Having just finished a large cityscape commission it was time for a change of scene. I wanted to paint more of a landscape, something rooted in nature, something quintessentially Japanese, something Green.
In November last year we had visited Kyoto with some family visitors. I finally got to see Saiho-ji, the temple with its famous garden of moss. Its one of those by appointment only. You send your application by return postcard. Before being permitted access to the garden you are requested to engage in a group activity, which in our case was the hand copying of rather complicated sutras in kanji characters. But boy, was it worth the effort; the garden is stunning, and in the bright November morning sun it was at its best. Apparently there are over 120 varieties of moss. The moss only started growing in the Edo period and as a result of flooding of the previous white-sand-covered islands.
I took lots of photos and these six small studies in oil are the result.
But I still had the `need for green`. As it happened I had just re-stretched a large (over two metres wide) canvas due to a failed cityscape painting. This made a wonderful dramatic base for a large oil painting of the famous bamboo grove of Sagano, also in Kyoto (Arashiyama). I am pleased with the resulting work. I hope you agree it captures the movement, light and energy of that cathedral of green....
But of course cityscapes are never far from my artistic muse, and again I had re-stretched a large canvas that wanted a subject. In this case it was New York. Last December I found myself on `Top of the Rock` as the rooftop viewing platform of the Rockefeller Plaza building is called. It affords a wonderful view both uptown and downtown and this large painting is the result.
All of these paintings and many more will be displayed (and for sale) on the walls of the Tokyo American Club`s Frederick Harris Gallery for my solo exhibition later this year. If you are interested in attending the launch party on November 26th, drop me a note!