dog

Just putting it out there

“did someone say cake?” is 8x10, Japanese watercolor and sumi ink on paper. The original does not have words. The card is available  here . A haiku version may follow if I get inspired! © Annette Makino 2018

“did someone say cake?” is 8x10, Japanese watercolor and sumi ink on paper. The original does not have words. The card is available here. A haiku version may follow if I get inspired! © Annette Makino 2018

As I'm painting and preparing for North Coast Open Studios this weekend, I’m feeling excited about showing my art to the public. A painting doesn’t fully come alive for me until it is shared with others. And I love hearing stories from my customers and getting ideas from them.

But there is also a part of me that is feeling shy about the exposure—and not just because I’m an introvert! It feels risky to put my work out there for all to see, knowing I am far from mastery. I look at some of my earlier paintings and feel a combination of embarrassment and tenderness toward my less skilled former self. And I expect that soon enough, I’ll feel the same about my current work. 

I'm reminded of the New Yorker cartoon by Gahan Wilson that shows two gentlemen gazing at a child's awkward scrawl. One says, "Of course, it's a very early Rembrandt."

The other day I was listening to an all-Beatles channel on satellite radio that played some fuzzy recordings from their beginning years. I realized there was a good reason I had never heard those cover songs by the Beatles before—they simply weren’t very good! And yet, in those early years, the Fab Four were able to come up with some real gems, like “She Loves You.” Even if the song seems simple, the harmonies and catchy “yeah, yeah, yeah” chorus still convey a freshness and vitality more than half a century later.

“bright eyes” is 11x14, sumi ink on paper. It is available as a signed print  here . © Annette Makino 2011

“bright eyes” is 11x14, sumi ink on paper. It is available as a signed print here. © Annette Makino 2011

Although I could never aspire to the greatness of the Beatles, I can also see a few flowers among the weeds in my early work. The “bright eyes” piece to the right, of my dog Misha, was one of my first sumi ink paintings back in 2011. Since I was just starting my art business, the enthusiastic response from the public was very encouraging.

Seven years later, I can paint dogs much more realistically, as in the watercolor above of my friend’s dog Sukie. And I know my art will continue to evolve and improve over time. 

I have to remind myself that an artist’s development is never “finished,” so there’s no point in waiting until my work is perfect to put it out in the world. All I can do is play and have fun with the process. And share it with my wonderfully supportive customers. So bring on Open Studios! Yeah, yeah, yeah!

bright eyes, wagging tail
the universe, in dog form
invites us to play

Makino Studios News

Open Studios: I will join artists Tina Gleave, Jennifer Rand, Amy Fowler and Araya Shon at the Samoa Women’s Club in Samoa, CA for North Coast Open Studios this weekend. We’ll be serving wine and appetizers tomorrow (Friday, June 1) at Art Night from 6 to 9 p.m. The main event is Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be art raffles, demos of our techniques, closeout sales and refreshments. More details and directions in the Facebook event.

Cards for Dads and Grads: Check out the Cards section to find cards for graduation, Father’s Day (June 17), weddings and birthdays.

On Vacation: I will be away on a painting vacation on the Klamath River all of next week and visiting family the week after, so I will not be able to ship out any orders until Friday, June 15.

ukiaHaiku Festival: I’m happy to share that the following haiku won first place in the Dori Anderson Award for haiku about Ukiah at the annual ukiaHaiku Festival last month:

sun-baked orchard
collecting cherries
in my hat

Happy Haiku Day!

April is National Poetry Month, and today, April 17, is Haiku Poetry Day! In celebration, here is a sampling of haiku and senryu I’ve published over the past year. And if you’d like to try your hand at this subtle art form, you might enjoy “The Discipline of Haiku” by poet Michael Dylan Welch.

Light in the time of darkness

“’Twas the night”  is available as a greeting card or small matted print. © Annette Makino 2015

“’Twas the night” is available as a greeting card or small matted print. © Annette Makino 2015

As you may have heard, the holidays are upon us. Amid the Christmas muzak and urgent appeals to buy mass-produced widgets, it’s easy to lose sight of the true spirit of the season. There is such pressure—to buy the perfect gifts, to cook lavish meals, to decorate the house festively, to have the most wonderful time ever.

toobusytostophamsterwheel

(Prune Juice, July 2015)

But I believe that behind all that, there is a simple urge. We are looking for meaning and connection with the people we love. Even if we’re not particularly religious, in the darkest time of the year, we are seeking light: the spark of magic at our holiday gatherings, the light on the faces of our family and friends, and at the most primal level, the return of the sun.

My sister once did some custom work on a house that had a special closet just for storing the family’s artificial Christmas tree, with the ornaments attached. It just needs to be carried out and dusted off each December.

The mind reels.

Instead of that painfully efficient and bloodless approach, today we are going to put on some holiday music and decorate our old-fashioned, real spruce tree with quirky ornaments. There are charmingly awkward clay decorations that the kids made in pre-school. Odd mementos from our travels, like the satin girls and boys holding their Little Red Books that my husband and I once bought in China. A family of gray and pink velvet bats that my mother once sewed for us, just because.

“naughty or nice”  is available as a greeting card or small matted print. © Annette Makino 2015

“naughty or nice” is available as a greeting card or small matted print. © Annette Makino 2015

The bottom 37 inches of the tree will be left bare because my curious two-year old nephew is coming to town, along with my two sisters, daughter, and mother. There will be much cooking and feasting, piles of presents (several handmade), and wintry walks on the beach. In this time of deepest darkness, such light.

Happy holidays to you and yours.

warmly, Annette Makino

Makino Studios News

Holiday Craft Market: Makino Studios will have a booth at this fair in the Arcata Community Center in Arcata, CA this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12-13. This is my only in-person fair this season.

Made in Humboldt: A selection of my cards, prints and calendars is available at the Garden Shop of Pierson Building Center in Eureka, CA through Dec. 24.

2016 calendar: You can still order my wall calendar of art and haiku, featuring twelve of my paintings of landscapes, animals and flowers. For US addresses, order by December 14 to receive by Dec. 24 via standard mail.

Portrait of the artist as an entrepreneur

“Kaya in the Klamath” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on watercolor paper. It is available as a signed 11×14 digital print or a card reading “I’m here for you.” © 2015 Annette Makino

“Kaya in the Klamath” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on watercolor paper. It is available as a signed 11×14 digital print or a card reading “I’m here for you.” © 2015 Annette Makino

Once upon a time, in Mrs. Miller’s 12th grade English Honors class, we each had to make a persuasive speech on a topic of our choice. Like most of the talks, mine was terribly earnest, about Nestlé pushing infant formula on breastfeeding mothers in poor countries. But when it was her turn, my friend Betsy walked to the front of the classroom smacking her chewing gum, and gave a hilarious speech in favor of gum, vigorously chewing all the while.

A few decades later, she’s still fun, creative and original. These days, she and her husband run an art brand management and consulting company in San Francisco called February 13 Creative. On her blog, Betsy recently launched a series of art brand stories with various artists. I was honored to be the first in the series. I hope you enjoy this excerpt!

art brand stories: Annette Makino 

(by Betsy Cordes of February 13 Creative, reprinted with permission)

My very first interview is especially meaningful for me because it’s with someone I’ve known for a very long time—since our days together at Ukiah High School in Northern California—long before either one of us had any idea that our paths would re-intersect one day thanks to art careers that each of us took up later in life.

I’m happy to introduce you to my friend, Annette Makino, an artist and writer who combines both talents in her beautiful watercolor and sumi ink paintings. Annette is inspired by the Japanese tradition of haiga, artwork combined with haiku so the image and words deepen each other. Annette has always had a quiet, sly, Zen sense of humor and I especially love seeing that side of her pop into her artwork.

“2016 in Art and Haiku” is a mini-calendar measuring 5.5 x 8 when closed. Most of the Japanese-inspired art in this calendar includes my original haiku.

“2016 in Art and Haiku” is a mini-calendar measuring 5.5 x 8 when closed. Most of the Japanese-inspired art in this calendar includes my original haiku.

One thing I most admire about Annette’s story is her process of slowly switching from a career in international relations to one based on her artwork. In  2010, she began deliberately building her art brand while keeping one foot in her international relations work (as a consultant) and developing some passive income streams. Making a transition to self-employment—especially as an artist—takes a lot of discipline. It’s not uncommon to hear from folks who just want to dive straight in: devil take the hindmost, an artist’s life for me! Annette is doing it in small, thoughtful steps—an approach that I suspect will ensure a long life for her art-based business.

So, without further ado, our first Art Brand Story… Annette Makino!

Betsy: You come from a very creative and intellectually engaged family. I’ve always admired that in your home (both your childhood home and the home you’ve made with your husband and kids): that artmaking is celebrated and encouraged as much as academic pursuits. But you didn’t initially pursue college studies or a career in art, did you? How and when did your artmaking begin to play a bigger role in your adult life?

Annette: Art was always strongly encouraged in my family. Whenever my two sisters and I asked our mother what she wanted for her birthday, she suggested a drawing, painting or poem. For years up through high school, we kids created a calendar of our art that we photocopied and gave to relatives and close family friends. But other than a year of art classes in my early twenties, I didn’t do art seriously until I left the nonprofit executive world . . .

Read the rest of the story

Other art brand stories

Makino Studios News

Free Shipping: Through November 30, 2015, I’m offering free shipping on orders of $20 or more in my Etsy shop. Use coupon code FREESHIP2015.

Arts Arcata this Friday: Humboldt Pet Supply, which carries my dog and cat-themed art, including the piece above, is hosting a reception this coming Friday, Nov. 13, 6-9 p.m. during Arts Arcata. HPS is located at 145 South G Street in Arcata, CA.

Holiday cards: I’ve painted three new holiday card designs. They feature a cat stalking a mouse ornament, a naughty dog and a chili pepper wreath. They are available from my Etsy shop and in stores.

2016 calendar: wall calendar of art and haiku, featuring twelve of my paintings of landscapes, animals and flowers, is on sale in stores and online. From ocean waves to oak-covered hills, this mini-calendar provides a monthly dose of Zen wisdom.

Made in Humboldt: More than 50 card designs plus prints and calendars will be offered at this holiday sale at the Garden Shop of Pierson Building Center in Eureka, CA Nov. 17-Dec. 24.

Holiday Craft Market: Makino Studios will have a booth at this fair in the Arcata Community Center in Arcata, CA on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12-13.

Wishing you peaceful holidays

“peace on earth” is 5×7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolor on paper and digitally edited. It is available as a  holiday card  or small print. © 2014 Annette Makino

“peace on earth” is 5×7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolor on paper and digitally edited. It is available as a holiday card or small print. © 2014 Annette Makino

Whew. After weeks of holiday madness for my little business, I have just one more in-person event this season, a holiday craft fair in Arcata this weekend.

With this chance to catch my breath, I just want to say a big thank you to all my customers, family and friends. This holiday season and all year, it is a tremendous gift to be able to spend this brief time on earth engaged in truly meaningful work.

the time we are given . . .
sparks rise through darkness
to join the stars

(tinywords 14.2)

Peaceful holidays to you and goodwill to all creatures.

warmly,

Annette Makino

Makino Studios News

Holiday Craft Market: I will have paintings, prints, cards and calendars for sale at this fair in the Arcata Community Center in Arcata, CA this weekend, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

“oak tree” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. © 2014 Annette Makino

“oak tree” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. © 2014 Annette Makino

New Oak Tree Print: I just posted a new print of an oak tree in my Etsy shop, where you can also find the latest holiday and everyday card designs and my wall calendar for 2015.

Made in Humboldt: My cards, prints and calendars are on offer at this holiday fair at the Garden Shop of Pierson Building Center in Eureka, CA  through Dec. 24.

Living Room Retrospective: I am one of nine artists featured in this exhibit at MikkiMoves in Eureka. The show runs through January.

Holiday at Mateel Gallery: A few of my paintings, plus cards and calendars, are available at this gallery in Garberville, CA through Dec. 27.

When you work for an idiot

It’s been said that one of the downsides of being self-employed is that you may find yourself working for an idiot. As the founder, CEO and sole staffer of Makino Studios, I get to consider this on a regular basis.

Everyday poetry

Four years ago, if you had told me I would become a haiku poet, I would have mentally rolled my eyes. Back then I never read poetry, much less wrote it. The long, obscure poems I came across in the pages of the New Yorker seemed like far too much work to decipher, so I would skip them (to be honest, I still do). As for haiku, I was vaguely familiar with the form, but had not written one since elementary school (something about a deer in the woods, or was that my cinquain?).