Join Sumi-e Classes


The San Diego Community College District Continuing Education fall/winter session started September 5 and ends January 27. Registration is open online or you can register in class.

Registration materials for the FREE classes are available from the instructor.  SDCCD fall classes are held at the following locations:



North University Library 11:30-2:30 pm


West City Campus 6:15-9:15 pm


Lawrence Jewish Community Center

11:15-2:15 pm


West City Campus

9-12 pm and 12:15-3:15 pm


To help ensure that brush painting classes are a time of learning in a productive, calm, and quiet setting, a list of class materials is available, as well as suggestions for class behavior. As a reminder, sensei means an elder, a scholar, a teacher or professor and is also used to show respect to a person who has achieved a level of mastery in an art form or other skill. Let’s show our respect to our sensei Takashi and help him to provide all of his students with a calm and thoughtful instructional experience. Click When you are in class.docx for a printable handout.


NOTE: Changes in the order of subjects are possible.

Week 1 September 5th to 8th.                    

 Bird Essentials

 Basic strokes and their proper placement for all types of birds. Creating a completed composition of birds with Bamboo, the Summer Gentleman 

Week 2 September 12th to 15th  Lychee 

Fresh litchis are available at the end of every summer. We will paint them as they appear on the tree before picking and in the bowl or basket before peeling.


Week 3  September 19th to 22nd        

Bird of Paradise plant

Thursday the 21st class will be held at North University library location

These lovely plants are native to Africa but are found in many gardens of San Diego. They will grow to over 20 feet except in the dwarf versions.  Students will paint several varieties of this plant and learn how to maneuver the brush to create the curved stem.

Week 4 September 26th to 29th      

 California fuchsia

California fuchsia bloom from the late summer through early fall. It is a native drought resistant California plant. The blooms range from pink to red and attract hummingbirds. If time permits, other types of fuchsia will be discussed.

Week 5. October 3rd to 6th                          


Thursday the 5th class will be held at North University library location

Anatomy of the frog, their movements and their habitat will be covered. Plastic replicas will be provided as models to assist in visualization of these interesting creatures. This lesson is used as prep for the following week, water-lilies. 

Week 6.     October 10th to 13th                       Water Lillies

Water lilies grow in muddy ponds and provide a very beautiful contrast to this murky environment. There are two varieties, hardy and tropical. Some of the tropical lilies are nocturnal and a background dark wash is necessary. Combine the lilies with the frogs to create a completed composition.

Week 7  October 17th to 20th        

 Golden leaf  Gingko Tree.  The gingko tree's leaves turn a spectacular golden color in Autumn. In Asia people gather to view and celebrate these most ancient of trees. Fossils of gingko date back 270 million years. We will paint them close up and far, using the 3 stroke technique for the ones in far distance.

Week 8   October 24th to 27th          

Chinese  Lantern Plant

Chinese Lantern Plant’s flowers resemble lighted Jack o' lanterns representative of this season. We will paint these translucent blooms and leaves using traditional Sumie techniques.  

Week 9  October 31st to November 3rd  

 Day of the Dead symbolism

In Latin cultures October 31 through November 2 are very important dates. It is the time of the year to memorialize those who have passed.. Fragrant flowers such as marigolds and white chrysanthemums are used as decorations. Sugar skulls are painted with flowers, hearts and crosses.

Week 10 November 7th to 9th                    

Crape Myrtle tree

 Friday the 10th  school is closed for Veterans Day

Crape Myrtle come in pink, red and purple flowers. In San Diego, they flower up though the end of November. Combine these colorful trees with the Gingko from a past lesson to create a serene Autumn landscape. 

Week 11    November 14th - 17th    

Entrance to Balboa Park 1 point perspective

The 6th and Upas entrance to the park is a perfect example of 1 point perspective. Perspective, horizon, vanishing point, parallel and perpendicular lines will be discussed in this lesson before painting this landmark. 

November 20th to 24th                     No classes due to Thanksgiving holiday

Week 12      November  27-December 1st.      Abstract and Semi-Abstract Sumie Art

Using traditional Sumie strokes, compositional placement and materials, the student will create a non traditional painting. This painting will either be semi-abstract, one that is recognizable but highly stylized or abstract, art that does not attempt to represent but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors and textures. Those students wishing to remain traditional may bring their practice paintings from previous classes and combine them into a new composition. 

Week 13    December 5th -8th        

Partridge in a Pear Tree. 

Taking a phrase from the popular seasonal song, the 12 days of Christmas and bringing it to life. The student will develop a knowledge of the partridge and the pear tree as they each are in nature. A rendering will be created that captures the spirit of the subjects with the brevity of Sumie strokes.

Week 14  December 12th-15th  

Glebionis Coronaria Mum 

The chrysanthemum is the Japanese brush painting Gentleman of the Fall quarter. It's said that if one learns the strokes of all of the Gentlemen, that person would possess sufficient knowledge to complete any type of Sumie painting. The particular chrysanthemum that will be covered in class is called glebionis coronaria, a daisy-like mum. Other varieties and their strokes will be given as homework over the winter holiday. 

December 18th to January 1st winter recess

Week 15.  January 2nd to 5th                  


Deer near and far in the winter landscape will be the first subject after winter break. The use of milk as a natural resist has been used for many centuries and will be employed here in the animal fur and the external landscape. 

Week 16.  January 9th to 12th.                                 Landscape of a Cliff with Mist

Using traditional brushwork in the manner of 2 renowned Asian brush artists, Jane Evans and Ning Yeh, mountains and mist in ink and color give a completed landscape.

Week 17.      January 16th to 19th                   Rooster

The Chinese zodiac follows a lunar calendar. The rooster is the animal represented for the lunar year 2029 which ends on  the Gregorian calendar date of January 27, 2017. We will say goodbye to the year of the rooster by painting them in many natural poses along with chrysanthemums, hens and chicks.  

Week 18.     January 23rd to 26        

Female Samurai and other Women Warriors

It's a little known fact that Japanese women were trained in the ways of the male Samurai and fought alongside them in several battles. Other Samurai women protected the home front, which was devoid of healthy adult males during times of war.

January 27th end of fall semester 2017/2018

Pictured above: Sensei Takashi Ijichi

Below: Sensei Iris Lowe-Reiss


Sept. 4, Labor Day

Nov. 10, Veterans Day

Nov. 23-24, Thanksgiving

Jan. 27 Fall/winter classes end

Classes held at off-site locations will follow the calendar of the off-site location. Please note that due to the Jewish holidays, JCC classes will meet at the North  University library on  9/21, 10/5 and 10/12.