Someone asked me about how to grind Sumi-e ink so I’ll show you all a few images with some info:

when painting Sumi-e one uses the 4 treasures: Sumi [ink stick], Suzuri [ink stone], washi [paper] and brush.
 here I have paper weights hold the paper. Brushes rest in a brush stand. Mosen [black felt] is used to absorb excess ink and to add spring to the paper.  Sumi-e literally means “black ink painting. Sumi [ink] and the “e” means painting.  It is an ancient oriental art form which tries to express as much as possible with only a few brush strokes.   This art originated in China and was introduced in Japan by Zen masters in the mid-thirteenth century.

Grinding the Ink This preliminary step this

Note: really hard to take a photo with left hand while grinding ink with the right hand. Does that make it true that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand does?

This preliminary step aids in achieving a meditative mood. It releases tension and focuses energy. In the presence of a small amount of water, you rub the inkstick against the ink stone in a clockwise, rhythmic motion. To start, hold the ink stick straight up, bracing it be­tween your thumb and forefin­ger. The end should be flat against the ink stone.. Rub the ink stick firmly on the ink stone. Use a slow, clockwise motion. You have to exert pressure, but the motion should be smooth and continu­ous. Find your rhythm. This rhythm will encourage the contemplative state of mind necessary for painting.. It’ll take a little while for the ink to become thick and creamy. At intervals, test your ink on a piece of scrap pa­per. If it’s rich, black and lus­trous, stop.. Dry off the end and prop the ink stick on the edge of the ink stone when finished grinding. Ink is taken directly from the suzuri. Occasionally you may need to re-strengthen the ink as you paint. Inkstones must be washed after every use to prevent residue build up.
 ink holder contains the small piece of my first ink stick…

Bamboo holder with the tiny piece of my first inkstick. I only l took my first lesson in 2002…

so that’s how you prepare for painting Sumi-e.