It runs in the family

“a soft whinny” is 11x14, painted with Japanese watercolors and sumi ink on paper. There is also a  greeting card  version that reads, “love you big as the sky." © Annette Makino 2015

“a soft whinny” is 11x14, painted with Japanese watercolors and sumi ink on paper. There is also a greeting card version that reads, “love you big as the sky." © Annette Makino 2015

My mother Erika turned 91 last month, and I’m so grateful she’s still here for us to celebrate together. Even in her advancing years, my mother still has some things to teach me.

I am impressed by her ongoing curiosity about the world. Though she can no longer read much due to vision loss, every day she avidly consumes audiobooks and DVDs. Recent topics include the ancient Roman port city of Ostia Antica, the varieties of cultural intelligence, and the science of environmental allergies. 

I am even more inspired by her continued creative energy. She took up sculpting as a “late bloomer” at age 80 and had a solo show of her clay and cement works at age 88. With an unexpected windfall, she just had an art studio built behind her house—actually a small yurt—where she works on clay sculptures several days a week. Currently she is also editing and organizing the many short stories she has written over the years.

Her embrace of the artist’s path was essential to my own: I never would have taken the leap of faith to become a working artist without her example and encouragement. Whenever I asked what she wanted for her birthday, she would say, “Make me a drawing.” And on receiving my wobbly crayon sketch of a rabbit or dog, she would praise it with genuine enthusiasm. (For more about my amazing mom, see An Authentic Life.)

Her influence rubbed off on my sisters too. My sister Yoshi is an artist and art teacher and my sister Yuri is a filmmaker and film professor.

my mother’s daughter
the sculpture takes shape
under her hands

I’m happy to hear from my daughter Maya, who is studying to become and art and English teacher, that I have also inspired her artistic journey. Her birthday card to me last month was a watercolor painting of Spanish rooftops from our trip there in June. It is very touching—and contains almost the same message I recently wrote my own mother.

It reads in part, “Thank you for being a role model for creative life, following your passions and asserting your power to live a life full of joy.”

As a family of artists and teachers, we may never make the Forbes 500 list, but this is the richest inheritance I can imagine.

to hold nothing back
scarlet poppies
in full bloom

“to hold nothing back” is 11x14, painted with Japanese watercolors and sumi ink on paper. © Annette Makino 2015

“to hold nothing back” is 11x14, painted with Japanese watercolors and sumi ink on paper. © Annette Makino 2015

Makino Studios News

2020 calendar and new cards in the works: My annual painting retreat on the Klamath River resulted in several new pieces for my 2020 haiku calendar and fall card collection, coming soon! Meanwhile, you can browse my 75 current card designs.

North Country Fair: Mark your calendar for the North Country Fair on the Arcata Plaza the weekend of Sept. 21-22! This festive event features 170 booths, live entertainment on three stages and two parades. The Makino Studios booth will be on G Street near 9th.

Custom paintings: You can order a custom piece to honor a life passage like a birthday, wedding, or birth. I will talk with you to understand what is unique about this person in your life, and then create an original painting, with or without a haiku. Sizes and prices are variable.