Happy holidays from the back woods!

“may peace in our hearts” is 11×14. It is also available as a single card or a set of boxed notecards. © Annette Makino 2015

“may peace in our hearts” is 11×14. It is also available as a single card or a set of boxed notecards. © Annette Makino 2015

Well, holiday season is in full swing around here, so for better or for worse, I don’t have time to share any “deep thoughts” today! Here among the redwoods, the elves and I are busy packaging new cards and prints as soon as they come off the press and we are sending out orders daily.

But I am sneaking a moment between holiday fairs to share some glad tidings: with technical help from Henry Cordes of February 13 Creative and pro photography by Brandi Easter, I have just launched a new website! 

Built on the Squarespace platform, the Makino Studios site (finally) allows people to place orders directly instead of having to navigate over to Etsy, offering more flexibility. You are cordially invited to explore the gallery, shop, blog, and more. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

To kick off the new site, I am offering 15% off my 2018 calendar of haiku and art with promo code 2018CALENDAR, usable only on www.makinostudios.com. I sold 50 of these lovely little calendars just at last weekend’s Humboldt Artisans fair, with many people commenting how perfect they are for holiday giving. 

And now the catch: the last day to order before the holidays is this coming Friday, December 15, because Makino Studios will be on vacation after that until Dec. 27.

Last but not least, I want to send you warmest greetings for the holidays. Here’s hoping you can spend the time connecting with family and friends, enjoying delicious food in magical surroundings, and celebrating the season of light however your heart desires.

silent night
all the stars
we could wish for

Makino Studios News

Humboldt holiday fairs: Makino Studios will be at the City of Arcata’s Holiday Craft Market this weekend, December 9-10 in the Arcata Community Center. In addition, my calendars, small prints and boxed notecards are for sale at the “Made in Humboldt” event at Pierson Garden Shop now through December 24.

These "starry night" holiday notecards, with the "silent night" haiku above, come in sets of eight cards and eight kraft envelopes.

These "starry night" holiday notecards, with the "silent night" haiku above, come in sets of eight cards and eight kraft envelopes.

Boxed notecards: Due to customer requests, I have just added a new holiday notecard design ("may peace in our hearts spread peace in the world"). I now offer six kinds of boxed notecards: three holiday designs, a thank you card, a landscape series and a floral series.

Art prints: A wildflower meadow and a beach landscape are among the latest print designs available. These are 11×14, individually signed and stamped in red with my name seal, and ready to give as a gift or frame for yourself.

An earlier version of the haiku “silent night,” was awarded honorable mention for the Jane Reichhold International Prize at the 2017 ukiaHaiku Festival.

After the fires, a time to give thanks

“dusk settling” is 11×14. There is a card version reading “holding you in my thoughts.” © Annette Makino 2017

“dusk settling” is 11×14. There is a card version reading “holding you in my thoughts.” © Annette Makino 2017

When I was 15, our family moved to the small town of Redwood Valley, north of Ukiah. My mother and sister Yoshi still live in the A-frame house we built there, on a few acres covered with oak and manzanita chaparral, above a valley checkered with vineyards.

On October 9, with the devastating wine country fires igniting across several counties, this rural community was badly hit: nine people were killed, including a teenage brother and sister. More than 300 homes were lost.

Driving through the fire zone for the first time last Sunday, I was struck by the randomness of the destruction. Just across a narrow lane where all the houses were intact, several houses lay burned to their foundations. Survival depended in part on which direction an ember blew. On whether someone happened to be awake after midnight when the fires started. Or whether a neighbor was able to take the time to pound on their door.

The family home lies on the other side of town, a couple miles away from the worst of the fires. My mom and sister could see flames and smoke across the valley, and their car was packed and ready if they needed to evacuate. It was a tense few days for all of us, but they and their home were spared.

news of wildfire
the backyard maple
blazing red

So this Thanksgiving, I am especially grateful for the blessings of home and family. And to all the firefighters, cleanup crews and other people working to restore some semblance of normal life for those affected by the disaster. And I’m even thankful for the pouring rain, knowing it is helping the burnt areas to regrow.

 dusk settling
the window propped open
to the scent of rain

Here’s wishing all the best to you and yours this Thanksgiving.

Makino Studios News

The 2018 calendar of art and haiku is now available in stores and online.

The 2018 calendar of art and haiku is now available in stores and online.

Holiday fairs: Makino Studios will be at two fairs in December: the Humboldt Artisans Crafts & Music Festival, December 1-3 at Redwood Acres in Eureka, and the City of Arcata’s Holiday Craft Market, December 9-10 in the Arcata Community Center. In addition, some of my work is for sale at the “Made in Humboldt” event at Pierson Garden Shop now through December 24.

Boxed notecards: In response to customer requests, I am now offering five kinds of boxed notecards in my Etsy shop: two holiday designs, a thank you card, a landscape series and a floral series.

Art prints: A trail through giant redwoods and a country road are among the new print designs available for sale in the MakinoStudios Etsy shop. These are 11×14, individually signed and stamped in red with my name seal, and ready to give as a gift or frame for yourself.

2018 calendars: My mini-calendar of art and haiku is available online and in local stores. These make great holiday gifts!

December 15 is your last chance to order: I will be on vacation after that and Makino Studios will be closed for business until Dec. 27.

Sociable: I am on Instagram as annettemakino. You can also get news, fresh art and haiku on my Makino Studios Facebook page and my Twitter feed.

An earlier version of the haiku “dusk settling” was published in Inhaling: 2016 Seabeck Haiku Getaway Anthology, Haiku Northwest, 2017.

For better or for worse

“for better or for worse” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolor on paper. It is also available as a card reading, “you’re just my cup of tea.” © Annette Makino 2017

“for better or for worse” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolor on paper. It is also available as a card reading, “you’re just my cup of tea.” © Annette Makino 2017

Once upon a time, at a Halloween party in Humboldt County, a tall and lean sea captain crossed paths with a slinky black cat. He asked if they had met before. They hadn’t, but she noticed the warmth and humor in his eyes, so she teased him about the tiny slice of pie on his plate (“Are you on a diet or something?”).

That was 26 years ago this month. Since then, most everything that is good in my life has flowed from that fateful meeting: the delightful kids we’ve raised, the beautiful home we’ve built, the delicious freedom of this creative life.

Paul has such an exceptional mind that he is studying second-year Chinese, just for fun. In retirement, he has also decided to learn to play the violin. And he has such a kind heart that, after a rain, he will rescue worms stranded on the sidewalk.

Of course, sometimes he mystifies or exasperates me, and I do the same to him—this is our sacred duty as partners. When he’s out of town, the house is definitely more orderly. Logistically, things run quietly and efficiently. But everything feels flatter, less fun, less meaningful. That essential spark is missing.

Annette and Paul in Redwood National Park, California, Halloween 2017.

Annette and Paul in Redwood National Park, California, Halloween 2017.

Former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said of his wife Fanny, “she made my life poetry.” Happy anniversary to the man who keeps me warm at night, who makes me laugh, and who makes my life poetry.

for better or for worse
our lights and darks
tumbling together

Makino Studios News

Holiday fairs: Makino Studios will be at two fairs in December: the Humboldt Artisans Crafts & Music Festival, December 1-3 at Redwood Acres in Eureka, and the City of Arcata’s Holiday Craft Market, December 9-10 in the Arcata Community Center. In addition, some of my work is for sale at the “Made in Humboldt” event at Pierson Garden Shop now through December 24.

NEW! Boxed notecards: In response to customer requests, I am now offering five kinds of boxed notecards in my Etsy shop: two holiday designs, a thank you card, a landscape series and a floral series.

Art prints: A trail through giant redwoods and a country road are among the new print designs available for sale in the MakinoStudios Etsy shop. These are 11×14, individually signed and stamped in red with my name seal, and ready to give as a gift or frame for yourself.

2018 calendars: My mini-calendar of art and haiku is available online and in local stores. These make great holiday gifts!

Sociable: Follow me on Instagram as annettemakino. You can also get news, fresh art and haiku on my Makino Studios Facebook page and my Twitter feed.

(“for better or for worse” haiku first published in The Heron’s Nest XVI:1, March 2014;  republished in big data: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language 2014, Ed. Jim Kacian, Red Moon Press, 2015; and in The Wonder Code, by Scott Mason, 2017.)

In times of trouble

“scent of wood smoke” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolor on paper. It is also available as a card reading, “the world is so much richer with you in it”. © Annette Makino 2017

“scent of wood smoke” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolor on paper. It is also available as a card reading, “the world is so much richer with you in it”. © Annette Makino 2017

The news has been so tough these past few weeks. Wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes. Reckless taunts between nuclear-armed leaders. And Monday in Las Vegas, one of the worst mass shootings in US history.

aftermath
a pair of cowboy boots
lying on their side

In such dark times, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And just as easy to go numb. Facing an unending stream of suffering and horror, how do we maintain our humanity without losing our minds?

There are no easy answers for how to balance all this—though a quick Google search for “Ways to Cope with the Apocalypse” offers up 1.6 million results! Yes, I have sent money to Puerto Rico, called my representatives, prayed for the victims. But it never feels like enough.

Meanwhile, here in my small corner of the world, life is so rich and sweet I almost feel guilty. Our home has clean running water, plenty of food, electricity. We are all healthy, which is huge. This past week, in between seeing memorable plays in Ashland, Oregon and touring an artisanal chocolate factory with my family, I’ve gotten to take several hikes with my husband and our dog.

Indian summer is 5×7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. © Annette Makino 2015

Indian summer is 5×7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. © Annette Makino 2015

scent of wood smoke
the way our shadows
lean together

Throughout, I’ve been trying to reconcile the grim world news with my sunny reality. I still don't know anything for sure. But I'm coming to think that, rather than feeling guilty about how much I have, my real challenge may be to appreciate it fully, while taking nothing for granted. At the risk of sounding trite, there is power in radiating peace and gratitude to others around us, knowing that happiness is contagious. There can be healing even in a smile.

Even though—or especially because—I know they could disappear in a heartbeat, I am deeply grateful for all my blessings.

Indian summer
the sky the color
of forever

Makino Studios News

Mark your calendar for holiday fairs: Makino Studios will be at two fairs in December: the Humboldt Artisans Crafts & Music Festival, held December 1-3 at Redwood Acres in Eureka, and Arcata's Holiday Craft Market, held December 9-10 in the Arcata Community Center. In addition, some of my work will be for sale at the “Made in Humboldt” event at Pierson Garden Shop November 14-December 24.

2018 calendars: My mini-calendar of art and haiku is available online and in local stores. These make great holiday gifts!

Newest cards: Check out my latest card designs in the MakinoStudios Etsy shop. You can choose any six designs for $19.99 plus tax and shipping

Sociable: I am now on Instagram as annettemakino. You can also get news, fresh art and haiku on my Makino Studios Facebook page and my Twitter feed.

The seeds of inspiration

“the stories waiting inside” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. It is available as a greeting card reading, “in redwood years, you’re still a seedling—happy birthday!” © Annette Makino 2017

“the stories waiting inside” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. It is available as a greeting card reading, “in redwood years, you’re still a seedling—happy birthday!” © Annette Makino 2017

People often ask me where I get my inspiration. I tell them that for writing haiku, it could be literally anything I experience. For instance, getting out of jury duty and going from the courthouse to the beach:

sprung
from jury duty
the wind in my hair

But for paintings, 90% of my ideas come from one place: nature. Whether hiking through sand dunes or exploring Arcata’s marsh and bird sanctuary, I find that spending time out in nature is a wellspring of creative ideas.

My family and I are wrapping up a summer of wilderness adventures. Hiking in the King Range along the Lost Coast, we stumbled on a colony of elephant seals, the males bellowing and grappling like sumo wrestlers.

We rented double kayaks and paddled around two islands on Humboldt Bay, slipping past harbor seals, herons and pelicans, and gaining a whole new perspective on our local geography.

In Prairie Creek State Park, we trekked through lush old-growth redwood forest, passing a lovely little waterfall and sword ferns growing taller than my head. It was a nine-mile hike in which we climbed the equivalent of 73 floors. (Undaunted, our 16-year old son Gabriel asked to be dropped off at tennis class on the drive back so he could play for a couple of hours!)

the stories
waiting inside
redwood seedling

“river flow – Klamath” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. It is available as a greeting card reading, “what a joy to know you—happy birthday!” © Annette Makino 2017

“river flow – Klamath” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. It is available as a greeting card reading, “what a joy to know you—happy birthday!” © Annette Makino 2017

And this past weekend, the smoke from wildfires cleared just in time for us to get in one last, delicious weekend of swimming and sunning on the Klamath River, where we have gone every summer for the past twenty-one years.

river flow
returning us
to ourselves

Many of these experiences have given rise to art. Working from photos taken on my iPhone, I paint the beautiful places we’ve visited, which allows me to experience them all over again.

As for poetic inspiration, although I’m safe from jury duty for another year, there are always events large and small to inspire haiku. Even a mate's choice of bedtime reading!

War and Peace
a hundred pages in
he surrenders

Makino Studios News

North Country Fair: Celebrate the fall equinox at the 44th annual North Country Fair in Arcata the weekend of Sept. 16-17! This festive event features 170 booths, live entertainment on three stages, and two parades. I’ll have my newest cards and calendars at the Makino Studios booth on G Street near 9th.

2018 calendars: For the fifth year in a row, I’ve designed a mini-calendar of art and haiku. This year’s features landscapes, dogs, cats and flowers. It is now available online and is coming to stores soon. These make great holiday gifts!

New haiga: I’ve posted several new haiga (art that includes haiku) in the Makino Studios online gallery. Many of these appear in the new calendar.

Newest cards: Check out my latest card designs in the MakinoStudios Etsy shop. You can choose any six designs for $19.99 plus tax and shipping

Sociable: I am now on on Instagram as annettemakino. You can also get news, fresh art and haiku on my Makino Studios Facebook page and my Twitter feed.

Connecting: I so appreciate whenever someone takes the time to respond to these posts, and I read and answer every message.

“War and Peace” published in Frogpond, Issue 40.2, Spring-Summer 2017.

A life well-lived

“heirloom tomato” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. It is available as a greeting card reading, “may you find life so sweet and juicy it drips off your elbows.” © Annette Makino 2016

“heirloom tomato” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. It is available as a greeting card reading, “may you find life so sweet and juicy it drips off your elbows.” © Annette Makino 2016

My pioneering great-aunt, Helli Stehle, died in Basel, Switzerland this past Sunday at age 109. As I described in “A trail-blazing woman” last November, she was a well-known stage actor who then became Switzerland’s first female newscaster, serving as a mentor and role model to many younger journalists.

She was a spirited, smart and funny woman, generous and deeply loyal to her extended family. We miss her already. But what a full life she got to lead!

The end of her reign as Switzerland’s oldest living citizen has made me think anew about the trials and rewards of aging. At 54, I am encountering many unexpected details of getting older. For instance, who knew that you could get wrinkles on your earlobes? Or down the bridge of your nose?

I used to have such sharp hearing that I would often hear other people talking about me (typically speculating on my ethnic background; sometimes just wondering where I got my ice cream cone). But when I wash dishes these days, I have to remind my kids,“I can’t hear what you’re saying when the faucet is running,” just as my exasperated mother repeatedly told my sisters and me.

At the same time, what freedom comes with age! Freedom from caring what other people think of me; from trying to meet external measures of success; from judgment about myself or others. As a result, I am taking more risks and trying new things.

Earlier this year, I joined five other women in my choir to perform a hip hop dance during a concert for about 800 people. Even though the choreography did not involve spinning on our heads or landing in a split, it was a real physical and mental stretch to learn. But what fun to perform a dance for the first time since I was 17—and to find it was still possible!

In 2008, a few months after Helli Stehle’s 100th birthday, the Basler Beobachter ran a feature about her pioneering role in Swiss radio.

In 2008, a few months after Helli Stehle’s 100th birthday, the Basler Beobachter ran a feature about her pioneering role in Swiss radio.

Overall, I find a richness and ease in these so-called “golden years” worth far more than a flat belly and the ability to remember names. I wouldn’t choose to go back even one year. And considering I am less than half of Helli’s age when she died, who knows what adventures still lie ahead. I owe it to her to find out!

heirloom tomato
finally comfortable
in my own skin

Makino Studios News

Free shipping for Labor Day weekend: Get free shipping on any US order of $5 or more in my Etsy shop with code LABOR17. Sale runs Saturday through Monday, September 2-4.

New cards: I have five new card designs coming off the press tomorrow! You can check them out in the MakinoStudios Etsy shop. Choose any six designs for $19.99 plus tax and shipping.

2018 calendars: For the fifth year in a row, I’ve designed a mini-calendar of art and haiku. This year’s features local landscapes, dogs, cats and flowers, and I think it’s my best yet! It’s currently being printed and will be available starting in mid-September.

Food Art Show Reception: As part of Local Food Month, the Humboldt Food Policy Council is hosting a Food Art Show. Stop by the Redwood Arts Association Gallery in Eureka (603 F Street) through September to enjoy the food-inspired paintings and drawings of over a dozen local artists, myself included. An artists’ reception will be held during Arts Alive! this Saturday, September 2, from 6-9 p.m.

North Country Fair: Celebrate the fall equinox at the 44th annual North Country Fair in Arcata the weekend of Sept. 16-17! This festive event features 200 booths, live music on two stages, and two parades. I'll have the new cards and calendars at the Makino Studios booth on G Street near 9th.

Instagram et cetera: I am now on Instagram as annettemakino. Follow me as I figure out this newfangled platform that all the youngsters are into! You can also get news, fresh art and haiku on my Makino Studios Facebook page and my Twitter feed.

The haiku “heirloom tomato” was first published in Frogpond, Issue 40.2, Spring-Summer 2017.

The other end of the paintbrush

“summer solstice” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper and digitally edited. An earlier version of the haiku first appeared in Modern Haiku. A birthday card version is available. © Annette Makino 2016

“summer solstice” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper and digitally edited. An earlier version of the haiku first appeared in Modern Haiku. A birthday card version is available. © Annette Makino 2016

Humboldt County is famous for two things: its magical old-growth redwood forests and perhaps equally magical marijuana. But there is a lesser-known feature that makes this area unique: it has more working artists per capita than any other part of California.

Each year in June, some 150 Humboldt artists open their studio doors to the public as part of North Coast Open Studios. Earlier this month, it was my pleasure to be part of the "Seven in Samoa" group that hosted visitors the first weekend. The following weekend, I got to tour nine studios.

In visiting other artists, I was inspired and moved by much of their art. But it was just as interesting to talk with these working artists and learn about what goes on at the other end of the paintbrush. I discovered we are grappling with some of the same issues.

A common theme of our conversations was the tension between making art that purely expresses our creativity versus making art that we know will sell. For instance, one artist is currently drawn to images of melancholy women, but knows there is a much bigger market for her playful pieces of cats.

Another sells a lot of art postcards with inspiring quotes, but her passion project is a scrapbook of sketches and thoughts about silent meditation retreats, though she knows the market for such a book is very limited.

Annette Makino demonstrates her tools and techniques at the Samoa Women’s Club in Samoa, CA as part of North Coast Open Studios in June 2017.

Annette Makino demonstrates her tools and techniques at the Samoa Women’s Club in Samoa, CA as part of North Coast Open Studios in June 2017.

For my part, I sometimes find myself painting simply because it’s time for a new card catalog. Instead of “What do I really want to express about my core being?,” the “helpful” and persistent voice inside my head asks a much less inspiring question, “What would make for a good birthday card?”

Another common theme of my Open Studios conversations was the competing demands on our time: we need to spend time managing and marketing our business, but that cuts into the time to actually create. And it's hard for me to compartmentalize: when I know I have orders to fill or an event to publicize, I can't get into the open, spacious frame of mind I need to paint.

Finally, an underlying issue that emerged from talking with other artists was, what does success mean to me as a working artist? Is it measured by sales? Reputation? Appreciation from buyers? Personal satisfaction from the joy of creating? While it’s surely some combination of all of these, it’s challenging to find the right balance, especially in a culture that confuses money with worth.

Overall, I came away from Open Studios without clearcut answers, yet comforted to know that I am not alone: even the most successful artists struggle with these dilemmas. It was inspiring to meet so many passionate, committed people who have chosen to walk this sometimes difficult path. We may never get rich from our art (though I'm not opposed to that!), but we are certainly rich in spirit.

summer solstice . . .
the skipping stone
all the way across

Makino Studios News

Seven in Samoa: The Eureka Times-Standard ran this story about the group of artists that showcased our work together as part of North Coast Open Studios.

Summer vacation: Happy solstice! I’ll be on vacation from this Saturday, June 24 until Sunday, July 2. While I am swimming and painting at the Klamath River (depicted in the above image), my Makino Studios Etsy shop will be closed for the week and I will not be filling store orders.

Westhaven Wild Blackberry Festival: Rabia O’Loren will be selling a selection of my cards and prints at this festival on Sunday, July 30, 10-4 at the Westhaven Volunteer Fire Department.

North Country Fair: Mark your calendar for this two-day festival celebrating the fall equinox, taking place September 16-17 on the Arcata Plaza!