Monday, December 19, 2011

Where it’s at with the fishes…

I’ve wrestled a few short painting sessions from the clutches of December and this is where the painting is currently at…12 19 

Although this month has been much less intense than the past 3, I’m still finding lots of ways to keep myself busy!  The progress since my last posting on December 9 has been pretty slow.  I’m trying to build the fish up with incremental layers of translucent and transparent glazes to get the appearance of the roiling mass of Koi.  The various colors of the fish and how they appear both above and below the water means much studying of the photos and digging back through my memories from when I took them.  I enjoy this process, but it is extremely slow – I hope you’re not getting bored with this.  One more post and I’ll wrap these guys up…  I promise!

12 12Defining the fish with areas of dark…

12 11Finding more shapes… with translucent glazes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Continuing Koi

Here’s how I spent my hour painting today…

First I printed one of my photos of Koi ponds from our visit to Hakone.  I used that to better inform the previous vague fish shapes and to make decisions about the value pattern that is developing.


Then I painted negatively around these shapes using thalo turquoise and transparent red Iron oxide.  I also painted into a few of the fishes with tinted white…  using the same two colors but adding some indian yellow for the fish bodies.  I’m enjoying this painting.  It’s the type of painting that can be done in small increments which is just what I need right now. 


Still lots to do on this painting but we’re off to look after grandson Parker [21 months] for the evening so his folks [daughter Kim and SIL Kyle] can take in a Christmas Party.  Should be fun!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chaos in acrylic – 22”x30”

I’ve been enjoying some short sessions painting from chaos this week.  Here’s what this acrylic on 300 lb watercolor paper looks right now…IMG_4826  IMG_4822 

I began with some light washes of orange and blue.  Once dry I wet the paper IMG_4820and dumped a layer of yellow and two reds.  While still wet I used some texturing tools and a brayer to lift some areas.  This made some subtle checkered and leafy textured places.  IMG_4823Some areas were still quite wet and I patted down a garbage bag and left it sit overnight.  Today I pondered the results and it is giving me a feeling of Koi fishes…  I saw plenty of those in Japan and have loads of photos to help me out.  Before I commit to making this about fish, I thought I would add a few general fish shapes.  I made most of the edges soft because I want lots of options tomorrow.



Friday, December 2, 2011

Toku for Matsushima [9”x12”, oil]

On November 3rd, we left Tokyo to spend a few days at “Tak”, a much loved haunt for Candice and Doug’s family.  Tak is a cluster of a few dozen vacation cabins on the south side of Matsushima Bay, Myagi Prefecture… just a bit north of Sendai.  I would have loved to see this area before the Tsunami!  It is hauntingly beautiful, and has a special place in the hearts of many Japanese people. 

Tohu for Matsushima When the tsunami hit March 11, these hundreds [~260] of small islands absorbed most of the damaging power of the waves and thus spared many of the treasures in the shrines and museums in town, not to mention the the threat of injury and death for the residents.  I know nothing of Kanji personally but I googled the Kanji symbol for shelter and found Toku.  This little painting is all about that protection and shelter so I added the Kanji.

I have very fond memories of the time we spent in the north.  We enjoyed spending time with the kids and playing the tourist.  We walked on the beach with the kids and listened to their stories and thoughts from March 11.  I’m so glad the kids weren’t at the cottage then!  The tsunami warning system did its job and saved thousand of lives – very few lives were lost in Shichigahama where we stayed, despite the horrific property damage.  The area called “Tak”, where Candice and Doug have their little cottage, is perched high up on the hill overlooking the ocean.  Only two cottages sustained damage – Candice and Doug’s foundation required major repair and their neighbour had water in the basement.  They got off very, very lightly. 

It was hard to grasp the horror of the tsunami when looking out to sea on those gorgeous November days.  But, when one turned away from the sea there was a surreal, flattened landscape of bare concrete foundations as far as the eye can see.  The trees at the beach are bent and twisted but most will survive…  much like the people of this area who are rebuilding their lives as best they can.  Stoically, steadily, slowly.  I’d like to help in some way. 

Here are a few photos we took in Myagi prefecture:

tsunami damage walkabout (2) 

Walkabout to introduce Grandma and Grandpa to the area

living on the old foundation

Living on the old foundation!

beach view from the cliffs of Tak

Beach view from the Tak cliff

 cottage view - the water made it this high

Beach view from cottage deck – note the damaged Tsunami warning siren just below the trees.  The water rose to the base of these trees.

 cottage and shed

Cottage and the shed that floated 15 feet from it’s previous home.collecting

Kiera and Kalista hunting for treasures near the beachlots of cleanup done lately

22 huge bags of debris awaiting pickup for recycle and garbagegreat cruise boat

Matsushima Bay – cruise boat and oyster farm