I just came back from Japan. It was winter. I live in the coast side of San Diego, so even it’s in winter, and the temperature wouldn’t go down below 50degree. I spent time in mountains for a week. The house built for summer and only small electric heater. So I got amazing experiences.

I was in Pacific side in Japan. The center of the Honshu Islands is mountains. In winter wet wind comes from the East and hit the mountains, so the Japan Sea side gets snow or rain in winter, but the Pacific side it’s cold, dry and very rear snow.

Where I stayed, they had snow end of the last December. There are snow left in shady places. It makes a view so charming.

The local person gave me a warning on the fist day. So I turned on electricity on the pipe out side and run water a little bit all night, so the pipes didn’t freeze. But every thing has water on them got frozen. I left the water the outside faucet run. The water from the faucet didn’t get frozen, but where the water landed, dead weeds were surrounded, created beautiful crystals. The crystals got bigger and thicker everyday.

Almost everyday I wake up just before the dawn around 6:30am. That time is marvelous light. The air was so cold and dry. It was 15 degree at the fist day of before dawn. The outside was getting lighter and mountains’ color changed from gray to reddish purple, shadow were Ultramarine. I started painting in watercolor. The watercolor on the paper started crystallized and created beautiful pattern. I still have the painting, because the paint remained the crystal pattern. It’s beautiful and fascinated.

I painted this “102. Waiting for spring in Miasa” in 1999.

Miasa in Japan and Mendocino CA in U.S are a sister City. Artist/founder of Mendocino Art Center Bill Zacha and Internationally famous Japanese Woodblock Artist/ Miasa Art Center founder Toshi Yoshida worked together to made happen to be a sister city between Miasa and Mendocino in 1982. Every other year middle school students visit from Miasa to Mendocino, and the other every other year middle school students from Mendocino to Miasa. It’s a great event. The year a boy from Miasa stayed my home, and the boy wished to go to Middle school in Mendocino. My son, ken wanted to stay in Japan as well. So his parents and I worked to happen. In spring 1999, Japanese school starts in first of April, I took my son to his home stay. This view was in front of their house. During staying their house, I visited Museum of Kaii Higashiyama who is one of my favor traditional Painter (Nihon-Ga) a couple of times in Nagano prefecture. It might be influenced by paintings of Kaii Higashiyama. Anyway after I painted this painting, I felt so good. He said that he was let be and let him paint. He didn’t think that he was painting all the time.

It’s covered with snow, then a fantastic world appears. There is an expression “makeup by snow” in Japanese.

I painted this “131. From Mt. Bachelor” in 2001 when we went to skiing. I don’t use white paint for watercolor. White is paper itself. I designed the front of the painting is a big white space which was deep snow. The shadows on snow were just sweet. It was a little cloudy, and the cloud was so beautiful and watercolor accidentally created just what I wanted. That was the first time we went to Mt. Bachelor in Oregon. People are so kind there.

I wondered if we could have a white Xmas at Yosemite, it would be wonderful. When I was talking with my friend, who performs at Brace Bridge Dinner: every year, I told that. Then we got an opportunity to be there with them around Xmas time. Even we got snow.  It was a great performing. What a nice Xmas memory.

We got snow, so I was happy, I dressed super warm with my watercolor gears. When I got the bridge, I was going to paint out there. I had never painted in so cold place. Before I brushed on watercolor paper, watercolor got frozen on a brush. It was amazing. When I got home in nice warm studio I painted “166. Snow on a sand bank (Yosemite)”. I used Gold Leaf pieces along the bank. So I paste gold leaf pieces on Giclee prints as well. When I was showing the original of this painting at Winesong event (fundraising for the hospital in Fort Bragg), the person purchased the print of this image before, purchased the original painting and donated good money for the hospital as well.

It was cold outside, but it was nice warm inside of the Ahwahnee hotel, which was built in 1925. They have very tall beautiful windows. The tall window made the painting “169. Snow view from the Ahwahnee” very interested in. Outside was so cold snowing and two small birds on the twig gave me a sweet moment. A person purchased the original painting was past away, but her family came to my last show at the Northcoast Artists Gallery, told me that they love the painting very much. A lot of people love the image, so one year I made Xmas card with the image. People told me that the card is one of saving cards forever. It’s nice to hear.

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