February 25, 2018

About paints, clay and more paints!

In between classes and outings I was able to spend some quality time in the studio last week. I finished a piece and started work on another one, at the start of the year I was working on 5 Japan themed pieces and I just started work on the final one!

After that piece is finished I am going to take a little time to experiment with some Japanese paper and try something exiting that involves our 3D printer, I also bought a couple of gorgeous,, chunky live edge, Japanese Cedar blocks that deserve some love. I will probable start some new compositions while working on these experiments as well, I have a coupe of exhibitions coming up and I know Latitude 44 Gallery in Toronto has been eagerly awaiting some new work. Also, I have a bunch of empty panels in my storage room that are begging me for some love every time I open the door :)

I did't get to spend as much time in the studio as I might have wanted but there was a good reason! On Thursday I went to Kato Sensei's studio to try my hand at Japanese pottery making again. Kato Hiroshige san is a very talented pottery maker and working at his studio is an absolute joy! 

This time around I was a little more confident so I was able to be a little more daring. I created 2 small cups and 2 matcha blows, which all came out perfectly Wabi Sabi, mostly on purpose ;)

On Friday it was time for more paints at Yamato-E class. I continue to be fascinated by these vibrant paints! 

This week sensei showed me the secrets of adding little gold flakes to your painting.I was really excited to learn about this technique as it is something I might want to incorporate in future pieces. 

It is always a joy to come to Kodera san's house to paint and learn about Japanese culture together with a group of wonderful ladies!

February 13, 2018

Kites and flights and snow!

Last week I had the opportunity to join a lovely group of ladies for some Japanese kite making. When we arrived at this tiny kite shop located in the old main street near Nagoya castle, we were led through a curtain to the back and up the stairs to a large room. Boxes and boxes of kites lined the walls and some tables with supplies were set up in the center of the room.

Sensei kindly showed us hot to spread out the dollop of glue on the wooden board and how to assemble the kite and apply the glue. We had to pay close attention to the order of placement of the bamboo supports and of course it all needed to be done きちんと(neatly).

Next came the tough part, attaching the wires, getting down the knots was particularly difficult but we all managed in the end. When they were finished they still needed to dry over night so unfortunately we didn't get to fly them yet.

In Japan this past weekend was a holiday weekend, which meant hubby had some time off! So we packed up our skis and hoped on a plane to Sapporo, Hokkaido for the annual snow festival.

The snow sculptures on Odori were awe inspiring, not just because of their sheer size but also because the level of detail was out of this world! We first viewed al of them by daylight but made sure to come back in the evening to see them all lit up, they even had some with 3D mapping which was wonderful!

On Saturday we went to Niseko to do some skiing, unfortunately there was a lot of snow and fog so the visibility was quite minimal, the snow however, was amazing and the onsen afterwards felt heavenly. On our way back we stopped in Otaru where they had a beautiful snow lantern festival where hundreds of candles were floating on the canal and lining the street. It was absolutely stunning and an amazing seafood dinner in the tiniest of restaurants was definitely the perfect way to end the day!

On Sunday we explored Sapporo visiting the two additional sites of the snow festival as wel as some temples, an awesome fish market and of course the Sapporo beer museum.

In the evening we visited the Chocolate factory which actually looked like how you would want a chocolate factory to look and the beautiful light displays definitely added to there magic!

We ended the evening with an awesomely Japanese 3d projection show on a snowy field. Awesomeness!

January 28, 2018

A wonderful art filled week

Aaah, what a wonderful art filled week that was! Since my Japanese class was rescheduled to Thursday last week, I had a chance to join some friends on a trip to a local museum and tea house on Tuesday. We visited the Furukawa Art Museum where they had a beautiful exhibition about the jour seasons of Japan. I particularly enjoyed the vibrant colors and beautiful lines and was fascinated by the painting techniques used. It was very interesting to see the different traditional ways of presenting the artworks, instead of a frame the paintings are mounted using a combination of fabrics to create hanging scrolls or room divider screens.

At about three minutes walk from the museum there is a traditional Japanese tea house, which is part of the museum. The tea house is huge for Japanese standards and includes several exhibition rooms as well as a beautiful hidden garden. We enjoyed walking around the garden and exhibition rooms before settling down for the traditional matcha and sweets which was served in beautiful matcha bowls which were created by different pottery artists.

Pictured were not allowed inside the museum and tea house but I will share some pics from the beautiful garden below.

On Friday we had our first Yamato-e class of the year! As my painting was almost finished I was very eager to get back to it. I managed to finish it most of the way, except for some very special gold dust techniques which sensei will teach me about in the next class. I did already pick my next painting, which will include more of the gold dust, just so I can get a bit of extra practice with this new technique!

At the end of the week we were surprised by a beautiful blanket of snow here in Nagoya, which made for some nice views from my studio window! It also made snuggling up in my warm, cozy little studio extra enticing, I managed to finish one of the pieces I was working on and get a second one most of the way there. I expect this week I will be able to finish that second one and hopefully get a good start on the third!

January 21, 2018

Fun filled weeks

I can't believe we're almost at the end of January already! Time flies when you're having fun! I've been working hard on my Japanese language studies, sensei told me there is going to be a test this week, so I'll have to put I some extra hours this week! I also had my fist calligraphy class of the year last week, which was awesome. This time I learned how to write Wa Ka Sei Jaku, which means Harmony, Respect, Purity and Tranquility, a good one to start the new year with! It was quite tricky though, since this phrase consists out of four different Kanji so you not only have to worry about the balance of each individual character, but also the balance of all four of them on the page. My goal is to make this into a hanging scroll but I'll definitely need some additional practice before I can move forward with that!

I managed to spend some quality time in the studio, as I mentioned in my previous post,  am currently working on 5 new pieces! They're all in the finishing stages now so I have been eager to spend some quality time with them! I expect to finish at least one of them this week :)

I'll also have my first Yamato-e class of the year this upcoming Friday and I have plans to experience some Japanese art at the museum with friends tomorrow. It is shaping up to be a full and exciting week! 

January 09, 2018

明けましておめでとうございます (Happy New Year)!

We were treated to some amazing views of Fuji san when leaving for Holland

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! We had an amazing trip to Holland to celebrate Christmas with family and friends, something we haven't been able to do for at lease 8 years so it was extra special to be able to spend time with loved ones over the holidays! 

I had an awesome evening with my parents in Amsterdam, we went on this awesome night time boat tour through the canals to see the art installations for the Amsterdam Light Festival. There was some pretty cool stuff, Moving images projected on netting, strips of light that showed the sound pollution under water, a map of the canals floating in mid air and a tunnel of lights that made it feel like you were entering a time portal. The art installations were really awesome and all the holiday lights made is look extra magical. 

Now that we've arrived in 2018 I am pumped to get back to the studio! I prepared 5 pieces before the holiday break so I am very eager to finish those, there will be some Japanese influences in these new pieces, I cannot wait to share them with you!