I first began to explore the art of the brush while living in Nagasaki, Japan. What drew me to sumi-e was the lure of expressing the essence of a subject through a few eloquent brush strokes. After decades of study, I have come to respect the deceptive simplicity of sumi-ink brush painting. At its core, it is an art form composed of interlocking skills and ways of seeing that are centuries old and part of a very different culture. The more I study, the more I am drawn ever deeper into the mystery that is brush painting.
Over the years I have been gifted with extraordinary artist/teachers who have generously shared their knowledge and their passion. Even though my life has taken twists and turns, I have continued to study brush painting and Japanese calligraphy. I earned a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary social science, embraced a full-time academic career including both teaching and publishing, I married, raised a family, and created an Asian arts and antiques business. Today, I divide my time between painting and pursuing independent scholarly research.
In 2007 I was designated Master of Sumi-e by the N.E. School of Sumi-E. My paintings have been exhibited in many invitational solo and juried group shows in the greater Boston area. In 2013, the Weston Community Cable station created a group of short videos on my work and my painting activity.
In my painting I draw on the rich vocabulary of techniques and rules of composition developed over centuries in China and Japan. In addition I also enjoy exploring modern possibilities for expression inherent in the traditional materials of ink, brush and rice paper. My natural preference is for the straightforward graphic style of Japanese painting and its comfort with open space. On the other hand, I also enjoy capturing the complex and energetic style of Chinese painting. Today in my painting I move between the classical repertoire of both traditions and those modern techniques and styles I have developed as my own.
My signature in Chinese characters is rendered in black ink and is found on all of my paintings. It reads “Linka” in Japanese or “Lin Hwa” in Chinese. The meaning of the characters is “forest flower”. My first teacher in Japan gave me this name. He viewed me as a Western female painter - a flower - in the forest of Asian male painters. The red “chop” mark or seal which sits below my signature represents the same characters, but each seal expresses these characters in a different style. All of my seals have been made by my teachers.
My greatest pleasure is to share my work with others. My paintings have been described as serene and authentic. When people tell me that my work touches them, I am gratified. My paintings are found in collections throughout the United States and Europe, and I am very pleased that people have chosen to include my work in their lives.
I have painted using sumi ink, brush and rice-paper for all of my adult life. I enjoy the constant challenge of mastering the materials – brush, ink, paper – and the rules for composition that derive from centuries of practice. With the brush, I can produce any kind of line, form or wash; the ink color can range from deepest black to silvery gray; the mood can be formal, meditative or playful; the subject matter can be anything from the natural world. The possibilities for artistic expression are limitless.
Brush painting is very firmly rooted in the Asian world, expressing its values and history. I view my painting as one way to create a bridge between East and West. Through my painting, teaching, and demonstrations I strive to expand our understanding of these other cultures. As part of this effort, I have increasingly focused on developing ways to fuse East and West in my painting style, use of materials, and subject matter.
What most intrigues me about brush painting is the potential for capturing ch’i, the breath of the natural world. Brush painting is authentic, but not always realistic. I don't seek to imitate or master nature; rather I hope to participate in the natural world by seeking harmony with it. When others derive pleasure through my work, experiencing it in their own way, I feel my efforts have been successful. Through my painting we have made a meaningful connection.
Nagasaki, Japan Municipal Museum (two shows: painting and photography)
Market Street Gallery – Brighton MA
Artists’ Crossing Gallery – Boston, MA
Mary Jo Rines Gallery – Weston, MA
Touch Gallery – Cambridge, MA
Weston Library – Weston, MA
Norumbega Point Gallery - Weston, MA
Juried Group Exhibitions
Cambridge Art Association Red Show
Belmont Art Gallery – Belmont, MA (several shows)
Newton Open Studios Fall juried shows – Newton, MA Special Juror’s Prize yearly, and Cash Prize 2015
Mother Brook Art Center – Dedham, MA
New TV Gallery – Newton, MA (several shows)
New Song Artists’ Cooperative
Belmont Artist Association
Newton Open Studios
Chinese Painters Guild of Boston
Sumi Society of America
Belmont Art Association
Newton Art Association
New Song Artists’ Coop
Teaching, lectures, and demonstrations
Director of the Art History Program – New England Institute of Technology, Rhode Island
Ceramics Program, Office for the Arts at Harvard, Harvard University
Weston Library/Weston Community Television
Newton Art Association
Belmont Art Association