Saturday, March 22, 2008

Flowers and Fishes Japanese Style


After Ando Hiroshige - 14cmx19cm watercolour sketchbook

I am loving the exploration of Nineteenth Century Japanese art by Katherine Tyrrell on her blog Making a Mark. Katherine is well into this journey while I am still nibbling around the edges of her wonderful links. Yesterday Katherine posted a beautiful coloured pencil study of a trout after Joseph Crawhall, one of the western artists influenced by the Japanese in the Early Twentieth Century.

Yesterday, being Good Friday, was obviously the day for fish because I discovered Ando Hiroshige's Grand Series of Fishes and fell in love with this strange but beautiful combination of flowers and fishes. I imagine these prints also influenced Joseph Crawhall all those years ago.

I have decided to devote the folded watercolour sketchbook I made from instructions posted by Nina Johnannsson to my study of Japonisme.


If I manage to fill the whole book, I can open it out into a single full watercolour sheet of paintings. The paper I used is rather heavy as it is inclined to keep springing open with a mind of its own. Next time I will try a lighter paper. But thank you Nina, I love it!

25 comments:

Bonny said...

What a beautiful painting, Robyn! I especially think the colours you chose really emphasize the Japanese style of colouring, in a modern way. Gorgeoua!

Plus the style ofa folded sketchbook seems very appropriate to the subject. I have seen Japanese folded books to buy at the art store and they are quite expensive. I like yours (and Nina's) version a lot better!

Have a Happy Easter weekend!odvrvjx

Bonny said...

What a beautiful painting, Robyn! I especially think the colours you chose really emphasize the Japanese style of colouring, in a modern way. Gorgeoua!

Plus the style ofa folded sketchbook seems very appropriate to the subject. I have seen Japanese folded books to buy at the art store and they are quite expensive. I like yours (and Nina's) version a lot better!

Have a Happy Easter weekend!odvrvjx

Anonymous said...

What a great project! Love the cover page - and can't wait to see more. How big was the sheet of paper that you used? I made a mock-up from a piece of copy paper just to see the technique, but the "pages" are really small.
Shirley

Robyn said...

Happy Easter to you too, Bonny. I tried to copy the original colours but, as I've discovered in the past woodblock printing brings it's own quality to colour and it's just about impossible to reproduce in watercolour.

Shirley - As I said in my email, I used a full sheet of Fabriano cold pressed watercolour paper for this - 30" x 22" The pages end up 7.5" x 5.75". A little one would be cute but the paper would have to be much lighter.
As I said, I keep this tightly closed with a half inch wide black elastic band so it doesn't get damaged in a handbag.

I need to work on a neat way to knot the silk tie I used to keep the spine together. Nina's instructions didn't include this.

laureline said...

I love what you and Katherine are doing, Robyn! This is just beautiful, really and truly up my alley. I'll bet your ears were burning this week---Casey and I were singing your praises!

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I'm coming to the conclusion that Hiroshige is some artist!

This is wonderful Robyn - and I'm so pleased that the project is making connections for you. I often think that it's when you find something inspiring that you get your own personal breakthroughs.

I can't quite believe just how many artists were influenced by Japanese art.

dinahmow said...

Yummy! is the word that comes to mind.
I made a similar folded book a long time ago;it had sketches, photos and personal notes and was a friend's birthday gift. Then, of course, I forgot how to fold it until I saw these instructions!So, thanks, Robyn.

pedalpower said...

That's so beautiful. I can't wait to see it filling up.

Robyn said...

Laura - Blushing with delight here! :)

Katherine - I can't wait to get into some more of these studies. It could become an obsession. Looking forward to more of the same from you too!

Dinah - That is a lovely idea to make a personal, special occasion book for someone. Forgive me if I steal that one.

Pedalpower - Thank you. I do hope I can focus long enough to complete it.

Serena said...

A beautiful sketch AND sketchbook, Robyn!

Happy Easter ~ :)

lotusgreen said...

that's wonderful! it comes so alive with the color. (i wonder what his looked like when they were just new)

Wendy said...

This is fabulous. Was it inspired by the crab noodles I had at Cabramatta? Had pasta tonight (at home). Easter Show all day tomorrow - demonstrating. They say it's good this year. I like your little book. Maybe we can also make books when you come to Sydney, as well as eat noodles.

Judith in Umbria said...

I wouldn't have expected to, but I do like this very much, Robyn. I like how you have poured on the pigment, as in those books of old Japanese woodcuts.
This has no sentimental content for me, so it's just plain appreciation of your burgeoning skill.

Casey Klahn said...

Beautiful!

caseytoussaint said...

Robyn; I just love the work you've been doing lately! Your colors are so intense and pure. This is wonderful stuff. I can't wait to follow some of those links and steep myself in Japanese art, now that I see what it's done for you!

janie said...

Beautiful watercolour and wonderful sketchbook, I've just made one for myself, thanks for sharing that.

Joan said...

Robyn, What a wonderful cover you created for this book!! I love the fish, the crab, and the lovely flowers...excellent colors!!

africantapestry said...

This is just beautiful Robyn! your use of colour is just amazing. I can also imaging what aeautiful sight this sheet will be after you've done...you'll show us when it is done I hope? I feel like following you and Nina on this..
ronell

mARTa said...

Ok, I really should be finishing up my school assignment as I have to leave for class in 2 hours!!! But I have been missing my online friends and their work and wanted to come by for inspiration and to say hello! Wow......I love the sketch! Ditto what everyone said....what intense color....I'm drooling! I have a few of these books from folded paper but hadn't thought of holding them together with a ribbon...I want to see it when it's done too!

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

What a wonderful project and fishes so vibrant. Love the idea of the folded sketchbook. Must have a go myself once I decide on a specific subject. It will probably be flowers as I know and understand them best of all my subjects and think it would work well. I'll check out the instructions. Love the idea of all the sketches opening out to make one long piece of artwork.

Margaret Ann said...

Inspiring...brilliant...and absolutely gorgeous! :)

Joan said...

Robyn, What a wonderful cover for the book!! The color on that fish is just wonderful, and the crab is so well done. May there be many wonderful treasures inside. Happy painting!

Sharon said...

Both these paintings are just gorgeous. Good luck on this journey, Robyn - I look forward to seeing more!

Robyn said...

Many thanks everyone. I'm getting around all your blogs right now.

Jenny said...

Beautiful book and painting! I've only used a half sheet, but I'll use a full sheet next. I used a coptic stitch along the spine to help keep it closed, and I've learned to leave the books under heavy weights (books, iron skillets, etc.) when not in use until they lose their bounce and stay closed.

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