17 August 2017

ニコン サステナビリティ報告書

ニコンのサステナビリティ報告書の表紙画を作らせていただいた。 ニコンが活動を支援している日本自然保護協会の赤谷のイヌワシだ。去年、赤谷の森でイヌワシの雛が育ったことを記念して三星鷹(幼鳥)にしてみた。

I made a linocut print of juvenile Golden Eagle for Nikon's Sustainability Report in 2017.  

It was created in four colour, reduction method.  
I always find it difficult to choose the right colour for the green forest and blue sky of Japanese scenery.   Green and blue scenery is beautiful to look at but when I try to paint it with pigments, the two colours seem to compete with each other and do not settle nicely together.  It may be because pigment blue can never be as transparent as the blue in the sky. But for this print, I am satisfied with the combination of the two colours... at least for now!

13 August 2017

Summer Garden

Our "rain garden," or a little patch of land in front of our apartment, has been overgrown with tall grasses. Some people would say that we need to tidy up, but I love it looking very summerly compared to the spring time.


28 July 2017


I had finally submitted the artworks for my third picture book of the year and got some free time!  It was such a relief to finish it as I had been working under a very tight schedule since last autumn.  I will write about my projects sometime later, but for now, I need a break!  

We had the summer festival in the neighbourhood this evening.  All the kids from the area gathered at a local park.  I didn't know that there are that many children in this area!    


A little girl in Yukata, a traditional summer dress.  


Last sunday, I happened to see a part of the summer festival of the Hashirimizu shrine in Yokosuka.  They carry the Mikoshi (a portable shrine) around the local villages and the sea.    

In this sketch, I tried to capture the scene when local men rush to the boat, which carried the Mikoshi across the sea,  to welcome the god and carry it to their village.   


25 July 2017


あまりに仕事が忙しく家に缶詰になっていたところにジャコウアゲハの蛹をもらった!  蛹を机の前に置いて作業をしていると、どうも受験勉強を思い出してしまう。

Chinese windmil(Byasa alcinous)'s chrysalis. 
On the night of the 9th July, its colour turned really dark so I expected it to emerge next morning and set the alarm at 6 o'clock.  But it woke up earlier than me...  
It was already a butterfly when I jumped out of futon.  Why didn't I think of getting up a bit earlier?    





22 July 2017



I was commissioned to paint this Satoyama environment with twenty bird species by Kanagawa local group of the Wildlife Bird Society of Japan. The printed posters of this painting will be given to a dozen of schools and displayed at corridors or staircase landings, where children can have a look at it every day.




It was printed as postcards, too!

9 July 2017


Latest brochure of YBIRD travel agency came out with my cover illustration of a Goldcrest which is the icon bird of the company.


3 July 2017


It took me ages to scan and update my spring sketches but better to be late than never.  

I found that this tree is called Japanese snowbell.  What a beautiful name!

Hardy Kiwi.


Distant view of herons and cormorants at a pond. I should have put more effort on this sketch since it was such a nice scenery but these days I seem to have less energy for anything even for sketching...

ひさしぶりに子どもをスケッチ。暇になったら、もうちょっと積極的に子どもを描く練習をしたいのだが! どうも"暇になったらやりたいこと"リストばかりが長くなっていく。

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.