What I'm working on
My daily walks find me looking more closely at my surroundings trying to find and photograph the creatures that hide in the shadows and under leaves, or who move so quickly that I'm not fast enough to admire their tiny details with my naked eye.
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Cherry blossoms seen around Tokyo, Japan during hanami season. These sakura flowers were seen at Kiyosumi Gardens and at various parks along the Zenpukuji River. Each painting is 5 x 5 in, gouache on paper, 2017.
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 zoomed in on 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.
You can find these flowers on prints, mugs, notecards and more on RedBubble.
I'm finally painting all the time!
I got an art degree in 2007. I loved painting, but somehow I found a million reasons not to. My house is too small! My oil paints are too messy! No one will like it! My hands stopped working! All of them were dumb reasons, except the last, which was (mercifully) temporary. I celebrated getting my hands back by starting to make little paintings every month or two, but I still felt timid about sharing them.
I moved to Tokyo with my husband in October 2016 and was stunned by the changing colors. November on Mount Takao was surreal. Spring cherry blossoms were breathtaking. Summer hydrangeas kept me in awe. There is something here to marvel at all year, and I'm determined to make these memories last. I started taking photos, but they didn't do justice to what I was seeing, so I've been making paintings, in an effort to give palpability and permanence to the sights, scents and emotions of my Tokyo experience.