Art Work Inspired by Japan

Full Moon, inspired by Hiroshige

Good morning everyone. This is a painting I did for this month’s theme in our Beginner Gouache group, Of course, the theme is Japan and I looked up works by Hiroshige and Hokusai, two masters of the woodblock printing technique. Actually, in this art work inspired by Japan, I did change some of the elements in the design when I painted this tribute to the artist. And I just loved working in this gorgeous limited palette of colours, a couple of blues, black and white. Perhaps you agree with me how effective these choices can be, creating a mood of calm and serenity.

The Great Wave

You may remember seeing this acrylic painting before, if you like to look at this blog. Anyway, I painted this in response to a theme for a Northern Fringe Gallery exhibition a couple of years ago. In fact, we chose from a long list of a hundred objects selected from the marvellous British Museum collection. And I chose that well-known print by Hokusai, The Great Wave. But I set it in a local beauty spot, so that the keen fisherman on the bank was blissfully unaware of the coming deluge!

Another Art Work Inspired by Japan

Mount Fuji

Finally, I couldn’t miss out this acrylic painting of the familiar iconic view of Mount Fuji. It shows the view from over the water. And this painting is at present on display at Rotherham Roar Buzz Gallery. (Incidentally, we take it down next Wednesday, the month is nearly up). So, I found at least three paintings inspired by Japan. And there are two more in existence, if only I could find them!

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Open Air Sketching by the Water

A quick open air sketch in watercolour of a view over the reservoir,  framed by trees , with a jetty extending over the water .
Open Air Sketching at Worsbrough Reservoir

We went for a lovely walk last Friday at Worsbrough Mill .The day was very hot , so this shady spot was just perfect for open air sketching . I always carry a small sketching kit when I go into the countryside . For me , sketching means using watercolour with perhaps a simple pencil or pen sketch first . But quite often I draw with the paintbrush to get everything into position and then , the best bit , add the colour .This took about twenty minutes .You see , the idea is , not to produce the best finished sketch you ever did , but to make an on the spot record of the scene .

Outdoor Sketching Kit

It’s quite simple really , I fill a medium sized pencil case with a few pens and pencils , plus an eraser and a sharpener . Then I take my little watercolour set . It has twelve colours and the lid of the case is my palette. Three brushes is enough , I find . I use a little plastic travel bottle with screw top for water . The sketch books I take are mainly decent watercolour paper , two different sizes : 10 by 7 inch or , my favourite, 8 by 5 inches .This is quite small , I know , but then there is a good chance of getting the painting finished .

A close up of my hands doing my open air sketching at the scene . You can just see my little  watercolour sketching kit .
Open Air Sketching at the Res

This is a simple phone snap , nothing fancy , just something to record the scene . I can also refer to it if I decide to use this little study and paint a larger picture of the subject in watercolour or acrylic .

A Shady Spot

The reservoir as Hokusai might have painted it .

The Great Wave at Worsbrough Reservoir

There’s a long story attached to this painting – for all the details , see here . But the short version is : this is my favourite beauty spot re-imagined with ‘The Great Wave ‘ appearing on it . It’s my tribute to the great Japanese artist Hokusai ( 1760 – 1849). Just to end on a lighter , more whimsical note !

Why do we do open air sketching ?

Good question .Firstly, I love the freshness of my work when I paint with the subject directly in front of me ( not from a photo ) . Secondly , finishing it quickly like this improves my drawing skills . And , of course , it’s really enjoyable !

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