A sumi zen ink wash painting of a salmon by Russ Mead.

Notes on this painting

I attempt to capture the spirit of a subject in only a few brush strokes. The challenge in painting a salmon is to capture the spirit of these the wildest of fish. Most of the time when we see photographs of these fish, they are dead and look sad. A dead fish literally frowns. A live fish  looks like he is smiling when he moves his mouth. The simple act of upturning the corner of the salmon’s mouth brings the spirit of these animals to life.

 Thoughts on wild salmon

No animal is more revered in the Pacific Northwest than the wild salmon. They swim thousands of miles. They return to spawn at the end of their lives at a location that is just a few meters from where they were born. People from all walks of life work to restore salmon streams and habitat.

About Zen ink brush painting

The art form has many different names. The most descriptive is ink brush painting or even just Zen painting. People around the world have been practicing this art form for over 2000 years.  One goal is to capture the spirit of a subject with a minimal number of brush strokes. Once the brush hits the paper, the ink cannot be reworked.

Traditionally, the same subject is painted over and over.  This is both to master painting the subject as well as provide focus and stability in the artist’s life.  Tools of the craft include an ink stick made of pitch and soot, an ink grinding stone, paper, and a brush capable of making a thin line as well as a broad stroke.


I am an animal rights lawyer living in Seattle, Washington. I have worked to pass laws to reduce animal cruelty, rescued animals from large scale animal hoarders and natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina, and educate others in the field of animal law. This art allows me to connect with the spirit of these animals. Selling the art allows others to connect with the animals in a way that can only be achieved through art.

I sell these painting, originals, not prints, size 8×10 matted to 11×14 for $25.00.

Size 18×24, originals, not prints, sent in a mailing tube are $75.00.


Artist Zen Ink Wash