Stately Pine

About the Artist

After a 14 year career as V.P. of Treasury and foreign currency trader for major international banks, I embarked on a personal quest to be a fine artist. The next ten years were immersed in cultivating skills in a variety of media: oils, watercolor, pastels, colored pencils, graphite. In 1997, a friend introduced me to brush and ink painting, an ancient art form originating in China. The apparent freedom and depth of these techniques captivated me. The discipline of brush and ink gave me a new 'voice' to create paintings that reflect my own spirit as well as honor the traditions of this venerable and much esteemed art form. The inherent mystery, elegance and subtlety of Chinese ink painting, (sumi–e in Japanese) has made this genre my artistic passion. Combined with the idiosyncratic design of the Chinese brush, Chinese ink is ideally suited to reveal the essence and emotion that reside within even the most simple and commonplace of subjects. The brush techniques echo natural shapes and patterns which appear consistently throughout nature. The medium encourages spontaneity and daring, “happy accidents” that unpredictably capture the ephemeral and prompts the artist’s declaration: I was here, I saw this little miracle and it became a part of me—and now offer it to you. The substrates for ink paintings — various Chinese xuan paper and washi (Japanese paper) –have distinct characteristics. This individuality contributes to the “organic” feel of the artwork. My approach to painting ranges from calligraphic to minimalist as I strive for purity of form through direct expression and well-tempered brush strokes.

Whilst Los Angeles based artist Lisa Chakrabarti was, like all of the best artists, drawn to art and creativity as a child, as an adult she found herself working in an environment that some might consider the opposite of aesthetic beauty, of creativity, perhaps the very of antipathy of art – as a foreign exchange currency trader. They say the truth will out. Well, perhaps the truth lies in art, for in Lisa’s case, the art came out. After thirteen years she gave up the trading floor for the studio floor, and has never looked back


Ten years of artistic exploration followed, during which Lisa developed upon her skills in a variety of media: oil, acrylic, pastel, traditional watercolors and photography. But after all she learned, there seems to have been a moment of enlightenment. During the mid-nineties, Lisa turned her attention, and her delicate touch, to traditional Chinese brush and ink, combined with watercolor. This was an inspired choice. She now works in wholly water-based media, specifically Chinese brush and ink (sumi-e), Chinese watercolors, western watercolors, and gouache. One only has to glance through her considerable portfolio to admire both the decision, and the dedication which she has subsequently brought to her discipline. As an art form, this tradition remains forever contemporary. How can it not? It captures the natural world and speaks to our innermost appreciation of all that is beauty. Lisa gives us flora and fauna, a leaping frog, perhaps her own interpretation of the classic bamboo thicket, or the rare blush of tree peony blossom. Whatever she chooses to lay down upon paper, in her celebration of this form Lisa has captured that subtle intricacy that we, perhaps, take for granted in such work. The wonderful balance of detail and suggestion I find here creates a harmony that allows the onlooker to both see, and to experience.

Lisa’s ink strokes, within the images and the accompanying calligraphic adornments equally, work to form both precision and suggestion. Surely this can, in no small way, be a reflection of the five years Lisa spent studying under a Chinese calligraphy master. Unlike western art, image and lettering here are as one, each element enjoyed equally for its beauty; both bring meaning to the piece for the observer, without the necessity to understand the texts. There is a beguiling calm about this work. A stillness of emotion, perhaps brought about by the tranquil compositions, but which, without doubt, has its conception in the tender brushstrokes of Lisa Chakrabarti. She seems to have the ability to capture the ephemeral, celebrating its momentary offering to the world, full of vibrant energy, yet presented with a quiet, ageless dignity.

Whilst Lisa has no openings planned for the direct future, she is presently collaborating on a book project, a three volume collection exploring the relationship between sumi-e and the martial arts. Of course she is always seeking out new showcases for her work. Lisa Chakrabarti’s art appears within numerous private collections, and you can enjoy its subtle intricacy at

Rob Thomas October, 2011

What a bewildering creation! You captured the nature's bounty so amazingly. I never thought a bamboo tree can have so many renditions…. — Donna C, Diamond Bar, CA

'Saw your work in "Painter's Keys" and really love it.  Beautiful economy and sensitivity.  E. McCartan, Brunswick, ME

Imagination and mastery moving the brush, expressing beauty, softness and the never ending flow of nature.  Marieta Darrah, San Diego, CA

Thank you so much for sharing the site. Some wonderful things are clearly happening. —- S. Sands, New York

I had no clue how amazing your painting and art work was. It is absolutely beautiful. —H. Hewitt, Burbank, CA

…keep it up and you will find great success. its all in the freedom forms  It becomes a true deliverance of the soul.  it becomes the language of angels  singing at the stroke of a brush… O.M., San Diego CA

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