Nihonga: Neo Japanese Painting Course at K2 Jewellery Academy

25.02.2024, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Event details




11:00 am - 1:00 pm

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Katrin Spranger, Kelvin J Birk


K2 Academy of Contemporary Jewellery Studio W11 Cockpit, Cockpit Yard, Northington Street WC1N 2NP

Event description

Nihonga: Neo Japanese Painting

2-Hour Class with Elena Shkvarkina at K2 Academy of Contemporary Jewellery

Sunday 25 February 2024

11am – 1pm

About the Course

A rare opportunity to learn an ancient painting technique that is academically taught to this day only in Japan. Originating during the Meiji era (1868-1912) and introduced by art historian Ernest Fenollosa, Nihonga term, or Japanese-style painting, aimed to preserve traditional Japanese painting methods, signify the Westernization of Japanese art, and distinguish it from Western painting. Initially, its distinctiveness was rooted in the choice of materials, with Japanese painting using mineral pigments on paper and silk, while Western painting favoured oils on canvas. Today, with innovations in synthetic pigment production, interdisciplinary application techniques and cultural interpretations, Nihonga has evolved highlighting its contemporary adaptability and dynamism.

During this workshop you will:

–       Discover Japanese-style painting (Nihonga), its historical and contemporary significance and overview of various techniques

–       Make your own paint mixing earth pigments (Suihi-enogu), mineral pigments (Iwa-inogu) and synthetic pigments with animal glue (Nikawa). Different colours and particle sizes will be introduced

–       Watch a demonstration of Gofun preparation, take part in it and apply it to your artwork. Gofun is traditional pure white pigment made of pulverised oyster shells which requires special grinding (Karazuri) and kneading techniques before it can be used as a paint

–       Learn Elena’s innovative signature technique of Nihonga painting

–       Create 2 unique abstract paintings on paper mounted on MDF board 15 x 15 cm (ready-to-use panels will be provided)


Who is the course for?

For those who are interested in heritage arts, gemmology & geology, art conservation, traditional crafts and just want to learn new skills. No sketching or figurative drawing skills required. This class is suitable for absolute beginners to experienced creators.


What should I bring?

All materials will be provided along with aprons. It is advised to wear clothes you wouldn’t worry to mark and bring your pen and paper for notes.


Who will be teaching?

Elena Shkvarkina is a Nihonga (Japanese style) and ink painter who lives and works in London, UK. Practising the ancient traditions of Nihonga, she prepares paints from pulverised mineral pigments, earths and oyster shells bound with animal glue. In 2022, her artistic journey reached new heights through remote mentorship from a Nihonga master based in Tokyo.

Beyond private collections, Elena’s works grace London exhibitions, showcasing her diverse talents as an artist, gallerist, and curator. Her art, influenced by nature, captures the essence of destructive and regenerative forces seen in natural cycles. Departing from conventional brushwork, Elena employs a unique technique guided by gravity, echoing elemental events such as weathering, erosion, volcanic eruption, and glacial carving.



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