Sumi: Chinese Watercolor Painting

Painting by Yuming Zhu - A Whole Pond of Purity - Continuing Education at Seattle Central College

Class Overview

Have you ever been moved by the beauty of Chinese art? Learn about the unique philosophy and aesthetics of Chinese art while you experience the elegance of Sumi-style watercolor painting and calligraphy.   

In the Chinese style, you will learn to not just paint what you see, but paint what you feel. Painting with soul is the fundamental idea of Sumi painting and calligraphy. Learn skills and techniques of Sumi floral and landscape paintings and calligraphy through demos and hands-on individual instruction.  

We will focus on live flowers, photos of landscapes, and other interesting subjects to inspire us during class. Students are encouraged to bring their own subjects for study to class, as well. Discover the relationship between painting and calligraphy. Learn about the supplies used in this ancient art form, such as the different rice papers and use, bruises, and the special Chinese Hanko, or stamp.   

Beginners and longtime continuing students are encouraged to take this engaging hands-on class and learn from a well-known Chinese calligrapher and painter. 


Supplies Needed

Brushes (Paragon brand)

  • Best Combination Brush - a must-have; the one brush you need most (ABF-3FB03)
  • Jade Bamboo - versatile combination large brush; also known as Magic Brush (ABF-3FB01)
  • Rattail Fine Line – a fabulous brush for smooth, fine, long, and delicate lines (ABF-3FB04)
  • Northern Wolf - excellent quality but an economical substitute (ABW-4WB02)
  • Leaf Vein - detail brush (ABD-6DLB2)

Ink & Ink Stone

  • Yi De liquid Sumi ink - one bottle (AIB-YD250)
  • Jade Purple (AIS-28114) - one dry ink stick; or China Premium - best quality ink stick (AIS-CP101) 
  • Paragon - 5” round ink grinding stone with lid (AIS-2ST05)

Papers (PIA Brand)

  • Green Line - 10 sheet paper roll 13.5”x 54” each sheet (APS-57P6R)
  • 1 Fancy Tracing Paper Pack (APP-25P01)


  • 12 colors with 12 ml each (ACS-90C12)
  • Oriental Fan Shape Palette - porcelain (ABA-PLTF6)
  • Well brush washer - 3, with blue flower pattern (ABA-BW304)
  • Steel paper weight - 2 pieces (ABA-SPWT1)


If you don’t have any materials, these are the minimal supplies you will need for the first class:

Sumi Starter Kit (Paragon) 

  • 3 brushes (one combination, one student wolf hair brush, and one detail brush)
  • One 3.5” x 5” rectangular Ink grinding stone (PIA brand)
  • One good quality ink stick (by Paragon) 
  • One 10-sheet Green Line paper roll (13.75” x 57” each sheet)
  • One Tracing Study Paper Pack
  • One 2-well brush washer
  • One steel paperweight


  • An Artful Touch - (425-823-2336) 12437 116th Ave NE, Kirkland, Washington
  • Paragon Art -, email:

Learning Objectives

  • Gain Sumi watercolor skills
  • Understand Asian art and philosophy
  • Learn a bit about Chinese Hanko (stamp) use and function in paintings

Who Might Enjoy This Class 

  • Perfect for beginners as well as ongoing student artists practicing Sumi art
  • Artists who want to expand their horizons
  • Anyone who wants to practice focus/discipline and relaxation at the same time
  • Chinese language students who want to explore Chinese culture, aesthetics, and art


Class Details


Spring 2024

  • When : Wednesday, Apr 03 to May 01 ; 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • Location : Online , Zoom WA
  • Fee : $199