Course members’ experiences

Marjon is a rare artist with an exquisitely refined aesthetic.
I was fortunate to meet her when I was in the Netherlands, and to have her enter my life and instruct me. Marjon has her students use good brushes and teaches them to grind their ink and set up the work space, so that every movement is deliberate and conscious before it becomes automatic. She taught me that beauty, simplicity and truth are interlinked, that what appears simple demands great concentration and effort, and that the art cannot be separated from the artist. In a few strokes she can capture the essentials of a bird or a landscape. She can point the way and walk with you on the journey, and you may find yourself wanting to paint bamboo in the wind.

Shanti Thirumalai Ph.D. USA March 2019

I have been taking Sumi-e lessons with Marjon de Jong for a couple of years now
My experience is that she is a very inspiring artist. Her stunning artwork is of a very high professional standard, which has rightfully deserved her the title of Sumi-e Master. It is an art form which reflects someone’s whole being. Beauty, simplicity, wisdom, efficacy, precision, truthfulness, and dedication are words which spring to mind. Also, I think she is a capable teacher. Marjon teaches with a lot of confidence, and her lessons are breathing passion and professionalism. She has the ability to explain things clearly and convey new techniques with enthusiasm. She is good at acknowledging that participants are at different levels, and ensuring that her lessons are a valuable experience for everyone. She will confirm, encourage, advise, and also push participants just that little bit further. She can stick to the predetermined lesson plan, but also improvise and go with the flow. I enjoy her lessons, and I love to develop my skills in this form of expression and in this art form with Marjon’s help!

A. W., september 2015

Sumi-e lessons with Marjon de Jong – ‘Tailored holistic craftsmanship’

I find Marjon’s Sumi-e lessons very inspiring. It is difficult to find the right words to describe her lessons, for the essence of Sumi-e is the connection between body, mind, and painting. The level of this connection is such that it is instantly noticeable when the ink flows from your brush onto the rice paper. The manner in which Marjon teaches me how to paint has a layeredness which is very hard to put into words, because the various layers are too complementary to be separated. Words that best describe this layeredness and my experience are ‘tailored holistic craftsmanship’.

The Buddhist perspective of interconnectedness is greatly reflected in her teaching methods. Every step requires focused attention of body and mind, e.g. using materials correctly, practising techniques, letting your art flow, and Being in the moment. This is what Marjon conveys in every aspect of painting. Her lessons are fascinating because of her expertise and experience. She uses all of her life experience to convey the essence. With practical examples she will show us all the possibilities, and then give us tailored feedback. Her way of observing things is just as holistic as her methods are. With her sharp eye she will, slowly but surely, refine one or more of the above-mentioned steps, i.e. focused attention of body and mind, using materials correctly, practising techniques, and even letting your art flow, and Being in the moment.

Nothing escapes her observation, and she expresses her views with a certain Japanese strictness. Her feedback on working under her guidance or on your homework is always open and direct. Her appreciation for a nice painting or brush stroke comes from the heart and has a stimulating effect. Time to enjoy her compliments is short, however – she will raise the bar immediately and you will move on to the next exercise, in the here and now.

To me, Marjon is Sumi-e. I am becoming increasingly convinced that her talent for Sumi-e stems from previous lives. Therefore, it is a special experience to be part of this interconnectedness.

H. van K., september 2015

Marjon de Jong organises Sumi-e workshops

Was I immediately fascinated by this technique, by this art form? I don’t think so. Yes, in general I love the results. Doing it yourself, however, is another matter. What clumsiness. I was at odds with just about everything: the brush, the ink, the paper. Mind you, that was before I had actually started to paint. But thanks to Marjon de Jong’s clear instructions I somehow managed to make progress time and time again. For anyone who might think that it is all gloom and doom: it is actually quite alright. The atmosphere is relaxed, warm, and inviting you to participate in the next workshop. Dip in that brush and put the ink onto the paper as soft as a whisper.

Bram Wevers, oktober 2015

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