art Material Prescription by PIGMENT expert”.
For the first article, let’s ask Natsumi Yamasato, an instructor who have classes related to Japanese Painting at PIGMENT, about the techniques of Sumi (ink) as base metarials.
Sumi is often used as Japanese calligraphy or Chinese landscape painting, however,she says that we can use it as a base material as well.
-Is this gesso? It has a mysterious color.
This is a base material mixed with Sumi and Bologna Gesso.
-Speaking of Gesso Bologna, isn’t it mostly use as base materials for oil painting?
You can paint on Gesso Bologna by using mineral pigment.
It is also available to make grey base materials by painting grey on white gesso ground though it is difficult to paint it evenly. Therefore, by mixing Sumi with gesso in the process of preparation, you can paint grey evenly.
Of course, you can change the color of grey by using different types of Sumi.
For example, I used brownish Sumi, “Shukou” for the left one, and blue Sumi “Gansui” for the right one. By adjusting the grey color’s consistency, you can express the exquisite texture that solid Sumi has by using gesso ground.
-Could you tell me how to make this?
For this gesso ground, make putty gesso by the weight-ratio of gesso1.5 to rabbit glue (10%) and add Sumi with your preference. Then, paint on the panel that stick cotton cloth on by using spatula. After you dried, it’s completed.
-So anyone can make it with this process.
Because of the process and preparation of making classical Gesso is troublesome, we couldn’t choose this method easily.
This method was developed by professor Yoshiaki Aoki at Kyoto University of Art and Design, and it has been used for a long time among students.
This is the Gesso ground’s recipe and technique that everyone can use.
If you want to know more details of this method, we recommend you to join the workshop “Tips to Make Classic Gesso Ground”.
-Did you paint this silk with Sumi too?
For this one, I dyed with vegetable dyes by mixing Sumi and plant-based dyestuff called bayberry (Yamamomo).
Silk is originally white-based, so you can also cover the light color with pigments.
However, as I told you earlier, it’s not easy to make the ground even when you use a flat brush. This technique dyes the cloth itself, so anyone can try and be able to make the ground evenly.
-Can we dye another color aside from this color?
By changing the types of plants and Sumi, it is available to make various colors of ground, such as yellow, red, black, and more.
The color I used this time is antique coloring, so I chose the color refer to the copying work. Speaking of silk, you may have the image of white-based materials though by doing this, a various expression is available.
This silk looks tasteful.
I stretched silk on a wooden frame, then dyed like painting over heavily with simmered plant-based dyestuff by adding the proper quantity of Sumi.
- Sumi has a lot of techniques.
We tend to associate Sumi with Japanese calligraphy（Shuji）, Water and ink painting（Suiboku）though by adding a small amount of Sumi to the existing prescription, you can customize your ground materials!
Whoever wants to cultivate the new expressions, feel free to ask art materials experts in our store.