Sumi-e is Japanese monochrome ink painting, a technique first developed in China during the Song dynasty (960–1279) and brought to Japan by Zen Buddhist monks in the mid-fourteenth century.
Sumi means ‘black ink’ and e means ‘painting’ in Japanese, hence the word sumi-e is used for painting that uses black ink and mineral colours on rice paper and requires a special brush and diluted ink. Leon mostly uses cold black ink, which he considers velvety and which spills out into all the shades of grey within a single brushstroke. Sometimes he combines it with brown tones or adds blue.
He paints in single strokes, proceeding from a meditative connection between his hand and mind, which directly touch upon the viewer’s sensuality.
A minimalist Japanese aesthetic brings zen into any room.
2006, sumi-e, 37 x 50 cm (framed artwork)