Category Archives: Art Work

My Own Exhibition Will Be Held

I’ll have my own exhibition at the following place & time.
Further information is coming soon.

Date Wen, July 16,2014 ~ Mon, July 21, 2014
   11:00~19:00 (Last Day Close 17:00)   
Venue Sekiun Gallery in Harajyuku near Takeshita Street
HP Sekiun Gallery (in Japanese)

スクリーンショット(2014-07-09 1.52.29)

A Hawk On The Branch


In winter, you can see raptorials on the branches that have no leave on it.
This picture depicts a common buzzard.
He remained on the branch for more than an hour watching around trees while some birds were flitting around him.

Wildflowers Come Out One After Another

I’m very busy during spring not simply because of joining Satoyama activities but also sketching wildlife.

Recently, I often go sketching the wildflowers that have come out here and there.
I’ve walked no less than 50 kilometers since last week.

I uploaded some pictures I had sketched for the last two weeks.

↑These are rice seeds with a nity sprout.

↑ Manchurian violet
You can see them along the rice paddy fields.

Oojisibari in Japanese name.

I posted a new article on my Japanese blog. Click here to see it.

A Story about Painting Materials I use

I usually paint or draw my pictures or sketches in Japanese traditional pigments, Chinese ink, pencil, color pencil or watercolors. I scarcely use oil paints.

Japanese traditional pigments require gelatin as a medium to bind it to the paper. This gelatin, called “nikawa” in Japanese, also is used in art all over the world including in Chinese ink.

In Europe, artists often used nikawa to make the bases of their works by mixing it with plasters and applying it to wood and other objects instead of using canvases, until oil colors were invented. This method is called “tempera”. Many Renaissance masterpieces are made on tempera, like “The Birth of Venus” and “Primavera” by Sandro Botticelli to name a couple. Nowadays, some artists still intentionally work with tempera for their pieces.

Anyway, nikawa is an ocher-colored solid substance that looks like amber, and consists of a sort of protein that you get after boiling fish or animal bones, cooling the residue and finally drying it out to make it solid. Before the moisture has completely evaporated from nikawa, the substance is tender like jellyfish and you can eat it. This nikawa, we call nikogori, and Japanese izakaya bars often serve nikogori to their customers. It is delicious and healthy because it contains no fat but is high in protein.

To produce Chinese ink, nikawa is mixed with soot that you get after burning pine pitch and kneading them together for a long time, until they form a solid. To draw in Chinese ink, you need to pour a little water on a rock, called suzuri, while rubbing a piece of solid Chinese ink cake on it for over ten minutes, then you can get a wide range of graduation in monochrome.

The general term applied to Japanese traditional pigments is iwa-enogu. Iwa means “rock,” and enogu means “pigment.” This is because ancient Japanese people ground colored rocks to use them for pigments when painting pictures. Nowadays, natural pigments are too expensive for me to paint in, so I use cheaper chemical-made pigments. Painting in iwa-enogu involves soaking nikawa in water in a small bottle for two hours and heating it while it melts, then mixing it with the various pigments.

Chinese ink and Japanese iwa-enogu are both difficult to use, while Western watercolors are easy because they are packed in tubes. Western watercolors are made with Arabic gum.
Despite their inconvenience for painting, for me, Chinese ink and Japanese iwa-enogu feel more powerful than watercolors. For this reason, I usually decide which one to use depending on the kind of work I’m painting.


Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Oil colors are sleek, bright, and easy to use. But it takes a week to dry and it smells bad during the evaporation process. Acrylic resin was invented in the beginning of the 20th century. It looks like oil colors and is easy to use with water, what’s more, it scarcely smells. Recently I use acrylic resin from time to time for my works.

By the way, have you ever wondered where Japanese color names come from? Are there any differences between English and Japanese color names? Both stem from natural things such as flowers and birds, but there are differences in how they are named. For example, deep-purple/pink is called fuchsia in English, and botan-iro, which means “a color like peony petals,” in Japanese. In Japanese, iro means color. Grayish pale pink is called salmon pink in English and toki-iro in Japanese. Toki means “ibis” in Japanese – a bird whose feathers are partially pale pink. Although toki used to be common in rice fields all over Japan, the native Japanese variety is now unfortunately extinct because it was averse to agrichemicals. All tokis in Japan now originate from China.

In addition, many Japanese kids these days seem to use English names when referring to colors. They never say toki-iro instead of pink. I suspect that, like the toki, Japanese color names are also endangered.

My Japanese Blog is here to see click!

I have always been attracted to the beauty of ferns.

Japan is an island full of ferns and similar plants. Researchers have said that there are about 630 different kinds of ferns in Japan. Except for tropical zones, it is one of the most fern-filled islands in the world, along with New Zealand. When you compare Japan with England – an island located in the Northern Hemisphere that has about 70 different kinds of ferns – you can see that many kinds of ferns flourish in Japan, despite its small surface area.


The dawn of the fern occurred about 400 million years ago, during the Silurian Period of the Paleozoic Era. Ferns appear alongside dinosaurs in many illustrations in scientific books, and also in movies like “Jurassic Park.” Dinosaurs are now extinct, but ferns have survived.

Most Japanese people do not pay much attention to ferns, because they are considered commonplace – you can see them everywhere in Japan, even in parks in urban areas such as Tokyo and so on.

However, I myself have been attracted to the beauty of ferns for a long time. Their fine leaves look like natural embroidery, and in addition their brilliant green color is too beautiful for me to resist sketching, painting and taking pictures of them – especially when they shine on mornings after rainy nights. That’s why I even went all the way to Yakusima Island several times when I was younger to sketch ferns.

Yakusima Island is one of the world’s natural heritage sites, and is located near Kagoshima City. It is famous for its wide range and biodiversity of plants. The top of the highest mountain on the island is in the Temperate Zone, and the seashore area is in the Tropical Zone. It rains a lot there, and they say that it “rains 35 days a month on Yakusima Island.” Also, the island is sometimes hit by typhoons. It is easy to understand why ferns flourish there, because many kinds of ferns love water, humidity and moisture.

Nowadays, Yakushima Island became much more popular than it used to be, due to its fame as a World Heritage site and as the scene of the movie “Princess Mononoke” directed by Hayao Miyazaki. So, a huge amount of people throng to the island.

Take a look at my works on ferns and Yakushima Island.
Ferns’ Fantasy
The scene of “Princess Mononoke”

Now, February will soon end and spring will come. There is a custom in Japan of cooking fern sprouts, called “zennmai”, “warabi” or “kogomi,” during early spring. I can’t wait to eat them and see their beautiful green colors and shapes again after this winter.