Sachie Saigusa-Sensei and her Sumie Society of Hawaii students concluded their 17th annual exhibition of Japanese brush paintings at Honolulu Hale with a celebration luncheon on May 3. The Moiliili Chapter organized this year’s exhibit and the luncheon program, which was held at the Pagoda Floating Restaurant’s C’est Si Bon banquet room.
Saigusa-Sensei presented sumie student Stephanie Pauling with her Beginner Certificate of Achievement. Pauling, a student at Makua Alii, has been learning sumie drawing for five years.
“For the first two months I painted bamboo leaves, hundreds of them,” Pauling said. She said she learned over the years that, “It is the kimochi (feeling) we must express with each stroke. I realize the feeling of calm is necessary to paint. Each painting has something to offer. My painting is not to compare, [but to] tap into my kimochi.”
Saigusa-Sensei has been teaching sumie painting for over 30 years. Classes are held at Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin, Makua Alii, Moiliili Community Center, in Wahiawä and through Hilo Hongwanji on the Big Island.
With Sumie Society of Hawaii president Fujiko Motobu translating, Saigusa-Sensei expressed her philosophy of sumie painting and life with a poem written by former Emperor Akihito’s grandmother: “The morning’s first reflection in the mirror shows no mist nor haze, I see nothing but beautiful images.”
“Like this poem, life can be full of sadness or happiness,” said Saigusa-Sensei. “However, the beautiful relaxing sumie art, which is painted daily can fulfill ourselves with a beautiful life. Let us continue to live a beautiful life through our sumie art work.”