Springtime at Fairmount Park

100 Famous Views of Philadelphia is one of those projects I keep trying to go back to, but keep getting sidetracked with other things. So painting them is rather slow. I started this one back in July after I moved to Fukui, and then stopped working on it until this week, when I thought I really ought to finish it before moving on to another picture.

Springtime at Fairmount Park
Springtime at Fairmount Park / フェアモント公園の陽春

If you haven’t had a chance to get out to Fairmount Park in early April, do yourself a favor and go! The trees really are something to behold, and the Japan America Society’s Cherry Blossom Festival is quite awesome.

Chrysanthemum Earth Festival (菊地球博) Poster

Echizen has a small expo called the Chrysanthemum Earth Festival. It’s a local eco-festival, with 4 themes: Ajimano, man’yo, ecology, and chrysanthemums. It was started last year by a volunteer organization that my wife’s brother is part of, and this year I was asked to do the promo poster for it. I thought it would be a great chance to do a Japanese painting. So I started out by painting a few Chrysanthemums (which are the official flower of Echizen city):

Chrysanthemums
Chrysanthemums

And then tweaked it around a bit to make it more like a poster, adding the event information, and changing the center flower into the Earth:

菊地球博
菊地球博

Stars over Ono

Ono is a tiny city in northeastern Fukui, surrounded by mountains on all sides, which I read is a rare thing in Japan. It’s a very old castle town which claims to be famously known as “The Kyoto of Hokuriku,” just like Takefu did, and just about every other city in this region. Anyway, the city is holding a postcard contest with the theme “stars,” so I’ll be entering this piece.

Stars over Ono
Stars over Ono

I have to brag about my nerdiness a little bit on this one. I didn’t want to just slap an artificial starry night together for the background, but it’s also difficult to do a digital image outside in another city at night. In order to get a fairly accurate star image, I used a space-browsing program called Celestia, located Ono city on Earth, rotated the camera to the sky, coordinating with google maps and flickr images to find the proper viewing angle from the base of the main donjon of Ono castle, and then time-warped Celestia’s star navigation to August 31st, 2009, roughly 11:30 pm, when the Moon and the Milky Way would both be visible above the castle (as well as a couple of comets and an additional galaxy, which I didn’t paint). So while the stars are certainly brighter than you’d see on a night like this, and the spaces between them are not perfectly to scale, you’re looking at a fairly accurate version of the night sky above Echizen Ono Castle.

Dragon

There’s some new content at Nevermet Press with another one of my sketches. This time it’s a dragon. Here’s the picture:

Artwork for "Enemy of my Enemy"
Artwork for "Enemy of my Enemy"

He looks like he’s up to something, right? He’s doing the little finger-twiddling thing. I don’t really know why, but that’s the mood I was in when I sketched him.

Speaking of dragons, I saw an awesome song on TV a while back, on the most famous Japanese kid’s show. I haven’t been able to get it out of my head for days. Here’s the song:

Probably it’s because I want a dragon suit like that…