Sunday, March 25, 2012

illustration friday (swamp)

It feels like a long time since I've painted flowers. The ones depicted above are actually not flowers, but rather a wetland plant called Lysichiton camtschatcensis (Asian Skunk Cabbage). I try to paint them every spring, and they often feature in my Easter etegami. These beautiful swamp plants bring gladness to my heart because they are one of the first to come up through the snow towards the end of northern Japan's long, long winters. The words are a quote from the American writer/philosopher Henry David Thoreau, a great lover of swamps.

The second etegami was inspired by a photograph taken by my friend Gerry. The words are my own (and were probably influenced by a half-hearted attempt to lose weight).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

illustration friday (shades)

I was a professional translator for thirty years before declining health forced me to leave the rat race of industrial and commercial translating. Translating is in my blood, though, and I love it with an abiding intensity. But these days, instead of translating for clients, I translate for my own pleasure, and at my own pace-- mostly literature, which is another thing I love. It thrills me to examine all the shades of meaning for a Japanese word, and choose just the right English counterpart to fit the context. (I'm very good at it. ;p)

Friday, March 16, 2012

sketchbook project-- limited edition

A few months ago, I signed up to participate in the Sketchbook Project- Limited Edition. I finished it today! This will be the third (and probably last) Art House Co-op-organized project that I will take part in. For my first Sketchbook I painted etegami depicting Japanese Proverbs. That one toured the US in 2011. For my second, I illustrated my English translations of four Ainu folktales. That one will be touring in 2012. My last Sketchbook is a collection of my Earthquake/Tsunami- themed etegami. I don't think this one goes on tour, but it (or part of it) will be included in a series of art books documenting the project. I feel good that I was able to honor the victims and survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake/Tsunami in this last Sketchbook. In a way it gives me closure, but it will also help to remind me and others of a day that shouldn't ever be forgotten. When this Sketchbook gets digitized and posted on my Art House Co-op profile page, I'll let you know.

Monday, March 12, 2012

earthquake series for sale

The original etegami in my Earthquake/Tsunami Series are for sale on my Etsy shop. In honor of the many who lost their lives one year ago this month, and of those who survived to mourn and to rebuild, I am offering free shipping on the works in this series, to anywhere in the world, till the end of March. Click here to see which ones in the series are still available.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

the moon

spring (inspired by Psalm 89:37)

winter (inspired by the poem by Misuzu Kaneko)

autumn (inspired by the haiku by Matsuo Basho)

Friday, March 9, 2012

illustration friday (yield)


by Robert Frost

Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question 'Whither?'

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,

And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

illustration friday (intention)

There was a time in my life, I regret to say, when I prided myself in clever repartee. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I just wanted to be admired by people for my quick wit and verbal skills. Then one day, a colleague said to me in a thoughtful way, "I would rather be kind than clever." That quiet comment shook me to the core, and the memory served forever after as a check on my foolish pride (although not always with total success).

Like a maniac shooting
flaming arrows of death
is one who deceives their neighbor
and says, “I was only joking!”

(Proverbs 26:18-19)

Friday, March 2, 2012

spring giveaway winners

Thank you for your participation in the etegami bookplates giveaway! Yesterday, I wrote out the names on slips of paper, crunched them all up, put them into a brown paper bag, and shook the bag as though it were a cocktail shaker (I've only seen them in the movies). Then I drew out eight names, and contacted each winner for their postal address.

The eight sets of etegami bookplates are already on their way to Linda H, Noriko I, Margie B, Maria P, Maryvonne C, Barbara V, Carol S, and Tiffany C. Your frank feedback will help me improve their quality. I'm sorry I couldn't send them to everyone who showed interest. I hope to do a new giveaway around June. Thank you all for being an inspiration to me. oxox

Incidentally, it is already Saturday, March 3 in Japan, and we are celebrating Hinamatsuri (Doll's Day Festival). Treat yourself to some cool, clever, sweet, funny, and beautiful Etegami in a variety of styles and techniques by zipping over to the Etegami Fun Club group page on Facebook.