Saturday, June 16, 2007

Japanese Treasures

It's great to be home again and I have so many special memories of people and places from Japan. In Kyoto, I painted this little dorei doll, a clay bell that looks like a geisha. In other regions of Japan, dorei dolls are painted to represent the zodiac animals or Daruma- an Indian monk known for his religious devotion. He sat in meditation so long he lost the use of his legs.

After painting the dorei doll, I searched for Saiun-do, a little shop in the Gion or geisha section of Kyoto that sells supplies for Japanese painting. The top photo shows Anekoji preparing the wonderful materials I purchased and am eager to use. The watercolor gansai paints are made from plant pigments developed over a hundred years ago by the original shop owner. The soft colors go with suiboku-ga, or the Japanese ink paintings.

Of course, one needs the brushes, brush holders, sumi ink sticks, a suzuri ink grinding stone, water holder to rinse brushes, and a tiny vessel to add water for ink preparation. The single handle with five brushes bound together is called a renpitsu- unique to Japan. It's used for large sweeps of color where a gradation of shades is desired with one stroke. Anekoji demonstrated how to use the brushes and the different ink colors. I wanted to take her demo book home with all of it's soft colors, brush strokes and muted tones. I felt very honored when she had me sign her guest book along with other painters from all over the world.

Now it's back to unpacking, getting prints made of the photos I took and finishing my Japan journal.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Your trip to Japan was wonderful! I can see you enjoyed it immensely.