These are some of the artist seals or chops that I use. These are my favorites but I have many. They are so beautiful that you tend to collect them as you are drawn deeper and deeper into the ancient art of Sumi-e. Not only is the seal impression a thing of beauty the seals are actual works of art in and of themselves. They are beautifully carved with lovely images such as dragons, lotus, bamboo, fish, turtle, and more.
Using artist seals on your finished work can compliment the composition, if used properly and placed with care. The seal is generally red so it draws the attention of the viewer. The viewers eye is drawn to the bright red color which contrasts to the rest of the painting. Although sometimes small, seals are visually powerful giving the painting an important balancing effect.
The red paste used for seal ink is made from finely pulverized cinnabar (mercuric sulfide), mixed with a seed oil from Fukien Tea (the best) or caster oil, which has been exposed to the sun for three years, then added to the finely ground cinnabar. This is just one of many formulas. The photo to the right is an example what the seal paste looks like. There are many online suppliers of Asian art supplies. We will discuss resources in a future blog entry.