Watching the coverage of the disaster taking place in Japan has brought to mind the many Japanese influences on my work. I have always been drawn to the work of the Japanese print masters such as Hokusai, who I have written about before, and Hiroshige. I was influeneced by their work before I was even aware of it, mostly through their influence on the European artists in the late 19th century. Artists like Whistler and Van Gogh were enthralled by the beauty of their woodblocks, Van Gogh even going so far as simply copying them for some of his earlier paintings.
When I began to look more closely at the work of Hiroshige, I too was captivated. There is great unity and totality in the work, a harmony of color and line rhythm that fills the picture frame. The colors are softly graded yet there is deep saturation that is like a feast for the eyes. The landscapes seem to grow organically with lovely curves and lines that evoke that sense of rightness I have often struggled to describe here. They have a great polarity as well. They are bold yet subtle. They are quiet yet not timid. they are simple yet complex. They are both earthly and ethereal.
In short, they are just wonderful.
Take a look at this beautiful work and how it reflects its homeland. If you can, take a few minutes and donate what you can to relief organizations whose help a great part of this nation is desperately desiring in this time of disaster.