there is no end to seeing

There’s hardly a better window onto everyday life in Japan in the nineteenth century than the one Katsushika Hokusai opens in astonishing detail, and his studies in nature are pure nourishment for the soul.  This post is prompted by the current Hokusai exhibition at the NGV.  According to the media releases, 176 of Hokusai’s works will be shown, many for the first time in Australia.  (See gallery information below.)  The exhibition presents a rare opportunity to immerse ourselves once again in the genius of a brilliant Japanese artist and printmaker, who, on his deathbed at eighty-nine is reported to have exclaimed, “If I had another five years, I could have become a real painter.”

 

Katsushika Hokusai: Moon, Persimmon and Grasshopper 1807

 

Not having seen the exhibition, I can’t claim the works I’m posting here are included.  (You can find wonderful preview images on the NGV website and in this gallery at the Guardian.)  I’ve gone my own way instead, choosing a few favourite studies from nature that beautifully demonstrate Hokusai’s depth of “seeing” and the scope of his awakened eye.

 

Katsushika Hokusai: Frog On An Old Tile

 

Although I have posted Roger Keyes’ wonderful poem here before it seems timely to give it another airing.  What more heart-full, wise advice could we possibly need – artists and human beings all – as we learn to simply “let life live” through us?

 

Katsushika Hokusai: Surimono Totsuka, detail

 

Hokusai Says

Hokusai says Look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.

He says Look Forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself
as long as it’s interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.
He says every one of us is a child,

every one of us is ancient,
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive –
shells, buildings, people, fish, mountains, trees.
Wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw, or write books.
It doesn’t matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your verandah or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.

It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
are life living through you.
Peace is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.
Look, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.

– Roger Keyes

 

Katsushika Hokusai: Turtles

 

Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849) is regarded as one of the most influential and creative minds in the history of Japanese art.  His unique social observations, innovative approach to design and mastery of the brush made him famous in Edo-period Japan and globally recognised within a decade of his death.

The self-described ‘Old man mad about drawing’ was known by at least thirty names during his lifetime and was renowned for his unconventional behaviour.  Despite his fame, Hokusai never attained financial success and his years of greatest artistic production were spent in poverty.  He travelled and moved his resting place and studio regularly, finding inspiration for his unique style through close observations of nature and interactions with ordinary people.

 

Katsushika Hokusai: Bamboo and Morning Glory

 

In 1909 the NGV purchased five works from Hokusai’s iconic Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji series, including his most celebrated image The great wave off Kanagawa (The great wave), 1830–34; two works from his A Tour to the Waterfalls in Various Provinces series; and four other major works.  These astute acquisitions established a legacy of Japanese art in Australia that has now extended for more than one hundred years.

Hokusai features 176 works from the Japan Ukiyo-e Museum, Matsumoto, and the NGV Collection that encompass the artist’s remarkable seventy-year career.  For the first time in Australia, seven of Hokusai’s major series, including Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji, 1830–34; A Tour to the Waterfalls in Various Provinces, c. 1832; Remarkable Views of Bridges in Various Provinces, c. 1834; Eight Views of the Ryūkyū Islands; and One Hundred Ghost Stories, c. 1831, are on display, as well as selected works representing his great passion for the classical subjects of birds and flowers and historical poetry.  A selection of rare prints and paintings that show the stylistic and thematic changes of Hokusai’s formative years, as well as three sets of illustrated books that highlight the artist’s masterful and compositionally innovative book illustrations, including the complete set of fifteen volumes of Hokusai Manga, compete this comprehensive insight into the life and times of this major figure.

Source – National Gallery of Victoria
See the site’s Gallery of Themes for a feast of Hokusai’s work.
Showing until 15 October, 20017

 

Katsushika Hokusai: Okitsu

 

For biographical details: Katsushika Hokusai

 


Images sourced from the public domain.
1 – Moon, Persimmon and Grasshopper, 1807. Ukiyo-e.
2 – Frog On An Old Tile. Painting on paper.
3 – Surimono Totsuka (detail). Surimono.
4 – Turtles. Surimono.
5 – Bamboo and Morning Glory. Brush painting on paper.
6 – Okitsu. Ukiyo-e.


From the bookshelf:

Hokusai
Mountains and Water
Flowers and Birds

– Matthi Forrer


 

muttering thunder : vol. 2

 

Muttering Thunder 2015
The second muttering thunder annual is now available for free online viewing and download.

muttering thunder is the collaborative work of Tasmanian haiku poet and haiga artist Ron C Moss (whose work is featured in the artisans’ gallery on this site), and fellow poet Allan Burns.

In addition to a new gathering of nature-focused haiku by leading English-language haiku poets from around the world, it includes a reprint of a classic essay by Ruth Yarrow (“Environmental Haiku”) with a new afterword by the author and a wide-ranging conversation with poet, scientist, editor, and illustrator Cherie Hunter Day.

The poets featured express – each in their own unique voice – their  wonderment, curiosity and compassion regarding the natural world, and the accompanying images bring an added depth of contemplation and beauty to the words.

To view the album and download a copy please click on the image below.

Muttering Thunder 2015


You might also be interested in these pages on haiku and haiga:

the way of haiga

disappearing in the haiku moment

a glimpse of a god

rosenstock & rosenstock


Hokusai says

 

Hokusai: Hawk on a Ceremonial Stand

 

Hokusai says Look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.

He says Look Forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself
as long as it’s interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.
He says every one of us is a child,

every one of us is ancient,
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive—
shells, buildings, people, fish, mountains, trees.
Wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw, or write books.
It doesn’t matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your verandah or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.

It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
are life living through you.
Peace is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.
Look, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.

– Roger Keyes

 


The poet Roger Keyes is an American professor of East Asian studies. This poem is apparently his cross-media translation of the art of Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) into poetry.

Sourced from a year of being here – daily mindfulness poetry by wordsmiths of the here & now.

Gratitude!


Image: Katsushika Hokusai, Hawk on a Ceremonial Stand, Ukiyo-e

Source: wikiart


From the bookshelf: Hokusai, by Gian Carlo Calza


the beauty beyond ideas

A warm welcome to Eva Millauer as she joins our artisans’ gallery.  I will take her advice and avoid putting her “in a box”:

I am not exactly thrilled to be put in a box as dancer, performance artist,
visual artist, film maker, poet, script writer etc, etc…
as my real movement is to  meet you in the beauty beyond all of these ideas
of who we are.

 

Eva Millauer: my name is love

 

As an artist and a human being,  I always explore the same theme.

In fact I only work with one theme, which is not describable as a theme as it is simply the oneness in which everything manifest and un-manifest arises and changes and comes and goes.

There is an unspeakable reality beyond all ideas, identities and concepts and it is my vision to create creative spaces in which the experience and manifestion of that is allowed, supported and lived.

What we call ‘art’ can be a most wonderful gateway to a communication which is much more than what is visible as such on a canvas, in a moving body, a video or a  beautiful poem. This is exactly what I feel moved to work with.

 

 

my name is love

and I live the trees 

my name is love 

and I live the light

my name is love 

my name is love 

and I live the soil

my name is love 

and I live the birds

my name is love

and I live the sky

my name is love

my name is love

and I live you

– Eva Millauer

 


Sourced from Eva’s website and personal correspondence.

Please visit Eva’s page – a sparkling sense of aliveness – to view more of her creative expressions and find links to her online presence.


artisans

artisans’ gallery


 

muttering thunder : an annual of fine haiku and art

Tasmanian haiku poet and haiga artist Ron C Moss, whose work is featured in the artisans’ gallery on this site, has alerted me to the launch of his latest project, muttering thunder.

He and fellow poet Allan Burns have created their first annual of fine haiku and art. It’s a compilation that aims to “encourage the development of high-quality nature-oriented haiku in English”. The poets featured express – each in their own unique voice – their  wonderment, curiosity and compassion regarding the natural world, and the accompanying images bring an added depth of contemplation and beauty to the words.

 

muttering thunder - an annual of fine haiku and art

 

“muttering thunder is an annual of nature-focused haiku and art that will be published each November as an ebook, available for free online viewing and download from this page. The first annual, dedicated to the memory of Martin Lucas, presents approximately 100 previously unpublished haiku by almost 60 premier English-language haiku poets from around the world.

It also includes a reprint of a classic essay by Robert Spiess – Specific Objects in Haiku, and a wide-ranging interview with leading haiku and lyric poet Wally Swist.”

If you are a lover of haiku and appreciate sensuous and sensitive nature photography, I know you’ll be as delighted as I am at the launch of muttering thunder. The annual is a feast for the eyes and the heart – a fine companion for one’s contemplation of the sheer wonder of nature, and of our seamless intimacy with the fabric of the world.

 


You might also be interested in these pages on haiku and haiga:

the way of haiga

disappearing in the haiku moment

a glimpse of a god

rosenstock & rosenstock