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Meditation In Ink And Color

Hicksville library’s new exhibit looks to the East

East Asian brush painting is a style of art that developed in East Asia, based primarily on Chinese calligraphy. Terry Kimmel has been practicing this art form for decades, and pieces in her gallery range in age from 20 years to just a few weeks old.

Kimmel’s exhibition of paintings using ink and color on rice paper is currently on display at the Hicksville Public Library. About two dozen of her works line the walls of the library’s community room. The paintings of flowers, landscapes, fish and some abstract images will be shown throughout February.

“What’s so unique about this work is that when you’re using ink, it cannot be changed,” said Kimmel. “It’s immediate, it’s spontaneous, it’s direct, and it requires a great deal of concentration. If you’re using oil paint, you can go back to your painting the next day and make changes. You cannot do that with ink paintings.”

The type of brush used for East Asian brush paintings has a wooden, usually bamboo, handle and the brush is made of animal hairs that are very long and taper to a fine point.

“You can use one brush to make an entire painting,” said Kimmel. “The tip of the brush gives you a very fine line, and if you apply more pressure, you have a thicker line. It’s a different way of working.”

“Painting for me is very calming. I can almost say it’s a ‘meditation in ink’ because this way of painting requires so much concentration,” she said. “It is a way of meditating and relaxing.”

Kimmel, who is from Roslyn Estates, has also exhibited her work in group shows at the Manhasset Public Library and in the gallery at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock.

“I have some upcoming exhibits,” she said. “Next month, I am going to exhibit smaller works at the Bethpage Public Library. In April, I’m going to exhibit a floral and spring theme at a restaurant.”

Kimmel has had a passion for art since she was very young. After graduating from New York City’s High School of Music and Art, she enrolled into Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. Kimmel originally majored in Mathematics, but switched to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Fine Arts.

“I decided to switch my major because after studying art so extensively in high school I wanted to continue,” she said.

And continue she did, teaching painting, art history and art appreciation for almost 20 years at LaGuardia Community College, from which she retired.

When not painting, Kimmel enjoys reading, gardening and walking.

“I enjoy nature, which is another reason why I enjoy East Asian paintings, because the subject is primarily nature,” she said. “It gives me a way of seeing nature and my surroundings differently. It helps me appreciate each day a little bit more.”