Sunday, February 19, 2012

Etegami by the Sea

A sampling of some finished pieces. 


a tissue and some turnip greens
After participating in etegami class last week I was invited to attend a different group out on town by my sensei, Shoko.  I spent a wonderful Friday afternoon with a nice group of ladies at a lovely little cafe called "Private" where we chit chatted and made Japanese folk-art.  

Our subjects were turnips, a lily, and a yellow bell pepper. 

Below are the 2 drawings I made.  
I chose to draw the turnip and the lily since I drew a green bell pepper last week.  

"The turnip's tail" 

Lily of Chigasaki
I love this style of drawing.  There are no rough drafts, and there are no such things as mistakes.  3 simple elements to make etegami are: the line, the message, and color.   The lines are full of energy and movement, however it is a slow process.  We were instructed to draw 1mm per second.  We also give up a majority of our control of the evenness and thickness of the lines by the way we hold the paintbrush. The paintbrush is held vertically with just your index finger, middle finger, and thumb grasping the end of the brush. As you draw, you keep the brush as perpendicular to the paper as possible.   There were a lot of shaky arms.  The message is written from right to left and might not have anything to do with the image you created.  The message might be a simple greeting, a poem, or just a statement on how you feel.  There really aren't rigid rules to this art-form.  Coloring is a much faster process; load up the rounded brushes* with pigment and dab away making sure to leave some white.

I finished my etegami with a little hankou (signature stamp) that Shoko sensei carved for me.  She also sent me home with some homemade madeleine cookies and a case to keep our received and unsent postcards in.  I love Japanese culture of hospitality and kindness.  It's something I'm looking forward to bringing back to the states, along with etegami.


*I'll be sure to get a shot of the 3 different brushes next time.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cultural Arts

I've been really excited about all the art classes that are available here at the Atsugi base.  This is a sampling of the classes I've taken over the last month.  I'm really excited about continuing some of these while I'm in Japan and beyond!


This is the art of Japanese calligraphy.   These are the practice sheets spread across my living room floor.  The characters I was practicing are SEIKOU, which means success, in honor of my husband's first full marathon later this month and some new years words like TAKO which means "kite".


Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging.  This arrangement was made in the MORIBANA style out of camellia, carnations, and a red branch which I don't know the name of.  

red branch detail


 Chigirie is the Japanese art of torn paper collage made out of WASHI paper and a rice glue.
 This festive image I made is of white and pink plum (UME) blossoms. 

 The  details above and below show the fibers of the washi paper.

"this is a pepper"

Etegami breaks down to: E = pictures and TEGAMI = letter/message.  It is a Japanese folk-art consisting of a simple hand painted drawing with a few (very few in my case) words.  My very first etegami is this bell pepper, and my second etegami creation is this yellow and orange tulip that is fully bloomed.


I love Japan.