25 June 2017

Midsummer Evening Meal

英語でmidsummerと言うと、日が一番長い夏至の時期。夜になっても明るくて、大学は夏休みで、幼鳥があちこちで生まれていて、本当に夏真っ盛りという気がした。その変わり8月にはもう秋の気配が漂っていた。 midsummerの訳語は「真夏」だとされるけれど、どうも日本で真夏というと、まだまだ先の7月後半から8月のイメージだ。梅雨の存在は大きい。

June is our rainy season.  So even though this is the month of longest daylight, it's often dull and not too hot and we forget about the sun.
But I thought we ought to appreciate the long evening!  We had supper on a sea cliff, which is nicknamed "Scotland Point" by somebody.  

The sunset time was at 19:00 but because of the heavy cloud at the horizon, the sun disappeared much earlier and everything became grey for a while.  
And suddenly around 19:10, just for a few minutes, the sky and the sea became pink!  The cloud caught the sunlight, which was already under the horizon from where we were, and reflected on the sea.   

19 June 2017

Marianne North and Wistaria


Marianne North came to Japan during 1875-1876 and visited Yokohama, Kobe and Kyoto and made a dozen of paintings including "Distant View of Mount Fujiyama, Japan, and Wistaria."  
Interested in her trails and what she drew in Japan, I decided to sketch some wistarias this Spring. 

I realised though, she was only in Japan for less than three months, from November to January, which is obviously not the Wistaria season.  In fact the Mt. Fuji in her painting has a lot more snow for Wistaria in early May.  So it seems that she painted it after her trip with some imagination!
The view of Mt. Fuji with the sea in front of it in her painting must had been the scenery she saw upon her arrival to the port of Yokohama.   

"I watched the sun rise out of the sea and redden its top, as I have seen so well represented on so many hand-screens and tea-trays. The mountain is a much steeper cone than Teneriffe or Etna, but has about the same quantity of snow on it. The coast is beautifully varied with ins and outs, islands and rocks, the cliffs everywhere fringed with trees and higher than I expected to see them, the water of the clearest aquamarine." (from "Recollections of a Happy Life" by Marianne North)



やっぱり野生にこだわりたいので、森の中のノダフジも見てきた。同じ林道を歩いていても、微妙に赤紫っぽい花と白っぽい花があるのが気になった。 遠目に見て気付くほどで、落ちている花を拾っても色の違いが分かった。

シーボルトは『日本の植物』の中で、「フジが四、五月にひとたび花をつけると、世のすべての階層の人々がこの藤棚のもとに集い、米でできた一種のビールである好みの「サケ」を飲み交わし、楽器の調べに合わせて舞いかつ歌って楽しむ。(瀬倉正克訳 八坂書房)」と書いている。昔の花見は、どうやら桜に限った事ではなかったらしい!

Strawberry geranium

3 June 2017

Little Tern Art Project

I visited Morigasaki, the rooftop Little Tern colony in Tokyo, to join an art project, which is a collaboration between the Little Tern Project and the Japan Wildlife Art Society. 
Around twenty artists participated in the project and today, we sketched and memorised the impression of the Little Terns at this incredible man-made colony ground on a sewage factory building in the hurt of urban Tokyo.  We will create some artworks based on today's experience and plan to exhibit the artworks in the autumn.  I was very happy to join this precious occasion in Japan!


Shadow of the bill cast on its breast.



Chicks were already born and running about in the colony.  It was hard to capture them as they tended to hind in shelters to avoid attacks by crows and peregrines and other mummies and daddies.  Some adults sometimes poke other tern's chicks quite aggressively!    

Thinking about the Little Tern being a white bird, I brought coloured paper this time.  I wanted to try drawing with white, thinking about the light and the shadow.  Field is the best place for observation & experiment. (and how long it seems since the day I did that module on my MA course!)   

Well, I obviously needed more practice on this subject and how to use pastel.  But it was a good way of looking at this rather a monotone bird.