Golden Week

As much I hate to admit it, Golden Week is over. I’m really glad I didn’t get tonsillitis this year, so I could fully enjoy it finally. I rented about 20 DVD’s during the 100 yen DVD sale, and painted almost every day. I also found a new art store in Takefu right near my house (pity that I’m moving in a few months) and spent a lot of time with Hitomi’s (and now my, I guess) family, working on their farm/garden, and relaxing. I painted a lot of my Warhammer army too. All-in-all, it feels like a squeenzed an awesome month into an 8 day spread, so I’m really happy. Returning to work after such a vacation has been like returning to doom, but there’s only a few weeks left of it so I can push through. Anyway, here are my panting fiesta results:

Mt. Hino from Murasaki Shikibu Park
Mt. Hino from Murasaki Shikibu Park
Mt. Hino
Mt. Hino from the Hino River
Mt. Hino
Mt. Hino from the Hino River (different style)
Spiderweb in Ajimano Gardens
Spiderweb in Ajimano Gardens

The first 3 are oils and the final one is gouache and ink. I actually did 1 more piece of Hitomi in her kyuudo outfit riding a giraffe and firing arrows on a red, ringed planet in space… but it’s still wet so I couldn’t scan it. I’m really enjoying painting with gouache — the two pieces I’ve done on Japanese boards so far turned out nice for me. I think I’ll continue using it when I can.

100 Famous Views of Philadelphia

Just in time (to see, not to buy) for the 2009 Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, it’s 100 Famous Views of Philadelphia: Spring View of Shofuso (松風荘庭園の春景色). It was rough pulling this one together in just one month, with the proposal, wedding planning, and work, but I like how it came out. Being as these pieces are kind of partner to the Cherry Blossom Festival, it’s nice to have another cherry blossom themed piece too.

Spring View of Shofuso (松風荘庭園の春景色)

Now, you should go out and see the real thing, in Fairmount park! You can learn more about the Japanese House and Garden at www.shofuso.com, and you can learn more about the Cherry Blossom Festival at jasgp.org/cherryblossomfestival (as well as buy my prints — you know you want to).

Orcs, Ogres, and an Organist

I did this piece for my brother for his upcoming organ recital. I guess he’s playing some famous “Halloweeny” pieces like Danse Macabre and Night on Bald Mountain on the organ. It sounds really cool, and I wish I hear it. But oh well. Maybe there will be a recording I can listen to? So this piece is supposed to go on the posters and such for the recital. He asked for a D&D-ish feel to it, so here is my ogress doing the “classic” organ playing pose.  Good luck, Erik!

Orcs, Ogres, and an Organist
Orcs, Ogres, and an Organist

Fireworks Over Hino River

This is a painting that I meant to paint last year. Actually, it was the first painting I planned on painting in Takefu, after seeing the summer festival fireworks last Obon vacation. I ended up sketching it, but never got around to painting it, as I was focusing in digital paintings. I finally got around to it — I did it in gouache rather than digital, and I was floored by how quickly I did it. I had forgotten how much extra time it takes me to do digital rather than traditional paintings… and of course by how fast gouache is compared to oil. The whole thing probably took me 3 or 4 hours to do, and it was super fun. The downside to gouache, though, is that if it get so much as slightly wet, the image will be ruined… and also that the scan doesn’t look half as good as the real painting.

I’m giving it to Hitomi’s dad, since the first time I met him he jokingly demanded that I paint him something. Plus he said he’d trade me his daughter for a painting. Nice. I had been working on an oil for him, but this one turned out so much better than the other one.

Fireworks Over Hino River
Fireworks Over Hino River

Shrine of the Paper Gods

This latest one is a painting of the shrine to the paper gods in Imadate, next to Takefu. As an artist, I find it just so damn cool that there is a shrine to the paper gods here. During Golden Week in May, I visited the shrine with Hitomi during a festival, and we got to see the townspeople fight over the mikoshi containing the gods, and carry them from shrine to shrine throughout Imadate on a cold, rainy, rainy day. At night, we returned to the shrine to witness the end of the festival. At a shrine at the foot of a tall mountain, lit by torches and lanterns, a bunch of priests played traditional “music” (a.k.a. noise) that gave the area this otherworldy feel, and they enshrined the gods once more, and took them up to the top of the mountain to their summer home. Really, really awesome.

I’ll be updating this painting just a bit more in the future, as I did with the Mikuni shrine and as I am currently doing with my Nagoya-jou painting. One of the things I like most about the ukiyo-e prints hanging from my walls (the complete series of 53 Stations of the Tokaido and a few other random prints) is the “little people doing things” — a term I learned at Ringling from Mr. Perez, the computer illustration teacher. Apparantly, “little people doing things” is the secret to success in art, and as evidenced by the popularity of my Cherry Blossoms on the Schuylkill River over my other prints, I believe that to be true now. So sometime soon you’ll see some “little people doing things” added to a few more of my Japanese prints.