Monday, January 18, 2016

Japan Trip Inspires Brush Paintings

"Bamboo in the Garden"
5" x 7" Japanese Brush Painting
Ink on Watercolor Paper
"Senkyoro View"
8" x 10" Japanese Brush Painting
Ink on Watercolor Paper

Bob and I visited Japan for 16 days in November, a wonderful time to enjoy gardens and the colorful foliage. My friend and fellow artist, Susan, went with us. For 5 days we traveled on our own and then joined a Coopersmith Garden Tour in Tokyo. In honor of that trip I have been trying out my new Japanese brush that I purchased in Kyoto. After watching a few YouTube videos, I tried my hand at ink paintings. There is much to learn, but it is amazing what you can do with a single brush. I also want to do some work on Washi paper that I bought from a lovely paper store near our Kyoto hotel after I feel a bit more confident.

The first painting is an homage to the many gardens that contained bamboo. The gardens are so amazing there, and as I show you a few travel sketches in the next couple of posts, you will see what I mean. The Japanese culture emphasizes purity of design. The second painting was made from my watercolor sketch and photos I took while visiting a traditional inn in the region of Hakone National Park. Getting there was exciting. We had some instructions, tickets, and reservations. None of us speak Japanese. We first took one of their sleek bullet trains to Odwara Station where we exited and located a local bus. We had our destination, Senkyoro Inn, written in Japanese by the Otani Hotel staff in Tokyo. That really helped, as did the English translations on the destination electronics on the train and bus.

The traditional inn was top notch. I read all about the etiquette. No shoes on the tatami mat, and special slippers for the rest of the inn. We all wore the traditional Yukata while indoors.


 We ate traditional food for dinner. Gorgeously presented, beautiful pottery and china, and many things we had never eaten. It was a culinary adventure.

Bob and I loved our suite of rooms. Here you are looking from the entry across a room into a long narrow room with a view of the mountains. To the left was the equivalent of our livingroom. Here they laid out the futons on the floor for the night while we had dinner. They removed them in the morning while we had our Western breakfast. They were amazingly comfortable, though we probably weren't the most graceful getting in out in the middle of the night. The inn featured natural hot spring fed baths. My friend Susan and I took one bath in the women's section. Then Bob and I rented a private bath for couples.

Stay tuned for more Japan sketches and photos.


Teresa Beyer said...

I so enjoyed this post and the photo's. You looked beautiful in the traditional inside clothing. Can't wait to hear more about your travels.

Mary Paquet said...

Teresa, thanks so much for your kind comments. More posts coming up on Japan.

Peggy Stermer-Cox said...

Hi Mary, What a fun post! The photos are great. I really like your brush paintings, especially the bamboo! Oddly enough, I was just trying out a Japanese brush I inherited from my Dad. Its fun, though I haven't a clue what I'm doing. Which video did you use?

Thanks for sharing your adventure in Japan!

Mary Paquet said...

Teresa, I visited your blog and hope that you do some more posts soon. Love your work!

Peggy, I answered you in an email. If you search Japanese Brush Painting, you come up with great videos on painting landscapes, florals, and plants. I gave you links to some I like.