Biography:  Darlene Dihel                      SUMI-E   Artist                                          


My life has come full circle. A native Washingtonian, I am a retired teacher of 38 years and spent half my career in the South  Pacific with my husband Merle and two children.  Twenty years ago we moved to Gig Harbor, then to Enumclaw in 2017. I am active in the arts community here and a member of the local Gallery, Arts Alive.


Merle was a counselor and I taught mostly 6th grade and Art K-12. We lived and taught in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Florida, and spent 20 years in the South Pacific – Guam and a tiny little island called Kwajalein.


In 1965, following a tour of teaching on Guam, we visited Japan. I fell in love with the people and their culture, especially sumi painting on scrolls. From that time on I began studying and painting sumi on my own as I could not find someone to teach me. As a teacher of art I studied other painting styles, predominately watercolors and acrylics. My desire to paint sumi never diminished.


When we moved to Gig Harbor, a dream came true. I discovered and joined the Puget Sound Sumi Artists (PSSA) organization whose mission is to promote awareness and understanding of sumi painting.  That is also my mission.

PSSA has several members’ shows a year and we have a wonderful education programs for teaching kids.

I continually learn from our groups’ master Sumi artists.  I’m known as the ambassador.


I participate as a vendor at festivals – showing and selling my Sumi paintings, cards, book markers, Asian horoscope prints, scrolls, and Zen stones. I teach Sumi painting classes and workshops to people of all ages, and give demonstrations. Solo shows are also a great way to share what I do. My work is a mix of East and West.

I general paint with traditional black ground Sumi ink, but also incorporate watercolors into the paintings as well as

creating abstracts and collages My journey as a Sumi artist is passionate. Time spent in my studio escapes me when I have a bamboo brush in hand.


So what is Sumi-e painting?                  Japanese Ink-Brush painting          Sumi =  black ink stick      e=picture

         It is spontaneous, no pre sketching, no painting over a stroke, painting must have some black ink.

         There are 4 treasures:   ink, stone, brush, and paper.


Technically it is a painting with black ink made from pine soot and glue, ground down with water and applied to   

                  “rice” paper using bamboo animal hair brushes. Basic calligraphic strokes create images.

Visually it is simplicity of design, plainness of color, uncluttered lines, and void of details. The painting begins

with a subject, the artist’s interpretation, and then the viewer interprets and reacts.

Spiritually it is beauty originated from within. It has the power to stir the hearts and emotions of all who see it. 


“Creating a work of art is an experience within itself, recording a brief moment in time.”




Darlene is planning to teach two subjects ....Year of the Rat and Bamboo.


She bring all the materials for the artists, but would like to receive a small supplies fee from each person for the rice paper and copies  -  $3 per person. 

Darlene Dihel

March 5th, 2020 Demo Artist

bamboo scan - Darlene Dihel.jpg
Rat Scan - Darlene Dihel.jpg