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Celebrating Haiku Poetry Day

“the grass on this side” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper and digitally edited. A  greeting card version  is available reading “love you till the cows come home.” © Annette Makino 2014

“the grass on this side” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper and digitally edited. A greeting card version is available reading “love you till the cows come home.” © Annette Makino 2014

Popping up in the middle of National Poetry Month, today is International Haiku Poetry Day. To mark the occasion, here is a smorgasbord of haiku I’ve published this past year. Enjoy!

gentle rain
I remind my mother
to buckle up

tendrils of fog
I follow a thread
back into the dream

understory
no punctuation
in her text message

beach vacation
every night between the sheets
a little more sand

sunlit pond
the cattails
chirping

thin ice
the windshield crack
lengthens

Indian summer
the sky the color
of forever

And for a selection of some of the finest haiku of 2016, see the short list for The Haiku Foundation’s prestigious Touchstone Award.

warmly, Annette Makino

_________

Publication credits:

“gentle rain” - The Heron’s Nest, Issue 19:1, March 2017
“tendrils of fog” - Frogpond, Issue 40:1, Winter 2017
“understory” - Exhaling, Seabeck Haiku Getaway 2015 Anthology
“beach vacation” - Modern Haiku, Issue 47:2, Summer 2016
“sunlit pond” - A Hundred Gourds, Issue 5:3, June 2016
“thin ice” - A Hundred Gourds, Issue 5:3, June 2016
“Indian summer” - Frogpond, Issue 39:3, Autumn 2016

Makino Studios News

Free shipping for Poetry Month: Since April is National Poetry Month, I am offering free shipping for US orders of $15 or more through the Makino Studios Etsy store. Use code SPRING2017 through April 30.

ukiaHaiku Festival: I will be at the ukiaHaiku Festival in Ukiah, California on Sunday, April 30 at 2 p.m. at the Civic Center in my old hometown of Ukiah, California. Stay tuned for some happy news!

BeeFest 2017: This annual celebration of bees takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 13 at the Adorni Center in Eureka, California. A sampling of my cards and prints will be available.

Open Studios: Mark your calendars for North Coast Open Studios! Once again, I will join silk painter Tina Gleave, plus five other women artists, at the Samoa Women’s Club in Samoa for the first weekend. We’ll kick off from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, June 2 and continue from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, June 3-4. We’ll be showing new art, demonstrating our tools and techniques, and offering free refreshments.

Yeah, but is it art?

“love you till the cows come home” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolor on paper. It is one of several new pieces showing at Humboldt Herbals in July and August, and is also available as a card or print.

“love you till the cows come home” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolor on paper. It is one of several new pieces showing at Humboldt Herbals in July and August, and is also available as a card or print.

The head of a local gallery once turned me down for a show, saying my work was too "popular" and not a good fit for his gallery. "Come back if you do something different," he said, "maybe something more from your soul." 

Ouch.

A nationally recognized artist put it in more positive terms: "Your work is very accessible."

As I've been painting a new series and preparing for a solo show in July and August, titled "Savor the Day," I've been pondering the question, "what is art?" And I've been feeling some insecurity about my work. Is it really art if it works as a greeting card? Is it art if it's not that technically skilled? Is it art if someone buys it for their mother in Oklahoma?

Of course, the question of what is art has been argued for a long time. The Impressionists once appalled the Paris art world with their loose, naturalistic approach.

About thirty years ago, my Swiss grandmother, who was born in 1899, told me she'd gotten my mother an art calendar for Christmas: "One of those modern painters . . . Monet."

She and my Swiss aunts, discussing a Picasso exhibit that was then visiting Basel, agreed that his work was "verrückt, verrückt!" (crazy).

In his seventh grade art class, my son recently learned about the work of Andy Warhol. When I asked what he thought of it, he replied, "Soup. A lot of soup. That was the dominant impression." It took a long time for the art establishment to accept those Campbell's soup cans as art, and clearly some younger critics are not yet convinced

Every class in Japanese or Chinese brush painting starts with learning to paint bamboo. The particular brush strokes for the trunk, the leaves, and the twigs have been handed down for centuries.

“savor the day” is 5×7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolor on paper. It is available as a card or print.

“savor the day” is 5×7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolor on paper. It is available as a card or print.

It's said that once you master the art of painting bamboo, you know the strokes to paint just about anything. The catch is that it takes a lifetime of painting bamboo to get there, or at least a decade.

And bamboo is just one of the Four Gentlemen that every aspiring brush painter is supposed to learn properly before painting anything else, along with the orchid, chrysanthemum and plum blossom. (As my daughter observed, "Four Gentlemen? Those don't sound very manly to me.")

Though my art draws on the tradition of Japanese ink painting, I've come to realize that I'm not terribly interested in mastering these ancient tools and techniques. Instead, I have learned just enough to adapt them to my own purposes.

I enjoy grinding my sumi ink stick in an ink stone and painting with bamboo brushes, but in a simple style that doesn't take years to master. And while I started out painting on rice paper, lately I prefer using watercolor paper and other sturdy paper, so I can saturate my paintings with color.

As for subject matter, I have yet to find anything to say about bamboo. Instead, my new show features flying chickens, lovestruck cows, and smiling frogs.

Is it true art? Who is to say? And does it matter? But I do know that my work, now sold in 30 stores in four states, is given to friends and lovers, shared with support groups and classes, taped to bathroom mirrors, and stuck on refrigerators.

Helping people feel more connected to each other and to the world around them: that is my soul's work. My mother put it succinctly last week, as I was sharing my uncertainties: "Your art makes a lot of people happy."

I like to think that if she were still alive, even my art critic grandmother would agree.

Makino Studios News

Savor the Day: I have a solo show opening Saturday, July 5, 6-9 p.m. at Humboldt Herbals in Eureka, CA. There will be live music and free refreshments, and I'll have new cards and prints for sale as well as my brand-new 2015 16-month calendar. The show runs through August.

Healthy Customers:LifeSource Natural Foods in Salem, Oregon is now carrying my cards. It seems my customers are a healthy bunch, as this is the sixth natural food store to carry my cards. Thanks to everyone who supports my work, wherever you find it!

Traveling: I'm heading to New York and then to a cabin on the Klamath River in Northern California, so my Makino Studios Etsy shop will be closed July 5-26. I'm sorry for any inconvenience.

North Country Fair: Humboldt folks, come celebrate the fall equinox at the 41st annual North Country Fair on the Arcata Plaza September 20 and 21. I'll have a Makino Studios booth on G Street near 9th.

BabyUpdate: Thanks to everyone who responded to my last post, Adoption Journey! My nephew Kai, now five months old, is doing well at home in Tucson with my sister Yuri, and he continues to enchant all who meet him.