25 November 2014


On the last day of our trip, we spent all our morning in Korakuen garden before we caught the shinkansen back to Tokyo.
Korakuen is one of the three famous gardens in Japan built in late 17th century.


There was a heron on a paddy field in the garden, which caught a massive frog. The frog was much wider than the heron's gape. He could not swallow it. We must had been watching him for more than 40 min but he was struggling and obviously tired. In the end, we had to leave him so I still don't know if he managed to eat the frog or had to let it go. I wonder if it used more energy to eat it than he could get by eating it!


24 November 2014


We spent good several hours on Inujima, one of the Benesse Art Sites, in Setonaikai inland sea on a brilliant sunny day.


This copper smeltery in Inujima was built in 1909 but only worked for about ten years until the price of the copper suddenly dropped. Then in 2008, a modern artist Yukinori Yanagi and an architect Hiroshi Sambuichi made the ruin into a museum.

Walking on the island and seeing other modern art installations suddenly appear in the rural village scenery was very amusing and peaceful. There were many loquat trees growing on the island. We saw a Japanese sparrowhawk.



We moved further west to Kurashiki. There are many buildings and old storehouses with Namako-kabe, walls with a white grid pattern on black slate tiles.  Some are in horizontal way and some are in diagonal way.


Looking at the scenery of different shades of grey, I decided to drew this with a grey brush pen, which I got at a Japanese calligraphy shop in Nara.




We spent two days in Kayabuki-no-sato (village of thatched houses) in Miyama, Kyoto.  People are still living in these traditional houses there so when you visit the place, you feel like you are in the village several decades ago.


We visited the Little Indigo Museum founded by Hiroyuki Shindo, a world famous indigo artist. He showed us the book called Indigo published by the British Museum and demonstrated how to dye cloth specially for us! We really enjoyed talking with him and leaning about indigo dyeing.

美山地区を紹介した美術番組が来月頭に放送されるようで、そのなかにこの小さな藍の美術館も出てくるそうだ。うちはNHK BSは入らないけど・・・。

「アート鑑賞マニュアル 美の壺 京都の奥座敷」
本放送:NHK BSプレミアム 2014年12月5日(金) 19:30-20:00
再放送:NHK BSプレミアム 2014年12月9日(火) 11:00-11:30

We stayed a night in a thatched roof cottage!   In the evening, only the top of the mountain turned pink by the setting sun.
The evening meal was chicken Sukiyaki. There is a chicken farm in the village so chicken and fresh egg are famous there.

In the morning, I slipped out of the cottage before breakfast and painted the misty scenery.

The village was a very good birdwatching place as well. We saw daurian redstarts, bull-headed shrikes, meadow buntings, rustic buntings, yellow-throated buntings, a Japanese green woodpecker as well as many black kites hanging around.


We did a long walk by the river, too. There were two brown dippers and a kingfisher!

23 November 2014


Toriimoto in Sagano area, Kyoto. I painted this picture sitting in a ditch along the road!
When I discovered that Sagano area in Kyoto is very picturesque and a little quieter than noisy main part of the city, I decided to go back with my landlady from Cambridge, who I met up in Kyoto after I said good-bye to the Art Safari tour.


祇王寺 (Gio-ji)


Scenery from the pagoda in Eikando.
I tried to paint part of it with brush pens.

21 November 2014

Art Safari in Japan

I joined first part of the Art Safari's Japan tour to help out. We spent two days in Kyoto and a day in Nara.

Girls in kimono at Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion.

There were too much to do in Kyoto. We wanted to see a lot so it was soon time to move on before I finish this painting of Heian shrine.



It was very peaceful to sit by the Sarusawa Pond in Nara and sketch the scenery of Five-story pagoda.


奈良 東大寺のシカ。雄鹿は角を切られている。

6 November 2014

Autumn activity records

Last weekend was the Japan Bird Festival. It is a Japanese version of the bird fair but more like a "festival" than a "fair" as the name suggests. There are many tent booths of non profit organisations showing their works as well as little shops selling bird related items. There are also several exhibitions of wildlife arts, bird carvings and bird photos. And I think the biggest difference from the British Bird Fair is that the festival is free entrance.

This is my corner at the Wildlife Art Exhibition during the festival. Picture on the right, "Bull-headed Shrike and Persimmons" was the image I made out of the sketches from last autumn at the orchards near my house.  And this print got sold! I am very very happy!

そして今年、ワイルドライフアート協会はジャパン・バード・フェスティバルで優れた内容の展示をしている団体に送られる最優秀賞であるオオバン賞をいただくことができた! うれしいですね! 会員のみなさま、お世話になりました。



My Japanese Murrelet Print is now happily in California!

そして知り合いが、Mumsnet Book of Animal Storiesのハリネズミの話を熱心に読んでいる写真を送ってくれた!

◆◇◆大磯 宿場祭り◆◇◆