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Joan Rasp, “Ryujo”
STELLA TING,  “Ryu Gyoku”


Friends of Sumi-e (FOS) is an art-based group in San Diego, California.

Our purpose is to carry on the tradition and teaching of traditional Japanese brush painting, called sumi-e or suiboku-ga.

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It is a form of Asian painting that seeks to capture the essence or spirit of a subject with elegant, well formed brush strokes, each purposefully loaded to create multiple tones of ink or color within a single stroke. It requires only ink (pine soot and glue) or color, rice paper, brush, and water.

Friends of Sumi-e was founded in 2023 with the merger of two brush painting groups, Washu-Kai, founded in 2000 and the Taka Sumi-e Society, founded in 2002.  It has about 80 members.


Click HERE for more information on Friends of Sumi-e.

Paintings by Friends of Sumi-e Members

Current Events and News

21th Annual Japanese Brush Painting Spring Art Exhibition

Friends of Sumi-e's 21st Annual Spring Art Exhibition was held on Saturday March 23rd and Sunday March 24th.  The room looked lovely with so many sumi-e paintings and the spectacular colorful ribbon banners collectively put together and arranged. We were pleased to have so many contributions made and want to thank everyone who participated. The show included live sumi-e painting demonstrations, Japanese folk dancing, traditional tea ceremony and beautiful koto and flute music plus wonderful details that were graciously bestowed upon us like beautiful ikebana flower arrangements, hand made donations to our Treasures Table, origami fun and dragon paintings. The joy was there and despite the cold and wet weather we had so many visitors this year. The kids loved the hands-on demonstration tables and seeing their name in calligraphy. This festival was enjoyed by all who came and all who made it happen. Thank you to all our volunteers!

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Workshops and Newsletter
  • The Workshop:

    • Origami Geishas with Tricia - Saturday, May 4, 2024 from 9:00am to Noon in Room 104, Casa del Prado, Balboa Park. We will have a brief meeting. Then Tricia will lead a Origami Geisha Workshop.  Supplies: Your prettiest origami paper. 6x6inch will work. Scissors, glue stick. Also bring your teacup to enjoy a warm cup of tea or coffee. We MAY also be providing a corner of Room 104 for Tatsuko Sensei and her students to finish up their preparations for the San Diego County Fair Student Exhibition.

    • Gyotaku with Cliff Brown - Saturday, June 1, 2024 from 9:00am to Noon in Room 104, Casa del Prado, Balboa Park.  Spend the morning with Cliff!  We will again explore the wonderful world of Gyotaku.  You will not need to record your catch to enjoy this fun morning.  Wear your grubbies and bring the materials listed in the attached Workshop Handout he has provided along with your teacup for a warm cup of tea or coffee.

  • Friends of Sumi-e's monthly Open Studio painting experience meeting is on Wednesday, May 1st and Wednesday June 5th from 9:00am until Noon in Room 104, Casa del Prado, Balboa Park.  Please consider joining in the artistic camaraderie. If you’d like some one-on-one help in other areas, this is the time!  Bring your sketching/painting materials and teacup and join in the fun. 

  • Tuesday Painters is a group of FOS members and sumi-e students who meet to paint outdoors.  The informal group is now meeting 4 Tuesdays each month, usually twice on Zoom and twice at a San Diego location.   Plein air meetings are on-site 9:30am(ish) to Noon.  ZOOM meetings start at 12:30 pm.  Watch for weekly email notices.   For more information click HERE.

  • Friends of Sumi-e Newsletters are available under the Events & Meetings menu.  To view the current Newsletter, Click HERE.

  • Annual Membership - Now is the time to renew your membership for the 2024 Membership Year.  Membership runs from July 1st to the following June 30th and is only $20.  To join or renew your membership, complete the Membership Registration Form included in the May/June Newsletter, and mail the form and your check to Treasurer Cindy Morgan.

Updated Wet Mounting Instructions

Our "How To.., Wet Stretching Videos section has been updated with new instructions for Wet Mounting without using backing paper.  Details are available HERE.

Casa del Prado Map and Directions

For a Balboa Park map, including directions to Casa del Prado Room 104, click HERE.

Outreach and Cooperative Exhibits

Upcomping Outreach Activities
  • Japanese Friendship Garden, May 15th.

  • Many of our members are planning to exhibit at the San Diego County Fair this summer, either in the student exhibition through Tatsuko Sensei’s class or in the Fine Arts Division.  Friends of Sumi-e will sponsor an award this year in the Fine Arts Division!  Whether you enter or not, please plan to visit the Fair and see all the artwork on display; it is truly beautiful and exciting to see what San Diegans create!

  • The joys of Sumi-e have certainly shown themselves this Spring with a beautiful exhibition in March and wonderful outreaches at SDSU Spring Matsuri at the invitation of the Japanese student association and with San Diego Bonsai Club in April.  Our sensei have continued to inspire us in class as well.  Remember to enroll in Summer classes!

San Diego Floral Association Festival of Trees

We have made seasonal postcards and folding paper cranes and used them as ornaments to decorate several white birch trees for the San Diego Floral Association’s Festival of Trees.  This is a lovely event featured in Casa del Prado Room #101 during Balboa Park’s December Nights Event, on December 1st and 2nd. 

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San Diego Bonsai Club Outreach Event

Our cooperative outreach event with Bonsai Club was a great success! They also participated in our November Art Exhibition as they were very pleased with the results of the cooperation between our two societies. Their attendance over the weekend was more than 4,000 people and, as usual, their bonsai displays were exquisite.  Friends of Sumi-e provided Sumi-e art for display at their show, and performed Sumi-e painting demonstrations.

Japanese Friendship Garden July Outreach Event

We returned to the Japanese Friendship Garden with our demo table at the Tanabata Festival on Friday July 7th 2023.  Once again, we started at the beginning of the day (9:30am) and wrapped up a little before 4:00 pm.  


Our outreach event at the Tanabata Festival was super successful. 

Many thanks to Sylvia for her coordination with the Japanese Friendship Garden, and to Cindy, Cynthia, Beverly, Gaye, Naoko and our Chinese Brush Painting friend, Carmen Mannarino, for “womanning” the tables.  The tables were full the entire day!  These women had a great time spreading a little joy and knowledge about Sumi-e painting to the public.

Below are pictures from our wonderful outreach event.  With 9 stations next to the scenic Koi Pond, we had over 200 visitors try their hand at Sumi-e painting.

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Society Art Exhibitions

48th Annual Japanese Brush Painting Fall Art Exhibition

Friends of Sumi-e's 48th Annual Fall Art Exhibition (formerly for Washu-Kai) was held on November 18th and 19th.  

Pictures to follow...........

Our 2023 Annual Spring Art Exhibition

Friends of Sumi-e's 20th Annual Spring Art Exhibition (formerly for the Taka Sumi-e Society) was held on Saturday March 25 and Sunday 26th.  The show was GREAT, just like we never had a three-year hiatus....  Thank you to everyone who participated in the show, and to our guests for joining us as we share our work.​​​​​​​​ 


The 2024 exhibition will be on March 23rd and 24th.

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Washu-Kai 2022 Annual Sumi-e Exhibition

The 47th Annual Washu-Kai Art Exhibition, celebrated November 19-20, in Room 101 of Casa del Prado, Balboa Park, was a beautiful event with some nostalgic things and some new things. The art was beautiful, the tea table and experiential tables were well received by the public. Performances by Odori dancers and Taiko drums from the Buddhist Temple were a new addition, as were all the small flower arrangements sprinkled around the artworks.

Recent Virtual Art Exhibitions
  • Washu-Kai's 2022 47th Annual Art Exhibition is available as a 7 minute long Virtual Show.  Click HERE to view the Show on YouTube.

  • Taka Sumi-e Society's 2022 Annual Art Exhibition is available as a 10 minute long Virtual Show.  Click HERE for virtual show viewing instructions and a link to the Virtual Show.

  • Taka Sumi-e Society's 2021 Annual Art Exhibition is available as a 15 minute long Virtual Show.  Click HERE to view the Show.

  • Washu-Kai 's 2021 46th Annual Art Exhibition is available as a 11 minute long virtual art show.  Click HERE to view the Show on YouTube.

  • Washu-Kai 's 2020 45th Annual Art Exhibition is available as a 6 minute long virtual art show.  Click HERE to view the Show on YouTube.

Virtual Shows include music.  These are best viewed on a PC with its large screen.​

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