My Furry Muse

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Creative inspiration can come from the most unlikely places. Picasso had his beautiful model/mistresses to nourish his art. For my muse, the universe has given me a small, slightly scruffy rescue dog—with issues.

Of course, he didn’t start out as my muse, or even my dog. He was supposed to be for my daughter Maya, then eleven years old. Searching online for a hypoallergenic breed, she found a small white poodle-bichon mix listed by an animal rescue group. In July of 2008, we picked him up from his foster mom in the parking lot of a Sacramento gas station. Scrawny and shaved almost to the skin, with huge brown eyes, the dog attached himself to us right away. Maya fell head over heels, saying, “I love him so much that sometimes I just have to laugh to let it out—I feel like I’ll burst if I don’t.”

 Maya and Gabriel with Misha on his way home from being adopted. July 2008.

Maya and Gabriel with Misha on his way home from being adopted. July 2008.

Misha, as Maya named him, had had a hard run. It seems he was abandoned somewhere near the Mojave Desert in Southern California. When picked up and taken to the San Bernardino pound, he was emaciated, filthy, matted, and suffering from giardia. He had dog bite marks on his head and shoulders, and a long infected cut almost completely encircling his neck. Most of all, he was emotionally traumatized. Thankfully, when his week at the pound was up, Debbie Hanson of K9BFF in Fresno took him in. This angel of the canine world got him treated, neutered, and microchipped. We adopted him three weeks later.

In our first days and months with Misha, we learned that he has deep-seated separation anxiety. When left alone, he has clawed his way through screen doors, dug under gates and fences, chewed through leashes, and scratched up doorframes and floorboards, all in desperate attempts to get out and find us. He is determined he will never again be abandoned. We have watched Cesar Millan's “Dog Whisperer” series, read dog books and discussed the problem with Misha’s vet, but found that this fear is not something he can be trained out of. Through trial and error, we have found ways to take Misha nearly everywhere with us, even if he has to wait in the car, wearing a little coat on the colder nights.

Despite Misha’s issues and all the traumatic events he has experienced, “His Dogship,” as my husband calls him, has turned out to be a very sweet and loving being who brings much laughter into our home. As anyone could have predicted, I quickly ended up taking over all his care from Maya. As a result, he has decided that I am his person. Misha follows me around the house all day, and I’m told he has a special bark in the high soprano range that he reserves for whenever he hears my car returning home.

 Misha with his person. Mad River Beach, Arcata, California, November 2012.

Misha with his person. Mad River Beach, Arcata, California, November 2012.

Though I never used to think of myself as a dog person, this small, funny poodle has nestled himself deep in my heart. He has inspired a dozen dog paintings and many more stand-alone haiku. People I’ve never met before, who know me only through my art, ask me about Misha. Here are a few recent dogku.

campaign sign
the dog registers
his opinion

(published in Haiku News, Vol. 1, No. 44, November 2012)

winter night
the dog crawls deeper
under the covers

(published in Notes from the Gean, Vol. 4, Issue 1, June 2012)

dark bedroom
an unexpected French kiss
from our French poodle

You can view eight haiga (ink paintings combined with haiku) in the “haiku for dog lovers” series in

my online gallery

. I’ve made these into a hand-bound book,

True Love Comes on Paws

, dedicated to—whom else—Misha.

A friend has been thinking about getting a dog, but wondering about the practicalities. I said that there are really few rational reasons to get a dog, but just like having children, the intangible benefits far outweigh the practical disadvantages. Dog breath, slobber, and fur all over . . . this could be start of a beautiful friendship. Because what’s a little dog breath next to the purest, most unconditional love you will ever find? Misha and I wish you and yours much joy for the holiday season.

“Joy to the world”, shown above, is 9” x12”, painted with sumi ink and gansai paint on rice paper. It is stamped in red with my personal seal. This piece is also available as a blank holiday card or small matted and/or framed print.

Makino Studios News

Arcata Holiday Crafts MarketSaturday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 9, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Arcata Community Center, Arcata. Forty-five local artists and craftspeople, plus music and food.

Holiday Handmade/Makers FairSunday, December 16, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Bayside Grange, 2297 Jacoby Creek Road, Bayside. Friendly neighborhood fair. Tasty homemade soups and treats.

Pierson Christmas FairTuesday, November 13-Tuesday, Dec. 25. Ongoing fair of arts and crafts handmade in Humboldt County. Pierson Garden Shop, 4100 Broadway Street, Eureka. Free hot cider, eggnog and cookies.

Arts Alive Holiday Show – Mateel Cooperative Gallery, 773 Redwood Drive, Garberville, CA. Opening Friday, Dec. 6, 6-9 p.m. I will have several paintings and cards here, at my first event in Southern Humboldt. Runs through early January.

Home for the Holidays - MikkiMoves Living Room Gallery.I have several affordable prints in this group show as well as cards for sale. 7th and I Streets in Eureka, California. Runs through December.

Connecting: I regularly post fresh haiku and/or art on Facebook and Twitter. "Like" the Makino Studios Facebook page and/or follow @Ant99 on Twitter for the newest material. If you’d like to join my email list, just drop me a line here.

Humboldt Holidays

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What a rainstorm we’re having! As I write, I can see redwoods swaying in the wind, big green leaves blowing off the alders, and raindrops bouncing hard off the deck. I hope you are finding ways to stay cheerful despite the wet and gloom. steady rain
80% chance
of popcorn

Meanwhile, I have been busy in my studio framing paintings and prints, assembling new cards, and making books with washi paper I brought back from Japan. This post is especially for folks here in Humboldt County, California. I wanted to share with you several local events this holiday season, or maybe we should call it the holiday high hurdles race!

 The Makino Studios section at the Pierson Christmas Fair in Eureka, California, running through December.

The Makino Studios section at the Pierson Christmas Fair in Eureka, California, running through December.

Holiday Fairs: I will have Makino Studios booths at holiday fairs for the next three weekends, featuring some new paintings, holiday cards, and handmade books as well as prints and t-shirts. The first fair is the big three-day Humboldt Artisans Festival at Redwood Acres starting this Friday. The following weekend, I’ll be at the Arcata Community Center, and the Sunday after that, I’ll have a booth at the Bayside Grange. Details for all those fairs are below. These fairs are a fun and meaningful way for me to connect in person with my customers (see my  December 2011 post, “Holiday Abundance”). I also have a selection of my haiku cards, prints and books at the Piersons Christmas Fair in the Garden Shop, running through Christmas.

Affordable Art Show: For the month of December, several of my framed prints will be on display as part of  the “Home for the Holidays” group show at the MikkiMoves Living Room Gallery at 7th and I Streets in Eureka. The show, featuring affordable art suitable for holiday giving, opens this Saturday, December 1 from 6-9 p.m. during Arts Alive. There will be live music and tasty finger food.

Holiday Card Retailers: I have three new holiday card designs (see them in the Seasons album in my online gallery). Several local stores now carry my holiday cards. In Arcata: the Arcata Co-op, All Under Heaven, and Humboldt Pet Supply. In Eureka: the Eureka Co-op, Eureka Books, Piersons, and MikkiMoves.

You can find a selection of my other card designs at Wildberries, Northtown Books and Plaza in Arcata, Humboldt Herbals in Old Town Eureka, Blake’s Books and Miller Farms in McKinleyville, the Trinidad Trading Company in Trinidad, the Kozy Korner Gift Shop in Fortuna and The Gazebo in Ferndale.

Free Shipping thru Friday: If you would rather shop from the comfort of your keyboard, you can always order cards, prints and books from me online through the Makino Studios Etsy shop. I am offering free shipping through this Friday, November 30, with shipping code THANKS2012.

Holiday Gospel Concerts: And on a personal note, I will be singing gospel-style Christmas songs with the Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir at our annual holiday concerts. We are performing Friday, Dec. 14 in Eureka and Saturday, Dec. 15 in Arcata (further details on the concert poster I designed, with me in the right-hand corner). Singing joyful songs with 80 other people is one sure way to lift the spirits (see my April 2011 post, “We Lift Our Voices”).

Well, I’m going to try and take my dog out. If you read my August 2011 post, “The Dog Who Wouldn’t Go Out,” you know that Misha is not too keen on getting wet; this is when his dainty poodle nature emerges.

Here’s wishing you all the best. I hope to see you at one or more of these holiday events!

warmly, Annette

The “winter night” painting above continues my Haiku for Dog Lovers series. The original is 7” x 5” and was painted with sumi ink and gansai paint on textured paper. It will be for sale at my holiday fair booth. The poem was first published in the haiku journal Notes from the Gean in July 2012.

Makino Studios News

Humboldt Artisans Crafts and Music Festival –Friday, Nov. 30, 12 - 9 p.m.; Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; and Sunday, December 2, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Redwood Acres Fairgrounds, Eureka. Live music on five stages, food and drink. General admission $3 or free with a kid’s toy or gift for a senior. Admission free for kids and seniors.

Arcata Holiday Crafts Market –Saturday and Sunday, December 8-9, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Arcata Community Center, Arcata. Music and concessions. Benefits the City of Arcata’s Youth Development Scholarship Fund for low-income kids to participate in recreation programs.

Holiday Handmade/Makers Fair –Sunday, December 16, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Bayside Grange, 2297 Jacoby Creek Road, Bayside. Friendly neighborhood fair. Expect good food, too; last year they served tasty hot soups and breads.

Pierson Christmas Fair –Tuesday, November 13-Tuesday, Dec. 25. Ongoing fair of arts and crafts handmade in Humboldt County. Pierson Garden Shop, 4100 Broadway Street, Eureka. Last week they were serving free hot cider and cookies.

Connecting - I regularly post fresh haiku and/or art on Facebook and Twitter. "Like" the Makino Studios Facebook page and/or follow @Ant99 on Twitter for the newest material.

Finding My Tribe

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Happy Thanksgiving! Among my many blessings, I am so grateful to be able to walk this creative path as a writer and artist. Last month I attended my first haiku conference, the three-day  Seabeck Haiku Gathering on beautiful Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State. Besides presentations and poetry readings, the retreat agenda included haiku Mad Libs, a haiku scavenger hunt, sumi ink painting and a very entertaining talent show that thoroughly dispelled any notion that all haiku poets are introverts.

It was deeply satisfying to find a place where others were grappling with the same obscure questions as I am: Does a haiku have to be literally true to be authentic? What is the role of the “leap” between the two fragmentary parts of a haiku? To punctuate or not to punctuate?

While I appreciate being part of a lively online community of haiku poets, there is no substitute for spending time in person with “the similarly afflicted,” as retreat organizer Michael Dylan Welch put it. In short, at Seabeck, I met the other members of my tribe.

loop trail
I follow in my own
footsteps

In confirmation that I’m on the right track, I recently got my first poems accepted by Frogpond and Modern Haiku, the two flagship journals of haiku in English.

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I reached a less traditional artistic milestone recently. I learned that a woman who was given one of my prints is planning to have my playful dog painting tattooed on her hip. This unknown woman’s hip may not be the Sistine Chapel, but she is clearly making a commitment to my art!

So this Thanksgiving, I offer special thanks to the community of poets, artists, and others who have supported my work. Even if you have stopped short of tattooing my art on your body, your steady affirmation encourages and inspires me to carry on. Here’s wishing you a warm and wonderful holiday.

Free Shipping

I am offering free shipping through November on all domestic online orders from the Makino Studios Etsy shop. I’ve recently listed several new cards, prints, and handmade books of my haiku art. Just use shipping code THANKS2012 at checkout.

Makino Studios News

Holiday Cards- The singing robin above is one of three new holiday card designs available starting next week.

Home for the Holidays- MikkiMoves Living Room Gallery. I will have several affordable pieces in this group show at 7th and I Streets in Eureka, California. Opening during Arts Alive, 6-9 p.m. Saturday, December 1. Runs through December.

Connecting: I regularly post fresh haiku and/or art on Facebook and Twitter. "Like" the Makino Studios Facebook page and/or follow @Ant99 on Twitter for the newest material.

Makino Studios at Humboldt Holiday Fairs

Humboldt Artisans Crafts and Music FestivalFriday, Nov. 30, 12 - 9 p.m.; Saturday, December 1, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; and Sunday, December 2, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Redwood Acres Fairgrounds, Eureka.

Arcata Holiday Crafts MarketSaturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-9, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Arcata Community Center, Arcata.

Holiday Handmade/Makers FairSunday, December 16, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Bayside Grange, 2297 Jacoby Creek Road, Bayside.

Pierson Christmas FairTuesday, November 13-Tuesday, Dec. 25. Ongoing fair of arts and crafts handmade in Humboldt County. Pierson Garden Shop, 4100 Broadway Street, Eureka.

River Flow

 “river flow” is 4″x6″, painted with sumi ink and Japanesr watercolors on paper. © Annette Makino

“river flow” is 4″x6″, painted with sumi ink and Japanesr watercolors on paper. © Annette Makino

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.

ripe blackberry
the invitation
dangles

fire circle
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.

river flow
returning me
to myself

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.

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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.

Connecting: I regularly post fresh haiku and art on Facebook and Twitter. "Like" the Makino Studios Facebook page for doses of humor and insight. You can also follow @Ant99 on Twitter for more news.

Looking Deeply

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An art teacher I had in my early twenties, the abstract painter Leslie Kenneth Price, once pointed out to another student that she had carefully painted a face from her mirrored reflection, then assumed she knew what a neck looked like and simply painted two parallel lines. Under a fairly realistic face, the neck looked stiff and awkward. He told her, "Here’s where you stopped looking. Keep looking!" More than 25 years later, the words "keep looking" still echo in my head when I'm painting.

I love iris flowers and even had a poster of one in my college dorm room, yet I had never really looked at one closely. That changed this summer, when I decided to paint a wild iris from our yard. I was amazed at all the intricate overlapping petals, sepals and markings. The delicate complexity threatened to overwhelm me. But I told myself, "Keep looking!" And for the first time, I really saw the strange beauty of an iris, and managed to capture an approximation on paper.

This is perhaps the greatest gift of making art: it compels us to keep looking. To look deeply at our surroundings, or in the case of abstract art, to look deeply into our own visions. This is also the gift that comes from writing haiku: it reminds me to really see the ragged edge of a nettle leaf, the pattern of tea stains left in a cup, the strange beauty all around us. And the gift is magnified when I am able to share what I have found with others.

You don't need to be a painter or a poet to keep looking, just keep your eyes and heart open. Ultimately, to look deeply is to live more intensely.

new glasses
all the individual leaves
on the oaks

The wild iris piece above is 5"x7", painted with sumi ink and Japanese gansai paints on textured card stock. The poem fragment on the piece was written for my husband Paul. This piece will be available as a blank greeting card or small print next month.

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Makino Studios News

Show at Morris Graves Museum:One of my "haiku for dog lovers" paintings will be 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 opening is during Arts Alive on Saturday, Sept. 1 from 6-9 p.m., and there will be an auction event on Saturday, Sept. 22. The Morris Graves Museum is located at 636 F Street, Eureka, California, and the show runs through September.

North Country Fair:Makino Studios will have a booth at this festive two-day fair on the Arcata Plaza, September 15-16. I'll have t-shirts and new paintings, cards and prints. Look for me on G Street near the Hot Knots corner.

Prune Juice:In July two of my haiga (haiku art) and four of my poems were published in Prune Juice, one of my favorite poetry journals. Prune Juice is focused on senryu, haiku's wry, funny cousin, and is a fun and entertaining read. (My pieces appear on pages 50-52.)

Buying in Person: Along with carrying my cards, as of today, Blake's Books in McKinleyville offers a good selection of my prints. A total of 17 Northern California stores currently carry my cards: see the list of retailers. You can also visit my studio by appointment. This past week I even had visitors from Mexico!

Buying Online:Happily, Etsy now accepts credit cards as well as PayPal, so it's even easier to order from my Makino Studios online shop

Connecting: I regularly post fresh haiku and/or art on Facebook and Twitter. "Like" the Makino Studios Facebook page for a dose of humor and insight. You can also follow @Ant99 on Twitter for more news.

Parallel Universes

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When he was nine, my son Gabriel opened my eyes to the concept of parallel universes, the theory that there could be infinite co-existing universes. Both quantum physics and science fiction have explored this concept. But Gabriel quickly developed his own understanding. After watching a documentary on the subject, he told me mischievously, “I'm warning you, if there are other universes, in one you're wearing a pink fluorescent dress. And you're not regretting it!"

But one does not have to turn to quantum physics or fantasy to enter parallel universes: they exist right under our noses.  There is a microcosmic world in the patch of mold on a rotting stump. There is another universe in the hidden dramas of the raccoons that live in the woods around my home. While we move through our days, focused on our own stories, there are a million other stories unfolding all around us, if only we open our awareness. As a poet and artist, it is my privilege to bring glimpses of these other worlds to light—even if I don’t fully understand them myself. But as for that pink fluorescent dress: not in this lifetime!

June morning
the unknown calls
of unseen birds

Makino Studios News

First Publication: Small squeal: today my first two haiku were published! They appear in the June issue of Notes from the Gean, a journal of Japanese form poetry (page 90).

New Retailers and Cards: As of last week, Blake’s Books in McKinleyville and Trinidad Trading Company in Trinidad are the latest Northern California stores to carry my haiku cards. (And they are selling so well that Blake's Books reordered two days later!) Also, I now offer two new card designs. See the Makino Studios Store page for designs, retailers, and links to the MakinoStudios online store on Etsy.

Group Show: This is the last week of the group show I’m part of at MikkiMoves Living Room Gallery. Corner of 7th and I Streets in Eureka, California. Shows runs through June.

North Country Fair: It's official: Makino Studios will have a booth at this festive two-day fair on the Arcata Plaza, September 15-16.

Connect: Did you know that I post fresh haiku and/or art on Facebook and Twitter most every day? “Like” the Makino Studios Facebook page for your daily dose of humor and insight. You can also follow @Ant99 on Twitter for more updates.