After raising a set of identical twin boys and pursuing a career in Criminology, Brazen Edwards-Hager moved to the Okanagan and she felt inspired. Her artwork has been highlighted in numerous juried exhibitions, local art shows, galleries, and collected internationally.
What first attracted you to painting with Sumi-e?
Well raising a set of twins, pursing a University degree in Criminology, and eventually securing employment with the RCMP made me take a hard look at the stress in my life and what I could do to combat it. Having made the decision to move to the Okanagan for the weather and a quieter community I also found it was filled with a vibrant and supportive art scene so I couldn’t help but be inspired by the gorgeous landscapes, the local grown fruit and the abundant wildlife. Since I’ve always been drawn to Eastern Philosophy and Asian culture, I decided to focus on the meditative aspects that are inherent in Japanese Brush Paintings, so it just made sense to me. Every action, from the mixing of ink to the placement of each individual stroke requires the artist to concentrate, to clear your mind and focus on the image you’re going to bring forth from the page and as a result. The goal of this form of painting is not to capture the likeness of the subject, but instead to capture its essence so it’s allowed me to delve deeper into myself and find my true calling.
Are there particular artists who inspire your work?
Toyo Sesshu is one of the great masters of Sumi-e. His style is distinguished by its force and intensity of brush stroke as well as by its power of conception. Of all the many distinguished painters Japan has produced, Sesshu is often considered to have been the most outstanding. This estimate is based not only on the excellence of his work but also on his eminence as a Zen monk and man of learning.
Are there new themes or mediums you anticipate exploring in your upcoming work?
I’m currently working on a series of watercolour pieces using a technique called ‘pouring’ that are heavily influenced by Japanese imagery. Although it’s a step away from the Japanese Brush paintings, you can still see the inspiration in my work with landscapes that feature temples, koi and cherry blossoms.
Thank you very much to Brazen for sharing her work.
What do you think of Brazen's lovely Sumi-e paintings?