Kennedy school lamps

Kennedy School lamps. watercolor & pen, 11×3.5 inches.

The Kennedy School in Portland, Oregon has some awesome decor. I went to their restaurant for dinner with the vague intention to draw something. I had no idea it would be so gorgeous there! I could probably spend a week drawing all over this place and still not be finished.


While I was doing this a woman from another table came up to see. She asked if I was a professional artist. Took some mental “hnngh–argh–fjdak–Idjst–”  before I could smile and say “Working on it.”  Despite the fact that people have already started paying me to make art for them, this is a difficult mental shift to make. There are all those internal disclaimers of ‘well I’m not that good yet” and ‘I don’t make very much at it’ and ‘I wish my style were more like _______’ and so on. I’m working on that, too.

shin hanga studies

I did these little studies last summer. They’re copies of shin hanga works by Hiroshi Yoshida and Kawase Hasui, two of my favorite artists. I did em to experiment with watercolor techniques and to steal their secrets figure out exactly what it is I love about them so much.

shin hanga study #1 in watercolor. 3x5 inches. (original by Hasui)
shin hanga study #2 in watercolor. 3x5 inches. (original by Hasui)
shin hanga study #3 in watercolor. 6x2 inches. Original by Hiroshi Yoshida)
shin hanga study #4 in watercolor. 3x5 inches


I remember when I first encountered shin hanga. I’d been a fan of ukiyo-e forever, and had always wanted to do a series of “updated ukiyo-e style” paintings of where I live. When I finally came across a book of Hasui’s stuff – at the San Francisco Kinokuniya, I believe – all I could do was stare and think THIS. IT IS MY HEAD ON PAPER. (I think this about a great many things.)

I wish there were more books collecting these works. I have two so far, which I love, but they’re far from comprehensive. The hanga gallery does a lot to fill that gap, though. Large selection of works there. I’ve printed a huge stack of them out on card stock for flipping through and sighing over. And painting from!