Hanami 2017

These sakura paintings are gouache on paper, images of cherry blossoms seen around Tokyo, Japan during hanami.

Hanami, 花見, literally means "flower viewing". Every spring, thousands of people come to parks to see the blooming sakura, or cherry blossoms. The blossoms only last about a week, so it can get crowded. I headed to Yoyogi Park one weekend, and there were so many people coming for hanami that it took 20 minutes just to wait in line to get out of Harajuku station. It's usually a 2 minute walk from the platform to the gate.

I've tried to focus on the fine details of the tiny blossoms, in hopes that I can preserve the hanami experience. The hues and tints of the blossoms, the soft springtime sunlight on the petals, the delicious scents, and the cool breezes. I was raised in Texas, where spring and fall are painfully short seasons, and the city summers are often too hot for anything to grow. In Tokyo, all four seasons are well-represented (there's even a fifth season of endless rain), and I finally appreciate the beauty of the slow changes in color throughout the year. I now look ahead and find parks and rivers to visit different blooms each month throughout the city.

These sakura blossoms were seen at Kiyosumi Gardens and at various parks along the Zenpukuji River.

Each painting is 14 x 15 cm, gouache on paper, 2017.

Suginami Sakura 3

Suginami Sakura 3

Suginami Sakura 2

Suginami Sakura 2

Suginami Sakura 1

Suginami Sakura 1

Yellow Blossoms - Omiya Sunset Hill

Yellow Blossoms - Omiya Sunset Hill

Kiyosumi Gardens 5

Kiyosumi Gardens 5

Kiyosumi Gardens 4

Kiyosumi Gardens 4

Zenpukuji River

Zenpukuji River

Kiyosumi Gardens 3

Kiyosumi Gardens 3

Kiyosumi Gardens 2

Kiyosumi Gardens 2

Kiyosumi Gardens 1

Kiyosumi Gardens 1