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After earlier studies in Japan, Kazumi arrived in the U.S. in 1972. Here she studied art at California State University, Hayward, and the University of California at Berkeley.  Since that time, she has worked to spread the word about Japanese art to a Western audience through sumi-e painting, haiku poetry and calligraphy.     


Over the years her artwork has been displayed at various locales in the San Francisco Bay Area including the Japan Cultural and Community Center of Northern California in San Francisco, Hayward City Hall, Berkeley City Hall, the Alameda Historical Museum, and the Berkeley Art Center.


Her poems have been published in “Peace Poetry, Heiwa”, University of Hawaii Press, “A Collection of Japanese Poems”, Sanda International Poetry Committee, Japan, and “Poems from Mainichi Haiku Contest”, Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd., Japan, and "Poetry From Overseas Japanese", Japanese Overseas Newspaper and Broadcasting Association.


She has given demonstrations of sumi-e, and have given other workshops at local schools and art galleries.

Kazumi Cranney


Haiga is a form of painting that combines three traditional Japanese arts:

  1. Haiku poems, which are short poems that must contain exactly 17 syllables and include some type of seasonal reference.

  2. Japanese calligraphy, which is written with black sumi ink and has a tradition of thousands of years carried over from China.

  3. Watercolor painting, which in this case employs a special kind of paint called gansai.

Each haiga must integrate the three forms into one painting to express one simple feeling or thought. In haiga, the artist may either compose her (or his) own haiku or may use haiku written by others. In my paintings, all haiku are my own.


In Japanese, “sumi” means Chinese black ink, and “e” is picture or painting, so a sumi-e is a type of wash painting done in Chinese black ink with a brush. Originally sumi-e were painted only with sumi ink, but through time, color paints (gansai), have been added.

Sumi-e represents not only a unique and beautiful form of art, but a philosophy as well. The philosophy of sumi-e is to capture the ”ki” of the subject. “Ki” in Japanese or “Chi” in Chinese means life spirit. Sumi-e aims to depict the spirit rather than the outward shape of the subject. In creating a picture the artist must grasp the sprit. Concentration and self-discipline are essential. It is important that you cultivate a habit of capturing the ki of a subject in everyday life.

BRIEF HISTORY: Haiga, Sumi-e, and their connection

Sumi-e was introduced to Japan in the 7th century from China. Over time it became popular among Japanese Artists, and in the 15th century Sesshu established what was considered the first purely Japanese-style sumi-e, “suiboku-ga”.


The beginning of haiga is not clear. Scholars have different theories: one theory states that haiga was started by Nonoguchi Ryuho (1595 - 1669). Another theory names Watanbe Kazan (1584 - 1654). If we assume that Ryuko and Kazan started haiga, then the history of haiga starts roughly from the 17th century when Basho (1644 -1694) also contributed to the development of the art on the strength of his position in haiku. 


The development of haiga has been influenced by the traditional Japanese painting schools, “yamato-e schools”, as well as sumi-e, especially “nanga” known as bunjin-ga or literati painting. But it was the haiku poets themselves who gave special characteristics to haiga as they endeavored to create a new style of painting in its own right. Buson (1716 - 1783) and Issa (1763 -1827) were both well-known for their delightful haiga as well as their haiku.

Painting Tools
Painting Tools
A haiga painting
Haiga painting
A haiga painting
Ancient Pond, by Basho
Butterflies, by Buson
"Butterflies" by Buson
Sumi-e painting
"Ancient Pond" by Basho
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