As Winter makes a last futile attempt to delay the coming Spring, I sit with a hot cup of coffee & my art supplies, watching snow blanket the blooming crocuses & daffodils… being present… & being still.
I’m continuing to fill my Japanese-styled sketchbook with simple pen & ink drawings along with accompanying Haiku-inspired poems. Nature continues to be my Muse, my source of endless inspiration. The first picture is my dog, Freyja, a former puppy mill breeding dog, who was rescued last October & became my little girl last December. She’s slowly learning that life can be full of fun & joy. The second is a drawing of a few delicate leaves I found on a walk. The third is a beautiful rock sculpture that was sitting at the edge of a stream by a cottage. Enjoy.
These are three more images from the little golden sketchbook I wrote about in my last post. Taking a subject & simplifying it with a few lines & adding a haiku-inspired poem keeps me focused on what I see as the subject’s pure essence. The first drawing is a tree planted in the middle of a path. While people ignore it as they walk around it, I imagine the tree eagerly waiting for someone to say, “Hi.” The second drawing is one of my favorite nearby spots with an amazing view. The third is my blind dog, Paco, who can safely explore the fenced-in area of the doggie park, while I watch him lovingly from my blanket stretched under a shady tree.
Japanese bookbinding is a beautiful technique & one that I enjoyed using to make this little golden sketchbook with the bright red thread.
The special little book that inspired a new way to express my creativity.
It took a few months but I finally decided to try something totally new… Haiku-inspired poetry & calligraphic line drawings. It challenged me to keep the work simple, focusing on the essence of my subjects. I enjoyed this project, stretching myself as an artist.
Have you ever read something about an artist & thought, “Yes! Me, too!!”? That’s how I felt when I read the following quote at the Van Gogh: Up Closeexhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art last Saturday. “For Van Gogh, the blade of grass became a metaphor for living simply & observing the surrounding world with thoughtful attention, a practice that grounded his personal & professional life.” That quote deeply resonated with me because I, too, am trying to stay grounded by connecting more intimately with nature.
Several Japanese prints similar to those Van Gogh collected & used as sources of inspiration were also on display. The prints were absolutely beautiful! In the museum gift shop, I purchased 2 books on them & have spent the last few days studying the work of Hokusai specifically. Take a look at Van Gogh’s inspiration & see how he interpreted similar subject matter.
Van Gogh's Iris
Hokusai's Bullfinch with Dropping Cherry
Van Gogh's Almond Blossom
Artists get inspiration from nature & one another. Van Gogh & Hokusai make the surrounding landscape fall away, gently forcing the viewer to focus on the subject. They capture a moment, a mood. Each work is a visual haiku.
At times, my inner critic tells me that my work is too simplistic but then I remind myself, ‘That’s the point.” One blossom. One bird. One pine cone. Oneness.