Korea and Japan
Well hello again folks...that time of the month again for a little update of my recent activities. In April I was fortunate enough to take some time out to visit family in Korea and then stop in Tokyo on the way back for some cherry blossom painting in Shinjuku Gyoenmae National Garden...what a treat!
As well as having the fastest internet in the world, the highest rate of plastic surgery per capita, and being able to get McDonalds home delivered...there's a lot to love about Korea. I was impressed by how seamlessly the parks and rivers have been integrated into the urban environment. The monorail in Daegu is seriously cool. I don't know how it knows, but every time we passed an apartment block the windows turned opaque so we couldn't see in. Wish I'd paid more attention in science...
Then on to Japan. What a privilege to paint in an authentic Japanese garden. The Japanese believe strongly in the maxim of 'sumi', or balance, and the seven principles of garden design - simplicity, asymmetry, naturalness, subtlety, break from routine, stillness, and austerity. What great artistic principles to learn from!
I learned that ponds in a Japanese Zen garden represent negative space, or the "nothingness" that is essential to Zen meditation. In addition, the sound of dripping water is meant to remind you to exist in the moment with each drip.
Then finally...the vending machines. I thought I could resist it, but it returned... on arriving in Japan the overpowering urge to paint vending machine cans came back with a vengeance. Japan has 5.52 million vending machines and in my ceaseless search for quirky cans to paint, I've inspected them all. Selling everything from hot noodles and umbrellas to flowers and fishing bait...In a land renowned for the kitsch, the wacky and the bizarre these were some of the coolest cans I've come across so far...
As I prepare for the next phase ahead I have learned so much about the design ideal of 'shibumi'...Elegant simplicity. Effortless effectiveness. Understated excellence. Beautiful imperfection. Worthy ideals well worth striving for...Sayonara!
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