Rebecca painting at Camellia House in Ottawa, ON.

Rebecca Cragg trains with Master Hiroshi Tamaki in Wakayama City, Japan where she took lessons twice weekly from 1998 – 2005, accumulating 4,000 hours of private instruction. Upon returning to Canada, she returns to see Tamaki-Sensei on alternating years to continue her training with him. She enjoys painting in the ‘Sansui-ga‘ or ‘landscape‘ style of art but of course teaches everything from the Four Noble Ones (see her Colouring Book of the Four Noble Ones on Amazon) as well as flowers and feathered creatures and more.

Rebecca offers private and occasional workshops in the traditional art of Japanese brush painting known as Sumi-e, Suibokuga as well as Nihonga and Ee-tegami. To inquire about upcoming workshops or to register for private classes, feel free to contact Rebecca for more information.

“My philosophy on traditional brush painting is to serve and as best as we can, extract the essence that nature offers us, while remaining in service to the viewers who observe our work. By creating works of beauty and elegance,  as aspiring artists,  we surrender: to tradition, to the materials, but most of all, to the assumptions about what we ‘see’, or what we ‘think’ we see is ‘there’. Through painting, we free ourselves from the chaos of abstraction; we rest in the gilded cage of what is True, Natural, and Beautiful. Add beauty to the world.” ~R. Cragg

Study environment
Students can choose to study at table and with chairs, or in tatami space as Rebecca does, based on their comfort, the most important thing is mobility and freedom of the arm when painting.

Camellia Suibokuga Students: Profile
Camellia Sui-boku-ga (water-black-art) students come from a variety of backgrounds: from professional artists, to children, or retirees looking at art for the first time. All experience challenge with the materials of Suibokuga: the delicate rice paper bleeds easily with an over-charged brush and gradation comes slowly to those who rush and press.

Suibokuga is an artform which requires considerable gentleness and patience, and those who flourish with Suibokuga are those unafraid of practice, discipline and who enjoy the repetition of getting something ‘just right’.

For those in a rush, wanting a ‘quick fix’, this is not the artform for you…

“Over the 12 years I have been teaching Suibokuga, I have had a number of students come and go – those who enjoy and stay to evolve in their personal development I think find that the challenging materials become easier to dance with as time goes on.” ~R. Cragg

Study in the fresh air helps us to connect to the natural subjects we are painting. Rain or shine, the summer pavilion is a lovely environment in which to create.


There are the difficult first stages of mastering the loading of brush, water and ink.. Then, adjusting to pressure and paper (this can take some time, months, years..). Then there is the exploration and layering of subjects: from 63 types of leaves, to dozens of mountain lines, temples, people and then on to the Four Noble Ones (bamboo, orchid, chrysanthemum and plum), brush painting has a vocabulary much like studying a musical instrument. There are ‘studies’ (we employ tracing and analysis, mapping to get the proportions aligned), ‘etudes’ where the student ‘copies’ a masterpiece. And eventually, the in-depth study of particular subjects.

Students are provided with water dish and mixing palette and bring their own ink, paper, brushes and supplies.

Like music, many who ‘play’ do not ‘compose’: they play the works of classical masters or well-known pieces. In Suibokuga training, study is much the same. After mastery of form and technique, where the essential elements of the subject can be brought forth to delight and awe the viewer, original compositions can begin.

Commissioned Artwork
Rebecca Cragg’s artwork has appeared in over a dozen Haiku and Tanka poetry books as well as online website Journals. She is happy to discuss custom work with you in any budget range.

Body Painting

“I tumbled into body painting rather by accident. A client had purchased a piece of my artwork and then had it tattooed, and followed by my being tagged in facebook, I started to receive requests for tattoo design. Hesitant, I asked the tattoo-ees to come for a body painting session first, so see if they liked the design.”

Body painting clients book a private appointment with Rebecca.

Natural Suibokuga inks only are used and the sessions can be 30 min – 1 hour, depending on the complexity of the design.
Materials wash off in the shower easily.

Rebecca works intuitively, considering the person, their body and seeks to create a relaxing and beautiful, soothing experience for the guest as they enjoy the calm atmosphere of Camellia House. Contact her for more details.

Click here to read more about body painting.