Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mt Fuji View 22

22nd of Hokusai's 24 views of Mt. Fuji from the Sumida River. Micron pen in watercolor pocketbook moleskine.

Looking forward to the first day of a new year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mt Fuji View 21

21st view of Hokusai's 24 views of Mt. Fuji from the Totomi Mountains. Micron pen in watercolor pocketsize moleskine.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mt Fuji View 20

20th of Hokusai's 24 views of Mt. Fuji from Inume Pass. Micron pen in watercolor pocketbook moleskine. I included the sketch before I added more color to the mountain.

20th view

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mt Fuji View 19

Like an elaborate scene from bunraku, the clouds are puppets playing a supporting role to Mt. Fuji. The waves are bent in a similar angle. The finger of land echoes the same curve, all movement in harmony.

19th of Hokusai's 24 views of Mt. Fuji from Shichirigahama. Micron pen in watercolor pocketbook moleskine.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mini Santa

This is the extent of this year's decorations, a one inch ceramic Santa and his flip top house where he hibernates in the off-season. Other things took priority this month. Treated myself to this little sketch in a new small Pro-Art sketch book. Thick paper, okay for ink, not okay for watercolor. It soaks up the color and turns the color an antique less bright tint but I know that so I expect it. Does give a softer intimate quality. Done to scale, one inch to one inch Santa, looking up at me. Didn't plan this page. Just drew Santa then threw in his house. That's why Rudolph is rising off the page.

Behind in my cookie baking.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mt Fuji View 18 Waves, Waves, Waves

Waves, waves and more waves.

Hokusai's giant waves sketched in 3.5 x 5 watercolor moleskine and accordian moleskine. At the bottom is the Tuttle book of Hokusai's (24) Views of Mt. Fuji, printed in Japan, with it's protective slipcover box. The Amazon dealer described it as a 1967 edition but the inside page only lists the 1965 edition date (for those who enjoy old books). The paper is thin, printed on one side, folded to create two sides. This is the same book carried by Mari in Roger Zelazny's sci fi novella "The 24 Views of Mt. Fuji by Hokusai", written 1985. At that time, the internet was science fiction. I began my sketches before reading Zelazny's novella, completing the series of sketches in about 7 weeks.

Under the moleskine is a 1955 edition of "Hokusai" found at the Apple Box used bookstore on Clement in San Francisco. It also is printed in Japan by the Charles Tuttle company.

After doing the first 6 views I wanted a break from the small moleskine, sketching two views in the larger accordian moleskine, the cranes and the waves which move into a letter from Antarctica and the Antarctica star fish. Continuing the theme of oceans.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mt Fuji View 17

17th view from Lake Suwa.

"I lean heavily upon my staff. Live a little, die a little. I have reached my tenth station and I still do not know whether Fuji is giving me strength or taking it from me. Both, perhaps."

From the 10th chapter of "The 24 Views of Mt. Fuji by Hokusai" by Roger Zelazny. A novella of less than 80 pages, 24 chapters.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Breakfast at Tiffany's

For my Cinderella moment I would like to feel like Audrey Hepburn in that dress and gloves from Breakfast at Tiffany's. The operative word is "feel". There is only one Audrey and no one could duplicate that inner glow. Acrylic on paper then cut into shapes.

Mother and child collage from magazine scraps.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mt Fuji View 16

Despite his appeals to heaven for “yet another decade—nay, even another five years,” on the 18th day of the fourth month of the Japanese calendar “the old man mad with painting,” as he called himself, breathed his last. He was 89 but still insatiably seeking for an ultimate truth in art—as he had written 15 years earlier:

Excerpt from Encyclopedia Britannica
"From the age of five I have had a mania for sketching the forms of things. From about the age of 50 I produced a number of designs, yet of all I drew prior to the age of 70 there is truly nothing of any great note. At the age of 73 I finally apprehended something of the true quality of birds, animals, insects, fishes, and of the vital nature of grasses and trees. Therefore, at 80 I shall have made some progress, at 90 I shall have penetrated even further the deeper meaning of things, at 100 I shall have become truly marvelous, and at 110, each dot, each line shall surely possess a life of its own. I only beg that gentlemen of sufficiently long life take care to note the truth of my words."

Mt. Fuji from Umezawa.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mt Fuji View 15

View of Mt. Fuji from Tsukudajima in Edo.

The mailman delivered a box of holiday cookies from my stepmother, almond biscotti and crisp oatmeal raisin, my favorites. A treat for a cold rainy day. Need to get serious and bake up my own batch of almond biscotti for next week.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mt Fuji View 14

View from Meguro in Edo. 14th of the 24 Views of Mt. Fuji.

I've finished my sketches and have gone on to other prints of Hokusai. Now we're getting into linework that inspired Van Gogh. He copied several Ukiyo-e prints, one of geishas and Hiroshige's Sudden Rain.

Van Gogh's letter to his sister. "When we study Japanese art, we see a man who is no doubt wise, philosophical and intelligent. And how does he spends his time? Studying the distance between the earth and the moon? No. Studying the political theories of Bismarck? No. He studies a single blade of grass. But this blade of grass leads him to draw plants of all kinds, then the seasons, the overall aspects of the landscape, then animals, and finally, the human figure. This is how he spends his life, and life is too short to do the whole. Come now, isn't it almost a true religion which these simple Japanese teach us, who live in nature as though they themselves were flowers? And it seems to me that we cannot study Japanese art without becoming much gayer and happier, and we must return to nature despite our education and our work in a world of conventions."

Vincent never visited Japan but looked at the woodblock prints that were available. He visited Japan with his mind's eye.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mt Fuji View 13

Mt. Fuji from Koishikawa in Edo. A nice view, tea and rest on this journey.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mt Fuji View 12

Always nice to reach the halfway point. 12th view from Lake Kawaguchi.

Hokusai, at almost 90 (1760 - 1849), wanted another 10 years to accomplish more projects. He used thirty different names to sign his work and lived in almost 90 homes at one time or another. An aggressive man, unafraid to call attention to himself in sensational ways. In later years, he even signed his works "The Art-Crazy Old Man".

Hokusai's Mt Fuji and Warhol

Hokusai's Mt Fuji and Warhol
Hokusai's Mt Fuji and Warhol,
originally uploaded by aiko-sumida.
Andy Warhol would have eventually done Hokusai.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Studio Organizers

Black page books hold clippings and scraps, sometimes arranged in collages, for visual stimulus and some are from travel and events like museum shows, Calder in San Francisco, Magritte in LA, Van Gogh in Amsterdam. Where I keep the things I will never wear, like outrageous apple green satin Jimmy Choo heels with tomato red undersoles.

These binders are filled with plastic sleeves that hold original art, reduced copies of larger pieces, collages, sketches and collages unfinished, letters, stories.

Pocketsize photo albums are handy for organizing reduced copies of sketches that can be made up into small booklets for trips, places and people, floral, still life, etc. The views of Hokusai will fill one of these booklets. The drawers next to the chest hold pens, paints, supplies. Both came from Ross. Easier for me to keep art things in pieces that look like furniture.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mt Fuji View 11

11th of Hokusai's 24 views of Fujiyama at Mishima-goe. Starting to feel refreshed with optimism that I can complete this journey, now that I am near the midpoint.

Rendered with blue ball point pen and sumi ink. 3 1/2 x 5 inch pocketbook moleskine.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Drawing Room

My drawing space in what used to be a balcony until it grew up to be a room. The accordian moleskine begun in Monterey. My back is to the wall and the desk faces west into the room.

Open space and nothing to distract my vision while I work. Minimal tools, micron pen, dip pen, sumi ink, Winsor Newton paintbox. I use the computer keyboard pullout table to store a paint tray, ruler. The little curve shaped papers are to mask areas while painting. A mechanical pencil so I don't have to bother sharpening and grey kneaded eraser, no crumbs and doesn't pull up paper fibers. Lower left corner shows the toe of my minnitonka mocassins, my personal choice for sketching footwear at home.

Working on Hokusai's view 21 of Mt. Fuji. I use the black book as an album for all the bits and pieces collected. General Patton invading Normandy, Lucy and Ethel, geisha and Godzilla leads to Hokusai prints of the floating world. The black book serves as my morgue, a term one of my design teachers used for his collection of reference images for sketching. He kept his in a filing cabinet but it never worked for me. Not as user friendly as my little book which also is fun for small collages.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mt Fuji View 10

Hokusai waxes lyrical, the wind bend the paths and people. Everything bends to the will of the wind except the mighty mountain.

This is my journey, record the 24 views of Mt. Fuji through the mind's eye of Hokusai, sketch what is no longer there, except for Fuji-san. When I reach the 24th view, I will have found what I was looking for.

Ukiyo-e, pictures of the floating world, portray the ephemeral life of actors, geisha, those who entertain, sometimes on pleasure boats that float between the palace and the geisha houses. Wood-block prints during the Edo period, 1600 to 1868, made art affordable. Hokusai depicted scenes from nature and in later years showed a fondness for illustrating life of the lower working class, with amusement and affection.

Recorded in a pocketbook moleskine 3 ½ x 5 inch, one page, one view, no second chance.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Stranger

The Stranger, an old black and white drama with Orson Welles and Loretta Young. The dramatic backlighting in this scene barely outlines their profiles. Paused it and sketched first in pencil then Micron pen. Filled the background on the computer. Just for fun, I sometimes use online movies for life drawing.

I prefer the sketch without the black background. Maybe I'll play with a sepia wash. Wanted to post this as a break from doing the views of Mt. Fuji series.

Mt Fuji View 9

Under the torii at the Shinto shrine at Noborito. The 9th of Hokusai's 24 views of Fujiyama.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mt Fuji View 8

Fishermen of Tagonoura, the 8th view.

Pocketbook moleskine floating world journey of Hokusai's 24 Views of Mt. Fuji.