Friday, June 20, 2014

New Piece: "Baien"

I decided to go back to a previous method or working: cutting girls out of paper and pasting them on wood! Whooo, it was exhilarating and fun. I've missed it!

This piece is quite large, a 2x2 foot square. The girl is watercolor & colored pencil on paper. The background is acrylic paint on top of a birch panel. The golden parts are real gold leaf that shine in the light. She took me about a fortnight to complete.

Baien -梅園- | Watercolor, acrylic, & colored pencil on wood | 24 x 24"

She is called "Baien" after a heavenly nature park which I visited last time I was in Japan. Baien is in the sleepy little seaside town of Atami, not far outside of Tokyo. Atami is famous for its onsen (natural hot springs.) The town is a bit old fashioned and quaint, and that's what I love about it! You can explore its slightly shabby steep streets endlessly and be greeted by friendly faces everywhere you turn.

Anyway: I'm glad we decided to pay the small entry fee for Baien. It was well worth it because it turned out to be one of the most beautiful, serene, and peaceful places I've ever been. The area was in a quiet valley filled with plum and cherry trees of all sorts. Waterfalls and rivers wove alongside the walking paths, and filtered sunlight streamed in from above. Here and there were old style Japanese houses and gardens through which you could wander. It was early spring, so the weather was perfect.









We stayed in a hotel close by. And yes, the onsen (hot springs) are marrrrvelouuuuuus.

One morning, I got up early and had a peaceful soak in the hot water. There weren't many people there, so I felt like I was in my own private paradise. The water was soooo warm and comforting, the sunlight was streaming in through the windows and making the steam glow all around me, and my stress level was truly at 0. I closed my eyes and tried to lock in that memory, since it was such a perfectly blissful moment.

Those happy feelings have come back to me lately. And that's why I wanted to paint "Baien" girl, to remind me of being perfectly happy and enveloped softly by the warmth of the natural water. The bright pink flowers in her hair remind me of that beautiful Baien park forevermore. I hope you feel serene, peaceful, and content when you look at her.

So now you know the story behind her. Check out this step-by-step process video! It's just 52 seconds long, don't worry.



C-ya,
Julie (JUURI)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Nurturing Your "Mood"

If you're an A+ blood type person like me, you're always looking for ways to organize, save time and energy, and make things efficient.

For me, that included cutting out TV watching, movie watching, searching for less new Japanese music online and just being content with the Spotify stream, less online clothes shopping, and less browsing of fashion / interior design magazines.

All those changes were fine and made me into some sort of efficient, time-saving art robot.

But after awhile, I missed being human!

That's when I realized that one's "mood" is very important, and very conducive to good creativity! Not to mention that you'll feel happy and fulfilled to set aside a little bit of time for those "other fun" things that you enjoy, even if they seemingly have nothing to do with your concrete goals, such as finishing a painting by the end of the week.

So this is what I do now.

When an episode of my favorite Japanese variety show "Smapxsmap" is made available online, I watch it during lunchtime. I never laugh so hard as I do when watching Smap and their hilarious antics. It makes me have a great mood, and gets my brain thinking in Japanese. When I think in Japanese, Japanese inspiration soaks into my head more easily. I'm not sure why, but it does.

番組の激しい字幕が何より面白い...

I periodically browse Netflix for new artistic-looking foreign films. The beautiful visuals recharge my brain and creativity like nothing else! I especially like slow, visually luscious films with deep meaning. My recent favorite is "Hara-Kiri: The Death of a Samurai." (And not just because I loooooooove Ichikawa Ebizo!) (✿ ♥‿♥)

相変わらず市川海老蔵っていつもカッコいい〜!やーめーて!

I look online for Japanese radio streams, and browse YouTube for my favorite artists and save good songs to a playlist. I have so many favorite artists that there's no end to new releases from them. I made this drawing late at night whilst listening to Moriyama Naotaro's beautiful song 「愛のデーゼ」.


I renewed my subscription to Elle Decor, since there's something special about having a magazine in your hands... and curling into a comfy chair with a cup of coffee, and reading the evening away. That's a special feeling that fast browsing of online blogs can't give you.

I could spend lots of time checking out the visual feast of this room!
 I also don't stop myself from browsing at Lookbook and shopping online for clothes (though I usually don't buy... I just put things into my shopping cart and feel happy.)

Great look... exciting combination of texture & color!

 Beauty and happiness are everywhere, and it's good to soak it up into your mind to nurture a healthy mood without being too rigid about a "schedule."

Let me know what things you do to keep a creative feeling going!

J