Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Japanese sumie art and programming/designing

Sumie is Japanese brush art and painting. It was brought to Japan by priests travelling through Asia especially China, along with a new religion Buddhism. Here's a link about Sumie "There are few basic elements that have to be present in a good sumie painting: line, color, rythm and balance. Line has to be 'alive', and its quality shows when looking at its speed, thickness, texture and color. Colors, expressed by shades of black ( which actually is never black because of the usually slightly blue shade of the ink ) must have depth - otherwise the picture looks flat. The subject of painting has to be studied before the actual painting and not during creation - fixing, repairing, unnecessary additional lines and painting over a sketch shows up in the painting as luck of understanding of the subject, lack of confidence and makes the picture look dead, without rythm, boring and unclean. Empty space is also very important in sumie, and having the whole sheet of paper covered with ink and every spot covered makes a painting not a sumie painting.There is no room for hesitation in sumie - that is why it takes usually several times until the desired painting is created. It can be achieved only by being relaxed and at the same time very focused during painting. In Zen sumie the painter plays a role of an observer, and does not directly express personal self in a painting - otherwise the essence of the painted subject gets lost. Painting as a woman or a man makes the painting 'sexual' and the painting becomes unbalanced. The source of creating has to come from a deeper place than our sexuality. The artists mind should be clear, relaxed but aware, disciplined. Worrying results in failure, but so carefree does."

These principles could just as easily be applied when programming or designing anything. Like drawing, riding a bike, reading once the component skills are learnt you can do it for life. Given a basic tool you can start adding new parts to the tool and away you go. Progress is measured by practice, refinement of technique and learning what to use the skills for.

In Western contemporary drawing there are five basic component skills - perceptual skills. There are the perception of edges, the perception of spaces, the perception of relationships, the perception of lights and shadows, the perception of the whole or gestalt.

Generator tools can help in understanding or visualising a system but it's the implementation and the skills built over time to produce the results that should be emphasized and rewarded.