Highlights from the Tokyo exhibition and a glimpse of works ahead

As the time at home extends, I finally had the chance to quietly reflect on the very exciting time in Tokyo at the beginning of this year. The international art exhibition at the Tokyo National Art Center in Roppongi was a unique opportunity to connect with other artists, and I am now brimming with ideas for 2021. While developing those further, I would like to take some time to briefly share some of the highlights from my second participation.

European artists attending the international art exhibition in Tokyo. From left to right: Joana Rajch, Malgosia Olejniczak, Mafalda Tenente, Sandra Honigs

Thanks to our excellent teacher Malgosia Olejniczak (pictured above holding the Ministry of Foreign Affairs award) the world of ink painting continues to grow in Europe. This year painters from Germany joined those from Switzerland and Poland. The National Art Center was the perfect place to connect with a number of great artists exploring the world of ink (墨). As an artist I felt lucky to have so many ink painting teachers and experts in one place, whose gracious feedback was so very welcome.

Meeting Manchurian ink painting artist Heseli Xiaowen Mizoguchi (L) next to her beautiful bamboo with sparrows painting

You can find some more artists named in this earlier spontaneous update on instagram.

The performances and dedication of master Tohun Kobayashi were ever extraordinary. I still wish I could have brought his Opera Garnier (pictured below) back home, a balletomane‘s dream in ink.

Master Tohun Kobayashi with his ink version of the Paris Opera Garnier

Many of you follow my painting journey from different corners of the world through the zen Monday posts on this website. Especially for you, and after the studio preview shown earlier, below is an image of my works as they were exhibited in Tokyo.

Weathering Winter 「大寒を生きていく」 in the wild (L) and in the garden (R) at The National Art Center Tokyo

This year one of my paintings was recognized with a judge‘s special award (審査員 特別賞) by Professor Arisumi Mitamura. I feel deeply honoured and encouraged by the recognition for the work “Weathering Winter in the wild” 「大寒を生きていく山の梟」. Inspired by the endangered Blakiston owl of Hokkaido, I tried my best to convey the essence of the world’s largest owl surviving the Japanese winter in this piece.

Receiving the special award from Judge Mitamura Arisumi, photo courtesy of Yokozawa Yoshitaka

The original idea for this work took approximately six months to reach its final form, through species research, multiple studies in small and larger scale. In fact you might have seen the very first owl study here before anyone else. Zen Monday 71 published in January 2019 featured the brush pen drawing where the development of a winter owl composition idea started taking shape.

Kanazawa Gyokuseninmaru garden (detail), 2020

The international ink exhibition was followed by a period in Kanazawa, where I collected enough inspiration to start a new series of works inspired by the city in winter. I hope to be able to share more about this later in the year. Some sketches and painted postcards have started making an appearance on the site already.

A big thank you to everyone who supports me on this artistic journey – connections old and new, the art patrons who supported my book’s two editions, and readers who regularly engage with my art here and over on instagram. Thank you also to all who graciously shared their pictures included in this summary. It is now time to work hard to challenge myself once more for 2021!

In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy!


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