sumi ink

Remembering the Great East Japan Earthquake

“when someone you love” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper, and digitally edited. It is available as a  sympathy card . © Annette Makino 2016

“when someone you love” is 11×14, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper, and digitally edited. It is available as a sympathy card. © Annette Makino 2016

I’m writing on the fifth anniversary of the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. It’s so hard to lose someone you love; multiply that grief by the nearly 16,000 people killed in the 2011 disaster, and the amount of suffering unleashed is overwhelming.

In addition, more than 200,000 people are still displaced from their homes, and the Fukushima nuclear plant continues to dump radioactive water into the sea.

And yet, we are such a resilient species. Japan is busy rebuilding, restoring and recovering.

My husband Paul happens to be in Hiroshima today, chaperoning a group of high school students. He reports that the city has emerged from the horror of the atomic bombing to become a lovely and vibrant place. The people of Hiroshima have transcended the nightmare of the past.

I’m sharing two paintings here. The piece above is a recent painting of an egret flying over a tilted marsh landscape. The words are adapted from a poem I wrote for my father after he died four years ago; he would have been 86 tomorrow. The piece is a close-up and personal portrait of loss. (See On Love and Loss and a Man Named Quantum.)

“May a thousand cranes” is 9×12, painted with ink on rice paper. © Annette Makino 2011

“May a thousand cranes” is 9×12, painted with ink on rice paper. © Annette Makino 2011

I painted the piece of flying cranes, left, in March 2011, a couple days after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Along with my first-ever blog post, A Prayer for Japan, it interweaves my personal connection to Japan with a prayer for healing and recovery.

warmly, Annette Makino

Makino Studios News

New card designs: I have been busy painting, and just got eight new card designs back from the printer! You can find them in my Etsy shop or view them in my online gallery. They are also making their way into stores.

Kamome, The Boat of Hope: Two years after the tsunami, a small wooden boat from a high school in Japan washed up in Crescent City, California, about 75 miles north of Arcata. The Extraordinary Voyage of Kamome: A Tsunami Boat Comes Home tells the story of how the boat has linked two communities across the Pacific. Thisbeautifulchildren’s book was written by Lori Dengler and Amya Miller and illustrated by my friend Amy Uyeki.

Japan in June: My family is heading to Japan for three weeks in June! This will be our first trip there together. We are still planning our itinerary, but I am very much looking forward to finding new ideas and inspiration for art and haiku.

Ripening into sweetness


Happy Solstice! One of the things I love best about the advent of summer is all the delicious fresh fruit. You can take your pasta, meat, bread and sweets; if I had to live on only one kind of food for the rest of my life, it would be fruit. There is a series of photos of me at age three, up in a tree in our Southern California backyard, stark naked, blissfully eating apricot after apricot right off the branch.

My idea of paradise still involves lots of fruit trees and berry vines. A few years ago, my husband spent a backbreaking summer planting over thirty fruit trees on our land. Visions of strolling out into our yard to harvest fresh cherries, plums, and nectarines have since given way to the sad reality: our area just isn’t sunny and warm enough for such trees to thrive. What little fruit they produce is discovered first by the birds and raccoons.

Luckily for us, there is a lively farmer’s market on the Arcata Plaza every Saturday. Live music, an array of jugglers and hula hoopers, and half a dozen booths of fresh-baked treats complement the rows of organic farm stands. These days we are gorging ourselves on the tiny, deep red strawberries we find there, each one packed with more flavor and sweetness than an industrially grown version ten times the size.

I am savoring the strawberries and peaches of the season every way I can think of: as an oatmeal topping; sliced onto toasted bread slathered with almond butter or mascarpone cheese; in salads with blue cheese crumbles; combined with Greek yogurt and drizzled with chopped nuts and honey; or eaten whole with a few squares of good dark chocolate.

Hello, summer.

“summer solstice” is 5" x 7", painted with sumi ink and Japanese gansai paint on paper.

Makino Studios News

Summer Art Show: For the months of July and August, I will have an exhibit at Persimmons Garden Gallery, located at 1055 Redway Drive in Redway, California. There will be an opening Friday, July 5 from 6-9 p.m. with live music by the SoHum Girls and the Fabulous Resinaires.

North Coast Open Studios: Thanks to everyone who came out to visit the five of us at the Samoa Women's Club June 1 and 2! The event was very well-attended and it was great fun to share our work and techniques with visitors.

MikkiMoves Living Room Gallery: I have a piece in a group show at MikkiMoves' Living Room Gallery, located at 805 7th Street in Eureka, California. The show runs through June.

Makino Studios Gallery: There are several new pieces in the gallery secti0n, including some I painted in Mexico this past spring.