Every summer, my family spends a week or two at the riverside cabins of Sandy Bar Ranch on the Klamath River. We first stayed at this rural retreat near Orleans, California in 1997, when my daughter was a newborn. She laughed her first laugh, like the ringing of a thousand small bells, while looking up at trees swaying in the wind.
My son learned to walk at Sandy Bar, practicing in our cabin and at the beach. Once, with his sister holding his hands, they both toppled over at the river’s edge. They then sat in the sand, naked except for their hats, grinning.
Over the years we have filled our lazy days with swimming, hiking, picking berries, hunting for toads and watching shooting stars. But three summers ago, I added a new twist to this vacation routine: having just discovered haiku, I began illustrating my new poems with Japanese ink paintings.
Naturally, our riverside experiences found their way into my work.
sparks rise through darkness
to join the stars
This past summer has resulted in a harvest of twenty-one new artworks. Many of these pieces, combining haiku and other poem fragments with sumi ink paintings, emerged from my time on the river. These small-scale, intimate works are inspired by the Japanese tradition of etegami (see my previous post on this).
I will be exhibiting these paintings for the first time at the Makino Studios booth at the North Country Fair on the Arcata Plaza this weekend. I am also gradually posting them on my Makino Studios website in a new album called “Etegami Series.”
To get truly centered, sometimes you have to get wild: you need to seek out natural places in order to find yourself. When I’m at the river, the unstructured days and the beautiful, peaceful surroundings allow me to really open my eyes and heart and let creativity flow through me.
The poetry and art that springs from this time is very fulfilling, but the real value of my river time is experiencing what Wendell Berry called “the peace of wild things,” and coming back into my truth.
The “river flow” piece above is 5" x 7", painted with sumi ink and Japanese gansai paints on textured card stock. It is now available at my Makino Studios Etsy shop as a blank greeting card or 5x7 print. The red pepper painting below is also available as a card.
•Makino Studios News
North Country Fair: Makino Studios will have a booth at this festive two-day fair on the Arcata Plaza Saturday and Sunday, September 15-16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. I'll have 21 new paintings and eight new card designs, plus prints, books and t-shirts. Look for me on G Street near the Hot Knots corner.
Haiku Retreat: Next month I will attend my first haiku conference and present on my haiga (haiku art) at the Seabeck Haiku Getaway. This is a four-day retreat for Haiku Northwest taking place October 11-14 on Washington State’s beautiful Kitsap Peninsula. If you’re in the region, come join the fun!
New Store: Focusing on environmentally responsible pet products, the newly opened Humboldt Pet Supply, at 145 G Street in Arcata, is now carrying my dog and cat cards. Soon I will also be showing my animal art on their walls. Here is my full list of retailers. You can also visit my studio by appointment.
Show at Morris Graves Museum: One of my "haiku for dog lovers" paintings is part of a group show on the human-animal relationship. Proceeds from the "Palettes and Paws" event benefit the Humboldt Arts Council and the Sequoia Humane Society. The Morris Graves Museum is located at 636 F Street, Eureka, California, and the show runs through September.