02 July 2009

A Haiku From Sweden And A Dream Of Kurosawa.

This Painting is for Catharina Jarl who lives in Stockholm, Sweden. Catharina is a writer with a very impressive past who currently runs a Haiku Blog called Swedeheart: Haiku from Sweden. The haikus she writes are awesome...and I love the fact that a Swedish haiku blog exists.
Catharina stumbled across the Panda when she was searching for information about Rowan Trees (see The Lucky Tree From Which The Devil Hanged His Mother?). She left some very kind comments on my last post and I replied to her with the suggestion that we make a trade. A haiku for a painting. The haiku she wrote for/about me is being published on her blog at the same time as I post this. Click over and read it.

http://www.swedehearthaiku.blogspot.com/
I'm crazy about it... and I'm glad that she chose to write about her process.

As for her request, Catharina sent me a YouTube link to Sunshine Through the Rain, the first segment in Akira Kurosawa's film Dreams.
In this dream a boy wanders into the woods during a sunny rainstorm, despite his mother's warnings, and witnesses a fox's wedding procession. As you may imagine, the foxes are none too happy...
I decided to represent the narrative of this story but to change the look and approach. I wanted to depart from the traditional Japanese costumes and human "foxes" of the film. Very early on I thought about the Matisse painting "Boy with a Butterfly Net" that I have saw many times over the years at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (which I live less than a mile from). This, along with that Max Beckman painting of a crowd of people and a guy in a top hat, which I don't know the name of, where like ghosts haunting an almost subconscious part of my soul the entire time I was painting.
I also immediatley knew I wanted the strongest colors to include phalo blue (which I made the greens from) and burnt umber. Together, they felt like the appropriate dream colors to me. Lately, I've liked to set paintings up using india ink with a long skinny Chinese ink brush. Just making the lines of everything first. I did that here and ended up misusing that ink brush with acrylic paint for almost everything here. It felt right. I need to be careful. I've been using too many art supplies the way they were intended. Can make for boring stuff if you're not careful.
Be sure to read the haiku on Catharina's blog and ...
if you are a member of the Swedish speaking world check out her other blog:


Unfortunately, I don't read Swedish so I have no idea what it's about.
Thank You, Catharina! This has been fun.

3 comments:

Catharina said...

Well John the foxes may be none too happy but personally I am just plumb pleased...! This painting is a real shapeshifter (befittingly enough, as many kitsune are tricksters): Click to enlarge and it looks like the rain has made the colors run together, it's all soaking wet. See the thumbnail on the Panda fan page on Facebook and the very same patches clearly show the sunlight instead. The colors, the refined foxes, the boy's expression and the way his whole face seems to expand toward the forest and the secret happenings there - it's all sheer magic. Thank you so much, this has been a fantastic week.

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John Megas said...

What does this mean?