Kazumi Cranney is a longtime resident of Berkeley, California who has been working in watercolor and other media for over 35 years.
Kazumi's medium, "haiga", is a form of painting that combines three traditional Japanese arts:
Japanese calligraphy, which is written with black sumi ink and has a tradition of thousands of years carried over from China.
Haiku poems, which are short poems that must contain exactly 17 syllables (in Japanese) and have some kind of seasonal reference.
Watercolor painting, which in this case employs a special kind of pigmented paints called gansai.
Each haiga integrates the three art forms into one work to express a simple feeling or thought. In haiga, the artist may either compose her (or his) own haiku or may use haiku written by others. In Kazumi's paintings, the haiku are her own.
Kazumi arrived in the U.S. in 1972 and, in addition to her previous studies in Japan, studied art at California State University, Hayward and the University of California at Berkeley. Since that time, Kazumi has been anxious to spread the word about Japanese art to a Western audience, and has made local presentations or demonstrations to such groups as the American Association of University Women and the Japanese Information Center of the Japan Consulate General in San Francisco.
Her work has been displayed at various locales in the Bay Area including the Japan Cultural and Community Center of Northern California in San Francisco, Hayward City Hall, the Berkeley City Hall, and the Alameda Museum. Kazumi was honored with the selection of two of her haiga paintings by the Berkeley Art Center for their National Juried Exhibition in 2004.
Her poems have been published in Peace Poetry, Heiwa, University of Hawaii Press; A Collection of Japanese Poems, Sanda International Poetry Committee, Japan; and Poems from Mainichi Haiku Contest, Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd., Japan, and others. Recently, one of her haiku was selected by the Japanese Overseas Newspaper and Broadcasting Association for its first poetry competition. It was published in a collection, Poetry From Overseas Japanese. This June she has produced a haiga book, Haiga Through Four Seasons containing her own haiku and sumi-e. The book is made with Japanese rice paper and with a hand-sewn binding in the traditional Japanese style. It has been a popular item at her workshops.