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Iris Lowe (Lowe-Reiss)



Classes Begin 9/5/2023 and run through 1/27/2024.  

The classes will be live on Zoom with additional instruction in the Canvas Learning Management System.  A student registers for the class with no need for permission codes.

You can email Iris for more information at

This is an introductory through advanced course in the art of the Asian Brush Painting, using watercolor, rice paper and ink.  The student will learn how to use the Asian round brush using traditional and contemporary techniques.  This course will explore the principles of art and design of Asian and American cultures.

This course offers the adult student an opportunity to explore individual creativity as an approach to self-expression and problem solving through the media of drawing and/or painting.  The course includes a basic study of materials, tools, and techniques, both traditional and contemporary.  This course is noncompetitive and individually paced.

Continuing Education Emeritus Classes
Title: Asian Brush Painting
Tuesday   11:30am to   2:30pm, Class # 45431
Thursday 11:00am to   2:00pm, Class # 45432
Friday        9:00am to 12:00pm, Class # 45433
Friday      12:15pm to   3:15pm, Class # 45434

Iris color.jpg
Class Demo - Painting a Panda
Iris Lowe Biography

Sensei Iris teaches 4 classes of Asian brush painting for the Emeritus program of the San Diego Community College District.  Her San Diego mentor is Master Teacher Takashi Ijichi.  She is eternally grateful to Takashi Sensei for his touch love and was honored when he handed the baton for his classes over to her in 2017.

Iris' love of brush painting began at age 3 when she viewed Sumi-e on her grandfather's living room wall.  She started using Asian brushes (Uncle was an importer/exporter of Asian goods) at around the same age and has never stopped.

She has several degrees in Fine Art and a certificate to teach Chinese brushing painting from Coastline College.  She began her art career by teaching Western Art in New York, but took a lengthy detour and worked in the medical field from 1985 to 2017.  She started teaching Art again in 2006.

Iris sends a class email to her students each week.  Below is an excerpt from one of her emails detailing her teaching style:

Asian brush aka sumi-e aka Chinese brush painting, is an art form passed down from teacher to student.  Every one of my teachers, with one striking exception, speaks of his/her Sifu (Sensei) during demo.  "My teacher taught me how to paint the petal this way" is very common to hear in any brush painting class throughout the world.  I also do this.  Because I've had many teachers, I specify which master showed me. 


I teach TRADITIONAL SUMI-E  (rice paper, ink, ink stone, Asian brushes), but blend the way I teach by incorporating some of the methods from each of my teachers.  For example, Japanese teachers typically demonstrate without explaining and students learn by watching over and over.  Verbal descriptions of how to execute strokes and techniques is very Chinese.  I demonstrate and explain each stroke's origin and all of the steps to execute a subject but don't have the continuous banter of my Chinese teachers.  I do not have the silence of my Japanese Senseis. 


Some of my teachers taught only subjects from the nature of Asian seasons.  Others only discussed contemporary material.  I try to incorporate both Asian and local subjects related to the cycles of our year. 


I had Senseis who were mavericks who made up their own style, with no regard to patterns or time honored custom.  Others required their students to paint "my way or the highway".  I talk to you about the materials, explain which traditional stroke patterns are used and then let you go.  You are an adult and master of your own life.  If you want more guidance, I'm always available. 


Because most of us did not learn Chinese calligraphy (kanji) at an early age, I do not emphasize the strict use of the 4 Gentlemen,  but I speak of these strokes more than any of my teachers ever did.  I incorporate many 4 Gentlemen strokes into each lesson, but "hide" them like a parent does broccoli in a casserole.  You will hear me say, "The apple leaf is a wider version of the bamboo leaf stroke.  Here's how we do it".  "The stem is a bone stroke, like the bamboo stalk".

Eagerly Anticipating our Wonderful times together,

Sensei Iris

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