Category Archives: Art

August (Alone with Waves)

A forming wave and clouds.

Things I learned this summer:

1

Basically I am swimming in a translucent sculpture of ever-shifting Perfection.

Sea shells in a palm by sea shore at sunset.
Hamagou blossoms on a beach at sunset.
An artwork in progress in morning light.

2

I realized I am painting waves!!*

Abstract line drawing details.

3

…and guess what? Shells are, too!!!

Sea shells and other beach finds in detail.
Abstract line drawing close details.

4

Present is the present with no strings attached.

Picnic tote on a sunny beach.
A faint rainbow in summer sky.
Hamagou blossoms, a picnic tote and the sea shore.

5

Ocean humbles me but humility sets me free.**

Sky reflected on sand at sea shore.

All images were photographed in August 2023.

*The artwork in progress (photo 4, 5, 7 from top) is an abstract interpretation of a flower petal. How so in one post from 2019.11.27: Process is the Destination!!

**Please allow me to specify what I mean by “humility” here.
I am not coming from stereo-typical Japanese “politely lowering oneself is a virtue” presentation (as in, nationalism-based virtue signaling, say). This is an art website and I work within myself to write as a creative.
Ocean is bigger than me. My silly pride as a skilled, long time swimmer had gotten shattered numerous times against the sheer force of the Ocean. Surprisingly though, such surrendering to Majestic did not defeat me but has been having the opposite effect on me: it permits me to release the dynamic/energetic/unapologetic side of me. As if the Ocean itself tempts me to become more. “Be more. You won’t scare me away.”
I wrote about one of the times when I got my ass handed: 2020.12.30 – New Moon in Virgo (An inflatable buoy tied to my waist since.)

Edits:
12Sep23 – added the “**” paragraph about humility.
14Sep23 – minor corrections.
27Sep23 – minor addition.

Artwork in progress with ocean surface.
2019.06.22 – Sea/She

Desert Sensibility

Day break at California desert.
Rising sun and the photographer reflections on a car window
A black car parked roadside overlooking ocean.
A silver car parked with mountains, clouds and concrete factory in background.

Stirring, white light, the desert sun of California, the sand beneath the asphalt.
I remember how it shone evenly, on beauty, bizarro, and every wound concealed.

Palm trees in the sun.
Classic buildings of Down Town Los Angeles.
Open Field somewhere along Interstate Five, Central California.
A small church with a lit cross at sunrise.

Photos: 2006-2012. Images from different times, new edits. I am not of Christian faith in case you wonder, but I do like the symbol.

Thinking of you California.

Published on March 22, 2023 at 2:23am JST, unpublished 2 minutes later (I had my moments), re-published at 3:22am. Today is New Moon in Aries at 2:23am JST, also the Astrological New Year, the official start of the Spring.

Ume Sentiment

Ume = Japanese Apricot / Plum. Pictured in photo #1 and #3.

Image of sea shore at sunset layered over Japanese apricot blossoms and hand writing.

“Demure, delicate, their fragrance so faint, their buds mature during the coldest time of the year, petals push open against late winter chill.
Soft yet Strong, they flower to signal the end of the Winter, and quietly retreat as Spring triumphs and flourishes in magnificent varieties of shapes and shades.”

Abstract line drawing of a lily petal layered over hand written letters.
Image of sunset sea horizon layered over Japanese apricot blossoms and hand written letters.

The middle photo is a casual iPhone snap of the piece “Spider Lily Red – Flare 2” I’ve been working on, taken on February 28, 2023 at 16:29. Turned it into monochrome and part soft/off-focused to simulate a hand-held blur using Lightroom phone app, then applied vsco A5 filter, then, taken into Photoshop on computer and layered with a ocean/gull pic and the scribbles I’ve been using for sometime. In short, over processed some. It’s an experiment.

What I think is so wonderful about subtlety is that, it brings out a hunter, a seeker in a person, the opposite of things that explain themselves so loud they put you in a position of a mere consumer. If creativity is about connecting dots in new ways, it then naturally asks you to be the initiator.
Initiate, but not overbear. Intend, yet keep it open-ended. Candid, without making it all about me. I think about all this while remembering the fortunate times when I found myself encased in an elegantly subtle Ume scent cloud*.

Decorative text in the middle:
I have audacity to quote (in fancy font!) my own post from May 2021 called “Subtle. Sincere.”.

References:
Link to all the posts about the project “Spider Lily Red” since 2012.Or,
its creative process in one post: “Process Is The Destination!!”.

*Ume scent travels on breeze, like a cloud, you’d be hit with it even when you are away from the actual Ume tree(s).

Published on March 11, 2023 at 22:06 JST.
Edits:
Added the “*” (no that’s not a face) on March 12, 2023 at 16:13 JST.

Way Finders

Dear Visitor,
Happy New / Bunny Year!!
Wishing you a truly awesome-to-you 2023,
Yuko the webmaster/artist.

A swan making ripples with its beak.

I woke in the middle of the night and seen, in my mind’s eye a flock of swans, would be perfect for the New Year’s greeting card I was designing in my head for a few days. It was like 3am on winter solstice, 2022. When I woke again it was 8 in the morning, opened the window and saw, a flock of swans flying away heading south, just as I imagined.

An art print of a rabbit and a swan with a blank planner.
Wild swans in afternoon light.

Editions:
09Feb23 – additional text about a flock of swans.

Wild swans at sunset.
Let the Wild Be the Wild.

Untitled.

2022: a year in review.

A gardenia blossom with dew drops.
Rain drops bouncing on sea surface.
A Harujion daisy blossom petals in macro capture.
Room decoration with found objects.

“He put his hand in the air and waved at Preston across the dark expanse. It was a crazy kind of wave – done with the whole arm, his hand swinging at the end of it, full of childish exuberance. And as he watched, Preston raised his own arm and waved back.”

Sea shells, sakura blossoms and sea-worn rocks.
Artist's Studio with Spider Lily Bouquet.

Last December. We had 19 more days left in the year. Short walk to the beach I watched a leaf circling in breeze drawing an endless geometric pattern.

“Leaves generate Energy that way.” Suddenly I was not alone. And everything, surrounded, came alive with wings of its own.

The leaf, the movement, the way I felt that day. Stayed with me the whole year. On my mind. In my heart.

A dress with dyed abstract petal by the shore under the moon.
Abstract Line Drawing of a Spider Lily Petal.
A Swan on river In Movement.
Photo of Ume blossoms layered over sea horizon at sunset.

Images above best represent my 2022, photographed mostly this year, a few in recent years, except for one, forth from top back in 2005.
The hand-written letters in the pic are typed out just beneath, from Kem Nunn “Tapping The Source” (1984, p.77, No Exit Press).

Just how, a snapshot of my then apartment from 17yrs ago, and an unforgettable paragraph from a book a friend shoved in my hand saying, “you read this.” in as early as 1984, like pieces of the puzzle finding their places in the picture of my life, years later.

Sixth and eighth, of a piece Spider Lily Red – Flare 2, in process, as of September 2022. Flare 1 is completed.

I took a grande break from posting Journals for a year to focus on other things. (Except for these ones: link to UPDATES page)

Wishing you Very Happy Holidays…

Compiled: December 12-19, 2022.

Dry branches and moon.
2013.01.20 – So Still.

Because It Rained.

A year in review.

Gardenia Blossom details with a dew drop.

Everything that stood between us

Turned into a Pearl.

Gardenia Young Bud geometry.
Geometrical Gardenia Blossom in rain.

The plant wasn’t doing too well the previous few years. It was down to only one flower in 2020. Gardenia. The tree my height managed to produce one perfect blossom that year.

A year before that, May 2019, I suddenly noticed the power meter looking rather different. Turned out, the power company, TEPCO of Fukushima Plant fame, walked into and across the property I live on, all the way to the other side of the gate and replaced the meter to its ‘smart’ equivalent without ever telling anyone about it. That was in May 2017. No notice, before nor after the switch. The Gardenia plant, situated right next to it, had no choice but to be in the way of, according to TEPCO, “low grade” therefore ”safe” radio transmission every 30 minutes throughout the day since, for two full years until in May ’19 I brought them back in to have them remove the radio part to un-smart the meter.

Every time I thought of that one 2020 blossom, my heart sunk deeper than the bed of Mariana trench. The plant was already under LED street light, which I voted against on basis that, if our phones have “night shift” mode turned on at 10pm default why plants do not deserve the same consideration. My such solitary quest only resulted in forced nightly LED blue beam with a “nut” diagnose on my name assigned by some self-appointed psychiatrists, which I somehow felt deserving of it.

How much beating a plant can take before it loses its chi to bloom but one single belle?
Although there is no way for me to be certain what the causes of its unthriving were, the timeline of the events I felt was rather peculiar and I discovered, there is a special kind of heartache associated with a situation as this one, the ache I didn’t know how to soothe.

Someone else had an idea however.

One day in mid June, 2021, I noticed a bud on a branch of my dear Gardenia. Cream, sculpted, ready to flower. Looked closely I found plenty more green buds on standby, 30 plus then I lost count, full of chi, full of Life.

How overjoyed I was revealed to me how badly I felt for a whole year. About the kind of environmental hazard we had become steamrollering the ones that cannot relocate nor object. The ones that create the oxygen we breathe.

The plant flourished exuberantly this summer. Perfect flowers unfolded one by one like the world’s most elegant fireworks. It was the best year of blossoming since I’ve known the plant, the most abundant, fragrant, spirited.
As if untouched, dear Gardenia sprung back and quietly asserted its Resilience. The tree my height produced easily 100+ flowers this year, their organically interactive, scented like a dream, stirring, sincere perfection sang its song throughout the flowering season and I was there, a teary audience, taking every bit in with all my senses.

Two Gardenia Blossoms in rain.
Dried Gardenia Blossom details.

Quote in decorative letters is from my 2014 poem “Spring Song”.
The photos of the plant, I named her Bella Resiliente, do not do justice to the Aliveness the Bella radiated during this year’s flowering season. She was “lit up” with Life.

Unscientific claim? Perhaps. As little as I know tho, what science can cover is only a small portion of the Whole.

A few “scientific” articles I checked for this post suggested plants are more than alright with LED.
This uneducated nobody thinks the claim is of a narrow scope.
Force tweak one part and something else gets off balanced, may not be right away, may not be what you’re looking at, but the Whole is bigger, more intricate, than us mortals could comprehend.
Lighting up the streets (and the sea, as large fishing boats sailing out at night geared up with those that I had mistaken them more than once for apocalypse) with tons of beaming blue lights we humans are recommended not to gaze at before bedtime, is akin to robbing the natural environment of the night, and the ways to sense the shifting cycle of the moon.
I don’t think we have the right, or the enough wisdom, to do so.

Regarding the claim that possibly, smart meters affecting plants are easy to find online. Example search words: Wireless Smart Meter Kills Plant.

My wish for the coming years is that somehow, someway, we bring our “heart” back to our operation here on Earth, for that is the portal to Creative Flow that leads us to the Wisdom of the Whole, and the Never Ceasing Resiliency we can draw the true strength from.
Until then I will not lose hope, that, like the poppies in California desert after rain, we will find a way to Super Bloom into our fullest potential, both collectively, and individually.

Edits:
February 02, 2022 – simplified to “apocalypse”.
January 01, 2022 – added “the poppies” – hard to gauge how much to say.

Gardenia blossom with a sea surface image layered.
2023.12.31 – Timeless

Here Is Your Scarab – Happy Coincidences in Creativity.

Note:
Scarab reference is from a tale about Carl Jung’s synchronicity bits, about his “psychologically inaccessible” patient (“” by me) not buying any of it until a scarab beetle turned up just as she was telling the doc about a dream she had of the very insect and proven his point to her.

“Don’t tell me what I’m doing, I don’t want to know.

The grand thing is to plunge ahead and see what your passion can reveal.”

One night, season unknown, circa 1998.
I placed a worn vinyl on a turntable, as I’ve done so many times since I found the album over a decade ago at a record store cleverly named Pied Piper. It was getting late, getting ready for another day at work, weary, spent, mildly agitated.

Those days I recall feeling like I was running in a dream, my intent racing while my feet stuck in mud. It was around the time I got hit with a spark of inspiration to paint a dragon with fabric dye on a dress without knowing where to start, seemed like a massive undertaking, unsure if I got what it takes, if it’s worth the trouble.

If I pour all I have into it how far will I go? As an artist, as a person. It was the kind of question that triggered my existential dread, that put me in an instant on a remote island afloat in Galaxy somewhere, lightless, alone. No one had the answer, and that included myself.

Up to that point I spent a good portion of my life being kinda sorta artsy. Limitless Freedom, Creativity in the purest sense entails, frightened me into an uncomfortable standstill, agitated, stuck in mud, as I was that evening.

When it came to the last song of the Side A everything stopped. A moment’s pause between the songs turned eternal, a very loud silence. As if the world froze except me and the song to come, commanding my fullest attention.

“Open wide the hymns you hide
You find renown while people frown
At things that you say
But say what you’ll say.

About the farmers and the fun
Things behind the sun
People around your head
who say everything’s been said
Movements in your brain
sends you out into the rain.”

And I heard the words as if for the first time, written and sung, as the story goes, by a young man died young before he found his audience, addressing my anguish I could not articulate, as if someone, something used the song – because my heart was open to it, so I can reach within, afraid but aided, and find my own answers.

“Who’ll hear what I say” – the young man sung to me for the thousandth time, but that evening I heard it, humbled by the profoundness of the Creativity itself, perfectly timed, the wisdom, the patience, handing me the assurance I did not know I was ready to receive, shone through the impossibility, the cruelty of life in the society we live in.

“Fill this sieve with sand and you’ll get a dime!!”

Fast forward to year 2021. After many more incidents like the one I just told you about, I picked up a book I’ve been meaning to read ‘one day’ for the past few decades. It was perfect really, it was the end of late summer, finally gave myself what I’ve been promising, a gift of luxurious “Book Time on the Beach”, and I picked up the dystopian novel with hopeful ending. Unexpected though, was to find bunch of “scarabs” in it, right from the get go.

It was also right after I posted a journal entry titled “Stir”, in it I mentioned about my 9yr old art project, how I “no longer know what I am doing” but that “is actually a very good sign that you/r art is getting somewhere.” Not knowing of this variety no longer troubles me as it did in 1998, but I be lying if I said it totally doesn’t. The quote at the top, from the book’s introduction, to me was a sign I’m vibing fine with the Creativity, my Invisible Bestie so better rest assured and enjoy the sunlight. But it didnt end there.

Half way into the book, I found a following line, spoken by the main character, on public transport agitated in anguish.

“Consider the lilies of the field.”*

Lilies of the Field, the very wording I’ve used since while back, to call upon the muse of my aforementioned art project, painting in progress, with the method I practiced since 1998, poured as much of myself into it and here I am, in the middle of the year 2 of global confusion trying to paint as fast as humanly possible, while the world methodically closing in on us.

Consider the Lilies of the Field. The line found me, while on the beach with the “tsunami wall” a towering ton of concrete breathing down my back while the Ocean itself reduced, as if, to everyone’s favorite garbage bin with Godzilla lurking somewhere in the deep while waiting, from somewhere down in Mariana trench the answers would emerge, for the questions one can ask only while pushing through the same old mud pit.

Lastly.
By bringing up words and works from the prominent folks in the society, my intention is not to publicly validate my points with them but rather, to use them as a proof that in Creativity, as the Grandest Container in which our society resides, the Spark of Inspiration will permeate through even the faintest hairline cracks, and send its Most Benevolent Beam right into the core of you, piercing the facade of impossibility, rest assured, at your very earliest convenience.

Endnote:

Titles of the book/music are intentionally unmentioned in the main text.

Quotes, except “the lilies” are edited sensibly by myself.

“Open wide…” – Nick Drake (a.k.a. the young man) “ Things Behind the Sun” (1972).

“Don’t tell me…” (p.2), “ Sieve” (p.101) and “Consider…” (p.102) – Ray Bradbury “Fahrenheit 451” (1953)

Re. Tsunami Wall I mentioned – web search “tsunami wall japan” and you’ll find lots of articles and news stories.

My take? I never saw humanity as the land owner of this Planet. According to my book, we are just renting our space in the Very Intelligent Ecosystem. Other lives sharing the place with us. We benefit from them, in fact, can’t keep on without them.

And, I’m saying this with objectivity of a life long cultural outsider with minimum dose of nationalism, Japan is the birth place of the term “Umami” – the delicately vague taste was given a name in this culture. Most often used to describe the flavor of soup stocks from dried fishes / kelps/ mushrooms, Japan has its history deeply rooted in a humble dance with Nature itself. Not to conquer but to dance with. Nature’s lead. Nowadays it’s hard to find food items without a chemical compound labeled as “amino acid (MSG that is)” – the lifeless equivalent of Umami.

Once upon a time our ancestors built their homes on 1000+ islands on fault lines with many active volcanos, the sources of hot springs and tsunamis. Modern day first world comforts, like treats we didn’t earn, have seemingly made too many of us, me included, entitled and somehow, paradoxically, disempowered, disconnected from True Generosity, the Ultimate Free Lunch with no strings attached.

History

Conception:
13Oct21 @20:32 JST
Written: 13Dec21 @19:02JST -19Dec21
Published: 19Dec21 @13:36JST
Editions: 25Dec21 – added “(MSG…)” bit.
*Additional note on May 19, 2023: Just discovered by chance the line (“Conside…”) is from Christian religion textbook. Even with my lack of awareness (look, I’m not even a buddhist) the sentiment vibes, as if…
Creativity has a life of its own, and I am merely a party guest, invited to take mini part in everlasting blossoming of Ultimate Beauty Itself.
12Sep23 – added “a chemical compound labeled as”.

Stir.

“Do you notice how people hurt each other nowadays?”

abstract artwork with a lily and a shell.

how
the river knows

It was meant for me.

A lily bouquet with a tea cup and tanned toes.
A lily bouquet in an artist studio.
Close view of a spider lily petal on a sea shell.
Abstract line drawing of a spider lily petal.

Monkey wrenches flying across a rocky slope substitute made of stained concrete while all I’m saying is:

let’s get out of the zoo.

A wild spider lily blossom lit by sunset.
Spider lily blossoms, tanned toes and a sea shell.

“Who say everything’s been said.”

Text at the top in “”:
Ray Bradbury “Fahrenheit 451”
Haiku in decorative italic:
Series “messing with other people’s poems”. Deconstructed this time, Nick Drake “River Man”.
Text at the bottom in “”:
Nick Drake “Things behind the sun”

Drawing / painting are by me, the cup, the spoon, the rug, hat, vase and the gadget are store-bought, all the magnificent rest (including my toes) by The Ultimate Artist.
Yes my toes are magnificent, so are yours. Own it.
The second from top photo taken with a vintage iPhone 3GS, no edits.
The rest of the pictures are minimally edited to match the look of the above-mentioned.

The artwork in photos are all part of a two-piece series called “Spider Lily Red – Flare” I have been working on since autumn of 2012.
Took time to develop the style, as I aimed at doing something I haven’t seen anyone do before, that is authentically my own. 9 years on I no longer know what I am doing, I hear that is actually a very good sign that you/r art is getting somewhere.

References:
Making of the series in one post: “Process is the destination” (2019)
The whole process for “Spider Lily Red” since 2012 in descending order.
Spider Lily Red – Flare 1, completed 2017, with “artist statement”.

Last Edited:
October 03, 2021 – corrected minor grammatical errors.

Subtle. Sincere.

Magnolia Blossom, detail.
Abstract line drawing of a lily petal.

deceit
disguise
concealed tales
many sordid years

fly
far from your talons
this day
time to return

Abstract line drawing of a lily petal.
Magnolia Blossoms in full bloom.

The season of scented blossoms begins with Ume (Japanese Apricot) in late January.
Demure, delicate, their fragrance so faint, their buds mature during the coldest time of the year, petals push open against late winter chill.
Soft yet Strong, they flower to signal the end of the Winter, and quietly retreat as Spring triumphs and flourishes in magnificent varieties of shapes and shades.

Photos from top:
– Magnolia Kobus, close view. March 18, 2021, at 15:24.
– In praise of my favorite blossoms and the World they reside in – Spider Lily Red-Flare 2, acid dye on silk, as of May 11, 2021, 15:56. (Flare 1 is completed.)
– Same as above, at 15:55. In painting process since May 05, 2019, gradually coming together.
– Magnolia Blossoms in real nice morning light, full bloom. March 27, 2021, at 4:26.

Text in the middle:
Messing with other people’s poems again – Portishead “Cowboys”, deconstructed / restructured.

Last Edited: May 13, 2021.