Contemporary Abstract and My L.I.P.Y.


“I see abstraction as a potential language to speak to today’s world about the hope of things to come.”
~ Makoto Fujimura      

I am pleased and excited to be a part of the contemporary abstract show! 

Limner Gallery in NY presents:
July 1 – 31, 2020

In this show, the selected Contemporary Artists present their newest and most inspiring creative works of painting, mixed media, sculptures, and photography.

Limner Gallery, NY: Neo Abstract Exhibition

Note: 2020 exhibits will be in online and in print magazine format pending resolution of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The exhibit was originally scheduled at the gallery during April 2020.

Limner Gallery Post Card, Original date to Revised

Gallery hours and direction:
Due to COVID-19, the gallery is currently open only by appointment.
Please call if planning a visit:
123 Warren Street, Hudson, NY 12534. USA
* The artwork will be shipped internationally.


My work is from L.I.P.Y. – Lessentiel est Invisible pour les Yeux” (= What is essential is invisible to the eye) Series.Encaustic Mixed Media L.I.P.Y. #6 by Misako Oba■ L.I.P.Y. #6” (Emerald), 2020, Misako OBA. Signed and titled on the verso.
Encaustic Mixed Media on Cradled Wood Panel (encaustic, oil, watercolor, pigment ink, Japanese paper, pure silver/gold flecks), Ready to hang. 10 W x 10 H x 1 D inch (25.4 x 25.4 x 2.5 cm).

With Side View W1. Encaustic Mixed Media L.I.P.Y. #5 by Misako Oba

L.I.P.Y. #5” (Emerald), 2020, Misako OBA. Encaustic Mixed Media on Cradled Wood Panel. Ready to hang. 10 W x 10 H x 1 D inch (25.4 x 25.4 x 2.5 cm).
Although I personally intended to get them displayed the way you see them above, the #5 and #6 could be any orientation. I signed and titled on the verso (back).

For additional information on any of the artists in the exhibit, prices etc., please contact the gallery director Tim  in New York: +1-518-567-7858 (phone).
TheLimner at (email)

If you are interested in my artwork, or if you have questions, contact the gallery or do not hesitate to contact me.

* More works from the L.I.P.Y. are also available. Please read [About My Work and “L.I.P.Y.” Series] below for the story and my message, and view more images. 

How Do You See the Abstract Art? 

Have you ever wondered, “How should we see the art, paintings, or abstract works?” 

It’s okay if you don’t “understand” the work. You can just feel it with your heart instead of your head. But, the following questions are useful regarding contemporary abstract painting or sculpture. I forgot who said it, but an art professional such as a curator or gallery director once said this kind of thing. 

  • What themes and forms does it retrieve from the tradition of modern art?
  • How have they been changed?
  • How has the artist used them to express the social, political, and spiritual experience of our own time?

Keep these questions in mind when viewing abstract artworks. In the meantime, just enjoy them! This show has neoteric abstract artworks.
Definitions of neoteric: modern; new; recent.
Synonyms for neoteric: contemporary, current, modernized, state-of-the-art, stylish, etc.

As a contemporary artist, I strive to push the boundaries of traditional methods or mediums to seek further possibilities. For example, encaustic is historically traditional paint, but I use it with text of modern languages including codes from our time, hi-end archival digital print transfer, and so forth.

Although my recent works are mostly abstract or semi-abstract, there is a solid concept or message behind each series, which you can discover by visiting here Behind the Scene blog.

I hope contemporary abstract art gives you energy, imagination, and provides inspiration in your life, and perhaps healing to those who need it. It may also allow you to see things from new perspectives! 

About My Work and “L.I.P.Y. Series

My body of work explores human life as a journey and examines our soul and emotions. These works are from the ongoing Stars and Desert project. The title “L.I.P.Y.” is my acronym of “L’essentiel est Invisible pour les Yeux” (=What is essential is invisible to the eye) in French. I was inspired by this phrase in the book The Little Prince (by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry) and the Bible verse 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I abstractly integrate the timeless messages and contemporary computer-programming languages (codes) that correlate with the stars, desert, universe, and our lives. The work L.I.P.Y. #5 and #6 are also my emotional response and factual visual statement to global climate change with a conceptual and philosophical approach.

I experience the change in a real sense. It causes more typhoons🌀, thunderstorms⚡️, and higher temperatures🔥💦 than decade(s) ago. Although scientists and professionals continually research about nature, there is still something beyond human understanding. 

My signature color is blue and blue shades.  Although you may still see the trace of blue, I started using green occasionally as the dominant color in 2019. I make my own encaustic paints for those green shades. Emerald green comes from the Seattle nickname ‘Emerald City‘ where I have lived and still create my work (in addition to Japan). The name is due to the lush, green forests of Washington State, which have been beautiful and essential for our lives. 

If you look closely at art and life, the marks and details may emerge. However, sometimes, what is essential is invisible to the eye (= “Lessentiel est Invisible pour les Yeux” (L.I.P.Y.)〜大切なものは目に見えない〜 . Focus on the subject(s) with your heart.

Encaustic Mixed Media, L.I.P.Y. #1-#4 by Misako Oba

These are a little bigger than the previous pieces.
“L.I.P.Y.”  (As quadriptych:
From bottom left to right: #1, #2, Top left to right #3, #4 )
, 2019, Misako OBA. 24 W x 24 H x 1 D inch (61 x 61 x 2.5cm) as quadriptych / each panel 12 x 12 x 1 inch  (30.5 x 30.5 x 2.5cm).
Encaustic Mixed Media on cradled wood panels (encaustic, oil, watercolor, pigment ink, silk, Japanese paper, pure silver/gold leaf). 

*The layout of four panels is changeable; Each piece can be displayed individually/ separately vertically or horizontally.

Encaustic Mixed Media, L.I.P.Y. (#3 and #4 as Diptych) by Misako Oba

L.I.P.Y. #3 and #4. 24 W x 12 H x 1 D inch (61 x 30.5 x 2.5cm)

Encaustic Mixed Media, L.I.P.Y. (#1 and #2 as Diptych) by Misako Oba

L.I.P.Y. #1 and #2. 24 W x 12 H x 1 D inch (61 x 30.5 x 2.5cm)

Or as you see them here, they can be two pieces together as a diptych, and so forth. The display options are versatile!

I layer memories, thoughts, dreams, paths, maps, realities, illusions, and disillusions. I also layer timeless messages in the text as I mentioned. I am interested and would feel awe from vast nature to tiny details, from science and math to supernatural power simultaneously.

Life on earth is limited and is like a mist. We feel nostalgia or ‘saudade‘ when triggered by sceneries, landscapes, artworks, words, or surrounding environments. We cherish memories and sometimes may long for someone or something we do not or cannot have. Visual works, imagery, or words—even without knowing the details—often affect how we think and live. Provoking or generating these emotions is one of my roles as an artist. 🙂 


 For your reference: The Artist Page where you can see how I created the series and about stars in the sky.
The interview article:  I talk about my theme and hidden text in the works and shared some tips for your creative life!


(Japanese below 日本語でご紹介)

もともと今年4月いっぱいで予定されていたニューヨークのLimner ギャラリーでの企画展Neoteric Abstract (現代抽象画展)は以下の日程となりました。


私、大庭みさこの作品は、ミツロウを使ったエンコースティツク・ミクストメディア*作品で、昨年東京での展覧会で展示した作品中の「“L.I.P.Y.L‘essentiel est Invisible pour les Yeux” (大切なものは目に見えない)」の続編の新作で、今年2020年に完成したものです。

新作のL.I.P.Y. #5と#6 は、これまでの「大切なものは目に見えない」のテーマに加え、日本で暮らすと確実に体験する(私も実感!)年々増す暑さ・気温上昇、台風の数の増加、自然災害など、人間の営みによる Climate change(地球温暖化を含む様々な気候変動)もこれらの作品のテーマになっています。抽象なので、「それを読み取って」とは言わないですが(笑)、通常、私の作品や各シリーズには、抽象画でもメッセージ性があり、コンセプト等があって制作しているので、背後にひそむものに思い巡らして、作品を見つめたり、現在の自分自身と対峙したり、楽しんだり、見つめてボーっとしたりしながら、こういうブログを読んだり、話しのネタにしていただければ幸いです! 同時に頭でなく、心で作品を見てみてください

英文にさらに詳細を書きましたので、できれば(翻訳機能を使用してでも、そのまままでも :)是非、お読みいただけると大変うれしいです!💜

日常生活に、そして人生に、潤いとハリ(肌みたい ;)エネルギーと安らぎ、希望と愛をお届けするべくアーティストとしての使命・役割を果たしていきたいと思っています。— 大庭みさこ



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Posted in art, Encaustic, exhibition, Included Japanese日本語も, Japanese 日本語, Mixed Media, News/Announcement, Quotes, Stars and/or Desert, wax or beeswax | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Miss Someone or Something? Saudade

Not just Feel Missing but Saudade

Someone recently moved away, and we had a farewell to say good-bye. Although we can talk via phone, text, or video, we will probably never see each other again in person. We will no longer share experiences together. Visiting online is great, but it never replaces physical meetings. Especially, with your loved ones or close friends.

This might be a similar feeling when you graduate from high school or college and no longer see many of your friends due to different life choices.

Physical distance sometimes affects emotional distance and vice versa.

I have a friend and a friend of my close friends who passed away because of COVID-19. It was unexpected. They were healthy and young. We felt so sad. We can no longer hear their voices or be with them.

It is always difficult to lose close friendships or relationships, and lose loved ones unexpectedly or expectedly because you know it’s their time.

You may not lose the memories and shared experiences, while also appreciating those times.

But the heart still aches.

It’s a simple but complex feeling. It’s not just a feeling of loss… It’s feeling ‘saudade’.


In (Brazilian) Portuguese, “Estou com saudades de você,” translates as:
“I feel saudade of you” meaning “I miss you,” but carries a much stronger tone. In fact, you can have saudade of someone whom you are with, but have some feeling of loss toward the past or future. You can have saudade about part of the relationship or emotions once experienced with someone, though the person in question is still part of your life, as in “Tenho saudade do que fomos” (I feel saudade of the way we were).*

When listening to music by City of the Sun the other day, I also felt ‘saudade’ of New York City where I lived for many years and consider as my second hometown. We have not been able to fly there in the last few months because of COVID-19.  I first encountered their guitar music on the street of Manhattan. Their melancholic guitar sound reminds me of Spain where I also feel connected. Their soulful music helped me ponder and continue painting with emotions.

All those facts prompted me to paint.

I have been busy with ongoing projects, such as [Stars and Desert] series of mixed media (encaustic, oil, watercolor), which are my familiar medium. However, I couldn’t resist jumping into canvas or paper to paint simply with acrylics. They are more intuitive works. And I decided to share on Instagram for the first time. 

Most of my artworks have been carefully planned or conceptualized. I use my left brain for research and even to create artworks, although I am probably more like a right-brain person. So, this series is a little different. Full of my right brain :).

In both cases, my aim is to keep creating from my heart and soul, reflecting on our time or visiting the past or future.

‘Suadade’ Meaning

Saudade (English: /ˌsaʊˈdɑːdə/, European Portuguese: [sɐwˈðaðɨ], Brazilian Portuguese: [sawˈdadi] or [sawˈdadʒi], 日本語発音はサウダージ, is a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one cares for and/or loves while simultaneously having positive emotions toward the future. It’s from Portuguese.*

Saudade is the emotion caused by the distance or lack of “something” or “someone.”(*2)

It’s a simple but deep complex feeling to deal with. 

This is the first piece I painted with Acrylic for this occasion. As I gazed at the finished work, the title Saudade’ came to my heart.   

Saudade #1 by Misako Oba. Acrylic on paper.    [Saudade #1], Acrylic on paper, 2020, Misako Oba

Moreover, the meaning of ‘saudade’ often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never be had again. It is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places, or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, and well-being, which now trigger the senses and make one experience the pain of separation from those joyous sensations. However, it acknowledges that to long for the past would detract from the excitement you feel towards the future. Saudade describes both happy and sad at the same time, which is most closely translated to the English saying ‘bittersweet’.*

I created more acrylic paintings, which resulted in the Saudade series. It is very personal but depicts universal emotions as being in the state of feeling saudade perhaps at some point in one’s life. This is also one of my responses to the pandemic circumstances, and social distancing during quarantine.

Saudade #3 by Misako Oba[Saudade #3 – Dream or Reality], Acrylic on paper, 2020, Misako Oba

As an artist, being in quarantine doesn’t change the solitude of working in a studio. However, maybe because of all the cancellations and postponements, it helped me focus and create in the environment with fewer distractions, such as preparing for events/exhibitions, social gathering, and meetings with friends and so forth. So, my brain has worked more clearly and keenly, and I have been more sensitive to listening to my inner voice.

I immerse myself to engage and use my five senses fully for the creative process, depicting a deep, emotional state of Saudade; nostalgic or profound melancholic longing or pathos by being aware of impermanence or transience of things.

Saudade #2 by Misako Oba[Saudade #2 – Deep Emotional State], Acrylic on paper, 2020, Misako ObaCommentOnSaudade02_Instagram_2




I am so glad to know that my art speaks for itself and moved someone’s emotion. He felt his past when seeing this image and responded before I provided an explanation. 

‘Suadade’ in Other Languages?!

Suadade translates as nostalgia’ in Italian and nostalgie’ in French. It is similar but not equal to ‘nostalgia’ in English. In Spanish, there is the word saudade. It is said that Saudade is one of the most difficult words in the world to translate into other languages.(*2)

As a Japanese, I noticed that we have the old Japanese word Mono no Aware, which we don’t use anymore in our contemporary society, but it seems to have a similar concept or meaning with Saudade. The word also has multiple meanings and layers. I also have the encaustic mixed media art series from this concept of Mono no Aware. So, I somehow get the Saudade with better understanding as I researched. In Japanese, it can be 懐かしさ、昔恋しさ、やるせなさ、孤独感、哀愁、郷愁….etc., but, still difficult to explain with just one word.

Saudade #7 by Misako Oba[Saudade #6 – Dream or Nightmare], Acrylic on paper, 2020, Misako Oba

“Que saudade!”
(indicating a general feeling of longing, whereby the object of longing can be a general and undefined entity/occasion/person/group/period etc. This feeling of longing can be accompanied or better described by an abstract will to be where the object of longing is.)*

I have been feeling ‘saudade’ toward many things/person(s) in the past few months. That naturally and organically contributed to building and developing this series.

How about you? Have you ever felt this complex emotion?

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More works are available on paper and canvas (larger and smaller).  I have already received some inquiries. Thank you! Yes. Don’t hesitate to reach me.

Most artworks from the Saudade series can be purchased starting July 1, 2020. Please check this [Behind the Scene] for updates.


Reference/quotes: (*) Wikipedia 
(*2) 世界で最も翻訳しにくい単語

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Posted in Acrylic Painting, art, Creative process, definition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Instagram? Now? Acrylics?

Today’s blog post is short, at least shorter compared with my other blog posts that are usually long! (I know I have to learn to write shorter.😅)  It is just an announcement!

instagram logo 1I am pleased and excited to inform you and invite you to my Instagram posts. Yep, finally.  @misakoobaart

I am perhaps a bit secretive about my life and introverted in a way although I was on TV every day at some point in my life… I actually like staying in. People think I’m extroverted, while I think I’m introverted. I may be an ambivert. Yet, I just felt I may need to practice a more extroverted side in social media. I have been on Facebook, though. 

Anyway, Instagram is something that I had been resisting to start and I didn’t make an account until this time. I knew it is super popular for everyone and I even know that a lot of galleries find artists through it. It feels like I must be the only visual artist who didn’t have an account and show works there. People asked me, but, I just didn’t want to add up to my already-busy- life. Yet, I felt this is the time for me.  I just knew. 

Instagram @ misakoobaart

In fact, I am enjoying it so far. It was probably worth waiting for me. 

Acrylic Painting

I began posting my current acrylic paintings. Yes, acrylic, which I had never explored much until this time. As you might see in my previous posts and already know by now, I am a mixed media artist using mainly encaustic, oil, ink, text including codes, printmaking, watercolors, and Japanese paper. But, not much acrylic since it doesn’t go well with encaustic/wax.    

I continue creating mixed media paintings, however, I also began working on acrylics besides my regular mixed media projects such as [Stars and Desert] series. 

And, I noticed that understanding how different medium works can help you better understand your own medium! 🎨

I have been having many acrylic paints in my studio that include quite new ones but didn’t have a chance to use them much. I will tell you more about why I began painting with acrylics in the future blog.  Oh, so, do not forget to follow me here for my blog😊, if you haven’t yet, so that you will NOT miss the next post, which I will share the meaning and the story behind those acrylic artworks. You may feel connected. 

And, I found myself feeling more free and light. I could be bold and I can explore more. Comparing with my other series, which I research and prepare for a long time before painting, those acrylic paintings have been done with a more intuitive✨ and free spirit. It feels like a bit new endeavor! 

I added the Instagram feed on the right side of this blog page. Can you see it properly? Please visit and feel free to Follow me on Instagram so that we can get connected even if you are not posting much lately and/or DM me there!  I am already receiving messages and inquiries about the works (Yes, most of those paintings will be available for purchase), and if my response is delayed, please forgive me, but I will definitely reply! (We may have a time difference, right?😉)

Right now, you may see only artworks themselves there, but I will post the process, perhaps things inspire me in daily life and you can glance at my personal life….etc.

Let’s share love, care, interest, energy, emotions, and inspiration especially in our on-going current situation worldwide.

Oh, did my blog get long (again)? ;_;)



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Posted in Acrylic Painting, art, Creative process, News/Announcement | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Felt Offended? Transform Your Emotion

Circle Thumbnails of artwork "Morning Stars Sang#3, and #1," and "Let It Go" by Misako OBA

Have you ever felt offended or upset because someone gave you a very hard time or seriously offended you? I guess anyone could have this experience.

I am usually not easily bothered. However, one day I had a tremendous emotion of rage and felt disturbed, offended, or cursed by receiving wrongdoing from a person. Unfortunately, there was no chance to discuss with this person, which made it harder.

Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.”
But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’”
And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.
It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today.”   
(2 Samuel 16:9-12) 

At that time, I came across this story and I was like wow…it was extremely eye-opening! King David’s thoughts and actions were so generous, wise, and smart. The frustration caused by the incident will only consume you, and not necessarily the person who cursed you.

Humans are emotional creatures, which is good and bad. Be aware of it and you don’t always need to pay too much attention to your feelings. Sometimes, better not to. You could get a better outcome if you just don’t react based on your emotions to their offenses or each circumstance. (Sometimes they don’t even realize that are offending you.)

You choose how to respond to all events in your life.

If you put the offensive situation in the proper perspective, your life can be much easier. Like David did. So, I did. You can do it, too. Let it go. (Related works are below.) Trusting God will take care of it. Feel better and move on!

After reading and pondering the verses, praying, and creating the art, I felt much better the following morning. (Related works are below.) I was able to forgive and even bless the person in my heart.
(At the end of the story, the person and I reconciled in a super-natural, interesting timing in the best way, which was awesome.)

Rerated work of the book of 2 Samuel 16:10-12 and my personal experience
The Let It Go,” Galaxy – Emotion” and “Morning Star Sang#1” found each home 😃. So, I have added two more new pieces titled “Divine Plan” and “Morning Star Sang #3.” They were completed this week in my “cave time” in April 2020. Signed and title on verso.

⭐︎From the left: “Let It Go” (Sold/Not Available), Galaxy – Emotion (Sold/Not Available),  Divine Plan”(Completed in April 2020). All: Encaustic mixed media on cradled wood panel.
⭐︎From the left: “Morning Stars Sang#1 and #2 –  Job 38:7 and “Morning Stars Sang #3 Revelation 22:16.”  # 3 was completed this week.

Note: You can’t clearly read the text* of the verses for some pieces since they are applied in an abstract manner in layers with encaustic as my style. However, the soul and essence of these great messages are embedded in the artwork.

Experience your life changing.



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*The languages I use for text are initially French and/or English. This month, I started to use Hebrew and Greek, depending on the work. For the Stars and Desert project, I often add computer languages as well. For more about my creative process and text, please refer to this interview.

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Posted in art, Encaustic, Mixed Media, Quotes, Stars and/or Desert, wax or beeswax | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

エンコースティックって?(What is Encaustic?)

* In English: What is Encaustic?

Behind The Scene(アート制作・舞台の裏がわ)にようこそ!


"Let It Go" by Misako Oba

数年以上に渡って、私は作品に、エンコースティック(encaustic)を使っています。単独でエンコースティック画(encaustic painting)を制作する場合や、その絵具と油彩・水彩などをひとつの作品に織り交ぜたミクスト・メディアをよく制作しているのですが、最近出会った人々との会話や、展覧会の際、




私の作風の特徴のひとつとして、視覚的・心理的に幾重にも「レイヤーを重ねる」というような特徴があるので、この透明感・半透明感のあるエンコースティックを、初めて知った時はワクワクしました! さまざまな要素のレイヤーを重ね、また、この画材は写真との融合も可能なのです。以来、この深くて複雑で魅惑的な媒体・絵具を試し、探究し、(シリーズにもよりますが)多くの作品に使っています。保存性にも非常に優れているこの絵具と技法には、非常に多くの方法と可能性があるので、ここで紹介するのはごく基本的なものです。


まず、エンコースティック(encaustic)というのは、「蜜ロウ・天然樹脂(ダンマル樹脂*)・顔料から成る固形絵具」です(写真右)。エンコースティック自体は、簡単にいえば、ロウ絵具ですね。でも美術品を制作にあたっては長期保存を前提にしているので、原材料は一般に使われるものより厳選されています。蜜ロウ(beeswax)にも様々な種類があり、精製された白っぽいものを使いますが、自分で絵具を作る場合も、質や、あとで顔料と混ぜる際の色の発色等も重要なので、ケミカル(薬品)で白く精製されたものは私は使わないようにしています。1_Encaustic blocks_photoByMisakoOba





注意! オンライン辞書などでは、encausticはロウを使った絵具なので、よく「蝋画(ろうが)」「蝋画技法」などと訳されているのを見かけます。私も当初は日本語では「蝋画」や「蜜蝋画」と言うのかな?と思って使っていたこともありましたが、実は欧米のこのエンコースティック技法(私の作品にも使っている技法)は、1950年代に広まったという日本の蝋画とはまったく手法が異なるということがわかりました。そこで、まぎらわしい誤解を防ぐため、私は蝋画という言葉を避けています。





DammarResin photo by MisakoOba

Dammar Resin ダンマル樹脂

構成要素・原材料のひとつであるダンマル樹脂は、東南ア ジアに生育する常緑樹が分泌する天然樹脂(結晶化した樹液)で、英語で Dammar crystal(ダンマル・クリスタル)とも言われるように、色は透明に淡黄色からちょっと褐色ががったものまであります。写真は私が米国で購入したもの。日本でも同じようなものを画材店やアマゾン等で購入できるようですが、種類が異なるかもしれません。





蜜ロウとダンマル樹脂の比率 の “レシピ”は、出来上がったときの固さ、使い勝手、用途・好みに応じて変えます。テクスチャーや溶解温度も変わってくるため繊細なプロセス。


Encaustic Medium done by MisakoOba

Encaustic medium. Done. 完成したエンコースティック・ミディアム



アート制作は料理と似ている部分が多々あります^^)。私は制作の仕事からの逃げ(息抜き?!)で、よくアトリエから抜け出て台所に向かい、お菓子作りや料理に走ってしまいます。;)  そっちの方が気が楽で美味しいものもできますが、それではいけませんね..。もちろん道具は別々です(笑)。


 一見、油、水彩、アクリルに比べて新しい媒体に聞こえるこの「エンコースティックencaustic」は、実は美術史上最古の絵画技法、古典的技法のひとつなのです。紀元前5世紀の古代ギリシャの絵画で一般的な技法で、刻のコーティング、船のつなぎ目のコーキングほか、1世紀頃のエジプトの墓での肖像画の絵具として使用されていました。 その後、一旦はほとんど姿を消したようですが、アーティストが現代の電気機器を使い始めた1990年代に復活。


英語で「Encaustic」として使われている単語は、もともとギリシャ語 (enkaustikos)で「熱したり、燃やす」を意味しています。その言葉どおり、蜜ロウの絵具を熱して溶かして描くことから描いた各層の溶融まで熱が使用されます。


Encaustic mixed media [Morning Star Sang #3], Misako OBA


*英語サイト(単に翻訳ではありません): In English: What is Encaustic?

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What is Encaustic?

*私がアートに使っているエンコウスティックとは?(日本語) – In Japanese 

During my last show or in daily conversation with people I recently met, I was asked, “What is Encaustic?” It is more well known in some countries such as the U.S. and U.K. than others like Japan. I have many artworks of encaustic paintings or encaustic mixed media. Whether or not you are in the art field, the knowledge would not hurt. Your curiosity is welcome!  So, I am going to explain again.

If you read my previous posts, you may already know that I am an artist who has used encaustic for multiple years. I have many artworks of encaustic paintings or encaustic mixed media. It depends on the series, but one of the characteristics of my artworks is layers; layers of different elements in mixed media or even in photography. That has been done even before I ever began using encaustic. I was excited after discovering encaustic, which has a transparent and/or translucent character.

Since encountering encaustic, I studied and decided to experience, experiment, explore, and express with this medium. I just fell in love. It’s deep and complex. There are so many ways and possibilities to apply this medium. 

"Let It Go" by Misako Oba

  What is encaustic paint made of?

Encaustic is a medium used in painting and can be made from beeswax, dammar crystal (resin), pigment. Some may add linseed oil and other ingredients. You could say encaustic is pigmented beeswax. It is like hot wax. Although encaustic paints are sold in art supply stores, many artists prepare their own encaustics. I do, too. Not all paints, but I make encaustic medium and some colors with my own mixture. I think of it as alchemy in the creative process, and it can affect how you control and manipulate this wax paint to your artworks.

1_Encaustic blocks_photoByMisakoOba
To make encaustic medium, I use beeswax and dammar crystal/resin. I then add pigment to make own color mixtures. There are several recipes. The appropriate proportion to manipulate textures is a detailed process. 

I also use R&F Handmade Paints and Enkaustikos Hot Cakes from art supply stores. I noticed slight color differences between brands even if the label is the same color name.

Painting with encaustic has a few basic steps.

1) Melt the paint
There is an encaustic heating palette. However, many artists and workshops use a hotplate/cooking griddle, which works well.

2) Apply to the surface/support and paint
The support must be solid and absorbent. So, stretched canvases are generally not appropriate unless they are very small, such as 4×4 inches. Encaustic doesn’t go well with acrylics. Therefore, canvas with acrylic gesso wouldn’t work. You could apply; however, it won’t last for long and it will crack. (I tried/experimented on 6×6 inch-canvas and it cracked after many years.) I am referencing artworks that are professional level and can be collectible for art lovers/collectors and museums and so forth. To ensure artwork lasts for a long time in art collections, I usually use wood panels or cradled wood panels. If applying on paper, I determine the amount of encaustic and how thin/thick based on the size and kinds of paper.

mystudio heating tools up13) Fuse the paint (each stroke or each layer)
Multiple methods and tools exist to fuse. I mainly use a heat gun and blowtorches depending on the desired results.


4) Repeat Steps 2) and 3).


Safety Measure
thermo_photoByMisakoOWhen painting, you have to manage encaustic paints between a temperature of 165°F and 220°F (74℃ – 104.5℃). The temperature shapes the texture: smooth or rough. Paints start to melt around 162°F. Some colors melt easily, while others require higher temperatures. You should take care not to overheat. Up to 220 °F is SAFE. As I work, I keep my eyes on a thermometer on my heated palette to not exceed this temperature. Otherwise, it gets toxic! The fumes can harm you. It is important to stick to safety measures, including proper ventilation. Be careful not to burn your skin with the equipment such as a heated palette, heat gun, etc.

 History of encaustic. It is an ancient medium!
Although the word encaustic sounds quite new compared with oil, watercolor, or acrylic, it is actually an ancient medium. It was a common technique in ancient Greek painting in the 5th century B.C. and used in ancient Greece to coat sculpture, caulk the joints for ships, or paint portraits in Egyptian tombs around the first century.

It seems encaustic almost disappeared from people’s eyes and became unpopular. However, a resurgence in popularity occurred in the 1990s as artists started to use modern electric equipment.

Resources for encaustic paint
If you are interested, you can read a brief history in the following books which I have:

The Art of Encaustic Painting by Joanne Mattera*
Encaustic Art by Lissa Rankin

R&F Handmade Paints in upstate New York offers workshops on the use of encaustics that include lectures, touching on its history.

NW Encaustic in Seattle and many encaustic artists organize workshops of encaustic painting. (I don’t call myself an encaustic artist but an artist or visual artist who uses encaustic since I use other media to art. It depends on my series and its concept.)

Many books and online tutorials are available about techniques besides the books I listed. I also liked Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch’s books. 

 Good events to meet artists who use encaustic
International Encaustic Conference
EncaustiCamp (This year will be the last one)

Now that you read this far, the next time you hear the word or see artworks created using encaustics, you may feel different.

With this ancient medium encaustic, I have been creating my mixed media such as Cosmos series (ongoing Stars and Desert project) in a contemporary setting using traditional and modern techniques.


To be continued in the next blog post about how to take care of encaustic art after purchasing it…

*私がアートに使っているエンコウスティックとは?(日本語) – In Japanese 

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Holiday Show with Stars: New Decade

Contemplate in this Holiday Season…

The year 2020 is upon us. On a social and personal level, the holiday season is a busy time with family, preparing for vacation, shopping, and parties. These events are tremendous but also a bit overwhelming emotionally. Your plans, hospitality, and how you organize things don’t have to be perfect. Be kind to yourself this holiday season, and treat yourself and others gently by slowing down and appreciating friends, family, and your surroundings. You may have experienced many things this year—good, bad, disasters, celebrations…it is good to reflect, but try not to dwell on it. Look forward with intentionally good expectations. I always remind myself I should not be agitated based on the circumstances, which are always changeable.

Japan got into a new era from Heisei to Reiwa this year. 2019 was the last year of Heisei (the 31st year) and is the first year of Reiwa as we got a new Emperor. This has been big news for most Japanese and perhaps not as essential for some Japanese. I don’t go with the Japanese era or the Japanese calendar, but rather the Western calendar (Gregorian calendar) even when I am in Japan.

In the Gregorian calendar, we will get into 2020 next year…a new decade. At the same time, it is just another day. Every day is a new day. I will try to continue to make the most of my life, which is super short compared with the history of planets, all creation, and eternity.

In this year-end holiday exhibition, my works are related to the coming year as a new phase, which feels refreshing for most of us. I am sharing my personal and common feelings in the work.

"Getting Past" (detail), encaustic mixed mediaThe exhibition is from December 5 through December 28. The gallery curated small works that are smaller than 18 inches (about 45.5 cm). My artworks are brand new, which were completed this month, and quickly shipped to the gallery in New York. They are encaustic mixed media (9.5 x 9.5 x 1.5 inch / 24 x 24 x 3.5 cm) and are part of the series Cosmos in my Stars and Desert project. The pieces are priced well for this holiday show.

As some of you know, those works also have text such as timeless messages and computer programing languages (code) that correlates with stars and universe. As we approach a new year and new decade, the work titles are “Getting Past,” “New Phase

“New Phase,” Encaustic mixed media on wood panel. 9.5x 9.5×1.5 inch =24x24x3.5cm (floater framed). Details (right)

 Small Works Holiday Exhibition and Sale
December 5 – 28, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 7, 4 – 6 pm

Limner Gallery
123 Warren St., Hudson, NY 12534

Tel: 518.567.7858

One of my artist friends, an oil painter, saw my original artwork in my studio and said,
“I’m sorry, but your works are unfortunate because the encaustic mixed media look much better in person and it doesn’t convey its beauty in the images online or on computer screen. Nowadays, people look and search for art mostly online.”

These comments were painful, but also true. Even video will not fully capture the texture or depth. Especially since encaustic and/or mixed media works look different, depending on the angle; shining or mat parts, atmosphere, heavy or light texture, subtle text in my work, and depth of the works. You can certainly enjoy more in person.

There will be many different types of artworks from other talented artists.

LimnerGalleryPostCardInvitation Post Card from Limner Gallery

Have you ever seriously sought your purpose and direction? – My work explores our universal experiences with human emotions, such as confusion, suffering, wondering, hope, joy, and love in our journey on this planet.  

I build layers of those complex elements with my emotions, traditional and modern techniques and mediums resulting in textured paintings. These paintings are challenging to feel the atmosphere (or view the actual texture) online, whereas the details come to life when seen in person.

Hope you stand in front of the art and feel what you feel. Time-Travel or recall your memories with your imagination. Come visit the gallery as a part of your holiday travels! 

I have experienced original artworks at galleries that have strongly spoken to me and transformed my life. I didn’t even know the artist. One day, art got me out of a dark sea. This experience occurred before I thought about creating art or being an artist; before knowing anything about art. In fact, those experiences lead me to pursue art career to encourage and hopefully inspire others and to energize people in the same way art influenced and fueled my passion and life. 

“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” – Daniel 12:3

Wishing you a Joyous Holiday Season!✨  


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Related Articles: 

■ Stars and Desert” Series was developed after moving to Seattle, WA from New York, NY.
I often use text in my work. Text that has something to do with stars, constellation, desert, and universe in an abstract manner.
More about the artwork with code.
The paint encaustic is traditional medium, but I wanted to include something current or something that is reflecting our time.

To subscribe to Misako OBA’s Inspirational Art Newsletter, please sign up from here. 

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L.I.P.Y. (L’essentiel est Invisible pour les Yeux)

One more week to the exhibition [In the Details]! This will be my first time to show my mixed media works in my native country Japan. I’m going to Tokyo for this. Hope to see you there! 

The artist page is here.  My works are from L.I.P.Y.L‘essentiel est Invisible pour les Yeux” (=what is essential is invisible to the eye).  

The interview article was just published. I talked about my theme and hidden text in the work and shared some tips for your creative life!

東京での展覧会[In the Details] 展まであと一週間!これまで主にアメリカ等で発表してきたミクストメディア作品を、母国で初めて発表します。私も東京に行きま〜す。(ミクストメディアとは、ひとつの作品に複数の種類の画材を使い融合させたもの:私は、主にミツロウと顔料から成る「エンコースティック」と呼ばれる絵具と、油彩・水彩・和紙などを使っています)展覧会用ウェブサイトの アーティスト・ページには今回のテーマや、作品 “L.I.P.Y.L‘essentiel est Invisible pour les Yeux” (=what is essential is invisible to the eye:大切なものは目に見えないシリーズ)に関して記されています。オープニングを前に、思ったよりやることが多くて(本展示以外に小品のギフトショップも出るという企画者からの連絡で)超バタバタの日々を送っています。そんな中、インタビュー記事が掲載されました! 今回のシリーズ作品の中の隠された文字、想い、制作秘話なども語っています。クリエイティブ・ライフを送るためのポイントもシェアしていますので、是非ご一読ください!(英語ですが、必要に応じて自動翻訳なども使ったりして読んでくださいねー)


post card_inthedetails_bothsides

—–>>> Updated! Comment after the exhibition  /  展覧会後のアップデート・コメント:

The art exhibition In The Details 2019! The show was super successful! Thank for visiting the gallery to view and for purchasing the works.
….Thankful to the organizers, fellow artists, and the guests including those who came over from far places. Hope art gives you energy and provides inspiration in your life, and perhaps healing to those who need it.  It also allows you to see things from new perspectives! Misako OBA


(Artist Page and Interview article are still available.)


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‘Mono no aware’ and Japanese mentality

As I researched Japanese ancient poems *Hyakunin Isshu’ 百人一首  and keep creating my encaustic mixed media art series that is related to it by investing my emotions and imagination, I started to feel a ‘Mono no aware’ feeling/mentality is in some of those classical poems.

*‘Hyakunin Isshu’ 百人一首 is the collection/anthology of 7th-13th century Japanese waka (poem); 100 poems by 100 authors. As Japanese, we were told to memorize those phrases in school when we were small, mostly without knowing much of the meaning of each poem as a child. We also (including adults) play cards with Hyakunin Isshu Karuta traditionally particularly in New Year’s holiday in Japan in family. (How much you memorized affect the Karuta game to win! 🙂 But, again, most people don’t even care about the meaning of each poem because the words/phases are ancient Japanese and we don’t understand much.

Mono no aware’ is like Wabi-Sabi (explanation of Wabi-Sabi as follows at the bottom), it is originally unique concept that is based on the Japanese ancient way of life and its mentality.

But, NO Translation for ‘Mono no aware’ in English?

Mono no aware’ is considered difficult to be translated into other languages. Even many Japanese people cannot explain well in Japanese what Mono no aware means. We don’t use the word or term anymore in our daily life. Yet, we somehow learn in school (maybe junior high) in an ancient Japanese class a little bit. So, we know of the term, but there is not much consciousness about its meaning among most people. We may feel Mono no aware and we probably understand as subtle or vague feeling without even realizing it, though.

image of the art, Cry For LIFE -Lamentation (detail left) by MisakoOBA“Cry for LIFE – Lamentation C,” (detail) Misako OBA.
Original:  W38xH12xD1inch = approx. 96.5×30.5×2.5cm. Encaustic mixed media

I heard that an instructor in an interpreter/translator school in Japan one day asked students how to translate ‘Mono no aware.’ One of the top students who is Japanese-American and is truly bilingual answered, “I cannot translate.” The instructor nodded, “Correct.”  I have been pondering… Why?  It seems that because the meaning or usage of the term involves the natural environment such as topography and climate of Japan including the four seasons as well as Japanese way of thinking/history/culture, the instructor concluded Western people would not understand.  They normally don’t know about the way of ancient life in Japan, either. Therefore,  they don’t have experience or concept with that kind of situation/emotion/feeling or at least would have a hard time to understand.

However, as I have lived in the both countries, US and Japan, and traveled to many other countries and have close friends from different countries, I still believe or want to believe non-Japanese people would understand it. Maybe not everyone – each person in the world and their background is different- but some of them would understand. Some country even have a similar term, concept, and/or emotional state/feeling. Although it is quite characteristic of the Japanese world, it could also be found in other cultures….I assume. Perhaps not exactly, but as a similar emotional state as a human being.

I am not a linguist, so I found some references from books, dictionaries and online….and from my own experience. I feel challenged to explain, but will try. Some of my art pieces in Beyond Time & Space are created with emotion related to the Mono no aware’ feeling.

Cry For Life-Lamentation C, Misako OBA“Cry for LIFE – Lamentation C,” Misako OBA. Original: W38xH12xD1inch = approx. 96.5×30.5×2.5cm. Encaustic mixed media. Reflected poems #99, #68, #96, and #93 with re-written calligraphy. (As a triptych with two more pieces on the top, it will be W51x H26x D1 inch = about 130cm x 66cm x 2.5cm)

Definitions of ‘Mono no aware’

There are some different descriptions, but mostly it has the same or similar meaning. I selected some sources/references. Since the original descriptions are in Japanese, I personally translated the meaning as close as I can.  I hope those would at least help you a little to understand the term.

The word Mono no aware (もののあはれ/ 物の哀れ) is literally, “[4] pathos/pity of things,” but actually means:

– It is a profound or calm feeling/emotion/sentiment/atmosphere beyond description that seeps into the bottom of your heart that would occur when you are inspired by seeing, touching, or hearing things.  (=しみじみとした情趣: Commonly from multiple sources.)
Things that make you feel like you will forget your breath.

– Profound emotions/mood/feeling/atmosphere that naturally come up in the heart when touched on things or provoked and inspired by what one sees or hears.  Human beings affection. Elegant and delicate aesthetic philosophy gained by observing nature and life. (旺文社 古語辞典 [1] )

According 新明解 古語辞典 [2] , Mono no aware means:
-1. Atmosphere of things. People’ emotions.
-2. It is a literary term. A feeling/emotion that comes by touching the human heart and the beauty of natural objects. It is also a feeling/emotion/sentiment/atmosphere that seeps into the bottom of your heart.

-Mono no aware is one of the literary and aesthetic philosophy that are essential for knowing/understanding the dynasty literature during the Heian period (794- ca.1185) in Japan.
-A melancholic feeling or pathos by being aware of impermanence or transience of things.
-It is life ideal born from the hearts of the dynasty women who suffered and felt anguish. It is the ideology that influenced aesthetic sense and values ​​in Japanese culture. (Japanese Wikipedia[3] 

At the same time, feeling appreciative of [being sensitive to] the beauties of nature [things], and it has a positive meaning.

Lamentation and Mono no aware

Cry For Life-Lamentation (diptych AB detail), Misako OBA“Cry for LIFE – Lamentation”  (detail of diptych), Misako OBA. Original: W51x H12x D1 inch = approx.130cm x 30.5cm x 2.5cm.  Encaustic Mixed Media on braced wood panel. Reflected poems #34, #83, #84, #66 and #11 with re-written calligraphy. (As a triptych with one more piece ‘Cry for LIFE – Lamentation C’ to the bottom, it will be W51x H26x D1 inch = about 130cm x 66cm x 2.5cm)

I titled this work ‘Cry For Life  – Lamentation’ because the Hyakunin Isshu poems that I enclosed with the re-written calligraphy in the work are exclusively about life, and the contents of those poems feel to me like lamentation.  The authors of those poems expressed a state of  sorrow and pathos that seems to lead to the idea that the life in this world is in vain as their conclusion after having lived for long enough to recognize things in this world/life. They somehow depict feelings of despair and desolation.  One day, I found the word ‘Lamentation’ in the Old Testament.  There is a Book of Lamentation in the Bible and I felt it has a similar state of mind… sort of.   Lamentation in the Bible seems simpler or more straight minded for the ‘lament’ and seems to have nothing or little to do with Mono no aware, though.  Yet, those feelings are part of human nature.

It seems some authors of Hyakunin Isshu felt Mono no aware with regard to life in general.  While they expressed life as vain and poured their negative and pessimistic feelings (negativity) into the poem, I still feel they included or implied the beauty of transient nature/life (positivity) at the same time, which is Mono no aware mentality. – It has both sides. They also describe the nostalgic feeling for the time each author had experienced in their earlier life.

Cry For Life-Lamentation (diptych detail), Misako OBACry for LIFE – Lamentation”  (detail of diptych), Misako OBA. Encaustic Mixed Media on braced wood panel.
Original: W51x H12x D1 inch = approx.130cm x 30.5cm x 2.5cm.

To translate those poems into modern Japanese or into English is also very hard since there are some unwritten facts, feelings or the background of the situation that are behind each poem. But, here are some examples:

Poem #66: もろともに あはれと思へ 山桜 花よりほかに 知る人もなし
(Morotomoni Aware to omoe Yama-zakura Hana yori hoka ni Shiru hito mo nashi).
Miss me as well as I miss you, wild cherry blossoms. In such a heart of a mountain, it is only I that know how beautiful you are and it is only you that know how lonely I am.

Poem #83: 世の中よ 道こそなけれ 思ひ入る 山の奥にも 鹿ぞ鳴くなる
Oh, this world doesn’t have any escape! Hearing a deer crying, even such a deep heart of a mountain, which I have come into with determination, seems to have bitterness and sadness too.

Poem #84: 永らへば またこのごろや しのばれむ 憂しと見し世ぞ 今は恋しき
I’m wondering whether I could look back on these bitter days with nostalgia if I live long, as well as I miss now the past time when I had much grief.

Poem #99 :人もをし 人もうらめし あぢきなく 世を思ふゆゑに 物思ふ身は
It is a matter for regret that I am lost in thought variously because of taking this world unworthy, sometimes loving people and sometimes hating people.

Poem #66, 83, 84, and 99: Translation by SIG English Lounge

…and more. Altogether, I put the 10 poems in my art in the Part 2: Cry for LIFE.
I categorized 10 poems out of 100 that would belong to ‘about life’;  used the nine into ‘Cry For Life I – Lamentation’ and one into ‘Cry For Life II’  with layering calligraphy.
Like the meaning of Wabi, the poems also referred to the loneliness of living in nature, remote from society; Sabi, originally meaning “withered,” is an aesthetic sense and beauty whereby you can feel deep things and rich things naturally in the silence.

image of the art, Cry For LIFE 2 #35 by MisakoOBA“Cry for LIFE II #35”  2017 by Misako OBA.   Encaustic Mixed Media on braced wood panel.
W12x H18x D1 inch = 30.5cm x 45.8cm x 2.5cm. Reflected poems #35.

Dealing with the part of the concept of Mono no aware in my Beyond Time & Space series,  you can take a peek at the artwork from Part 2 Cry for LIFE.  The exhibition is until the end of this month! (more info below) . Thank you to those who already have visited the gallery! As for this particular piece ‘Cry for LIFE II’, I started it during the Brush Creek Artist in Residency (summer 2017) and completed it in fall in Seattle. The pigment transfer images that I made on encaustic are from Korea, Wyoming and Washington State deliberately as if they were from Japan.

Image of Cry For LIFE 2 #35 (detail), Misako OBA

CryForLIFE2_detail3UmeHito_MisakoO_900s.jpg “Cry for LIFE II #35” (detail), Misako OBA. From beyond Time & Space Series, Part 2.
The leaves are from Seattle. The plum blossoms and the scenery are from Korea where I traveled early this year.
They may look as if they are from Japan, however, I intentionally use the materials from non-Japanese countries
where I have lived or traveled as a part of the journey of life; My photo images that appears partly in the work,
which are not just collage of printed images but pigment-transfer, are actual evidence as I become a witness of
our 21st century, conveying my series concept that depicts the same emotion in different ‘time and space’.

Poem #35: 人はいさ 心も知らず ふるさとは 花ぞ昔の 香ににほひける / Poem by 紀貫之 Tsurayuki Kino (868~945)
Dear innkeeper,  I don’t know whether your mind is the way it used to be as as it is said that the human mind often changes. But, the plum blossoms are in glorious bloom and giving off the same scent as before (and welcome me) here in the town.  (So, please do not be mad and put your good mood back and let me stay in your Inn.)

Poem #35: Translation by me.

The English phrases you see as abstract in the work is:  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:27)

Additional info about this poem and the work:  This poem was read by the poet Mr. Kino in response to the innkeeper who was not in a good mood when he/she saw him and little mad by saying “it’s been a long time since you stayed here last time.”  He expressed the comparison between the state of mind of human and nature with mild sarcasm.

ShowPostCard_Limner2017Gallery Hours Thurs – Sat:  12-5, Mon-Wed by appt.
Please call to confirm the open hours during the holiday. Tel:  518-828-2343 

LIMNER GALLERY, 123 Warren StreetHudson, NY 12534

I didn’t like traditional or classical Japanese things or art when I was a child. It looked too old fashioned and lame. (My eyes were always towards the Western way of thinking, life or art.). I never really liked or was interested in Calligraphy, either. However, after living outside of Japan for many years, I started to feel differently about those Japanese traditional things and appreciate them. They have a long history and are deep and complex indeed. I even started to feel privileged to have known that mentality or philosophy by experience or by heart or mind.

Lastly, here is little bit more about the series, Series, Truth in Emotion “Beyond Time & Space”  – Reviving 100-WAKA (Japanese ancient poems/ letters) –
People today love and suffer just as the ancients did. Linked by our humanity, we face much of the same feelings and issues. It truly is beyond time and space.  
For this project, the Haykunin Isshu were re-written in calligraphy by my father, a calligraphy master in Japan using specific ancient characters (the same as back in those centuries) on traditional Japanese paper. Then, I have been creating art with encaustic (an ancient medium), integrating BOTH ancient and contemporary elements by layering in each unique piece in the series.

image of the art, Cry For LIFE -Lamentation (detail Right) by MisakoOBA“Cry for LIFE – Lamentation C,” (detail) Misako OBA.
Original:  W38xH12xD1inch = approx. 96.5×30.5×2.5cm. Encaustic mixed media.
Image of Cry For LIFE 2 #35 (detail), Misako OBA“Cry for LIFE II #35” (detail), Misako OBA.
Original:  W18xH12xD1inch = approx. 45.8×30.5×2.5cm. Encaustic mixed media

Wabi Sabi
As you read about Mono no aware, I assume you may think of the term Wabi Sabi, which is more popular internationally, and you know it or at least have heard of it. This term also has a complex meaning and cannot be translated easily. However, in short:

In traditional Japanese aesthetics,  Wabi Sabi (侘 寂) is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.  (……) Around the 14th century these meanings began to change, taking on more positive connotations.  Wabi now connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs. (Wikipedia)

Wabi Sabi is an ancient aesthetic philosophy rooted in Zen Buddhism, particularly the tea ceremony, a ritual of purity and simplicity in which masters prized bowls that were handmade and irregularly shaped, with uneven glaze, cracks, and a perverse beauty in their deliberate imperfection.  (Whole Living: Wabi Sabi Your Life: 6 Strategies for Embracing Imperfection)

This Wabi-Sabi philosophy reminds me of Kintsugi, which I heard and learned from my American friend recently, a Japanese art form originally invented by a happy accident.

At this time of the year as New Years Day and biggest Japanese Holidays are just around the corner, I ponder about a lot of traditions, customs, mentality, and meaning behind them.  And, I know I need to finish the work eventually with 100 poems in total!  (How many more? hmm…)

Wishing you a Happy New Year!!🎉✨

Source/References for the definition of Mono no aware:
[1](旺文社 古語辞典 改訂新版。松村明、山口明穂、和田利政 編 )
[2](新明解 古語辞典 第二版 三省堂。編者代表:金田一春彦、監修:金田一京助)
[3]   Japanese Wikipedia
[4]   Weblio 辞書

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Artist in Residence -Part 3

Today’s post is additional information such as meals and extra activities outside of studio at the Artist-in-Residency offered by Brush Creek Foundation of the Arts in the U.S.

You can find more information about Artist-in-Residence (AIR) in my previous posts based on my experience.

Part 1)  What is AIR? Environment and Facility of the AIR at Brush Creek Foundation of the Art (BCFA).
Part 2) Benefits of AIR, highlights from the Open Studio and list of AIR programs in the world.

Part 3)

Not all AIR program provides each meals. However, Brush Creek Foundation of the Arts provides breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every day. In order to focus on working, those are big help. They have a laundry facility and they have detergent and dryer sheets…etc. Artists’ lodge (sleeping unit) was located just about from 30 seconds to a couple minutes walk, depending on your studio. I really appreciate those conveniences to save time and concern.

The breakfast was self-prepared. The program provides basic food and supplies such as eggs, bacon, fresh fruits, bread, bagels, cereal, oatmeal, milk, juice, cream cheese, honey, coffee, water and tea…etc. If anything is missing as days go by, the artists can let them know by writing on the white board. Or you can buy your own stuff and can keep it in a fridge. They even had energy/cereal bars to take for our hiking. (It is important to bring water (bottle) when you hike in the mountain! The air is thinner due to the high altitude.)

They bring a lunch selection around lunchtime to the kitchen. Dinner meals are also shared family-style in the common area in the evening. Those are America’s Western-fare lunch and dinner prepared by chefs. If you are a vegetarian, require a gluten-free meal or have allergies, you can request it in advance. Feeling appreciative of all those options and arrangements. The amount of food was always enough – more than enough and we always have leftover. One day, I asked about the large amount of food/meals. One of the directors answered with smiling, “We don’t want artists starving ^^).”

Artists are responsible for clean up after meals and we enjoyed doing it all together with timing how fast we could clean! We had a great teamwork. 🙂 During my residency, some artists baked cookies for all of us, others made chocolate sauce for ice cream topping, others made banana ice cream shake. Yum! Hmm…. I miss all those! Great memories.

Extra activities outside of Studio
A couple of my friends asked me about activities outside the studio in the artist in residency. So, I decided to post those ‘side’ activities that I did, which were fun! I guess I look/am very serious in a studio (Of course…during the work).

So, what we did outside the studio time:
■ Stimulate your interest in the library.
What’s interesting was to see other artists’ work as a book or in CD/DVD form. There are many books by the current and previous resident artists. They welcome the reading materials from the artists to fill their library collection. So, I donated my FAUSTUS book. As other artists had a chance to view the book, I appreciated hearing the comment from them.

■ Hiking to the mountain!
Hiking on the Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming was very different from hiking in Washington or in Japan. It’s mostly flat and with no tall trees, which I found interesting and also enjoyed. Flowers are…hmm….mostly thistle. I felt so different. It was quite nice to walk not in bush! The location itself was in very high altitude, so we had to be careful. They advised we drink lots of water. Fortunately, my body got adjusted and used to it very quickly and had no problem. There are many hiking courses available right near our studios. They provided us a map of Brush Creek Ranch trails and roads. We went on hiking individually. Some artists went hiking almost every morning and ‘conquered’ all trails! The Foundation says, “You must have previous experience with each activity and feel comfortable adventuring out on your own.” Yes, the mountain is nature. For safety sake, we were advised to write our name, where to, what time we expect to come back on a white board for each time we venture out. I went hiking in the early morning before it gets too hot and to avoid strong UV. Or we as a group sometimes just walked near our studios in the evening. It was very refreshing and beautiful!

■ Bonfire, S’mores, Gazing at stars…
We gathered together around bonfire a couple times after work, enjoyed company and conversation, made S’mores, and gazed at stars…. I saw the Milky Way with my naked eye for the second and third time in my life! Those experiences would be reflected in my work. We were there in summer. As non-guided activities at the Residency, in winter they say cross country skis, poles or snowshoes can be checked out from their Barn.

 Night Out
At night, we went to town for a live music bar where an assistant director for the Art Foundation was singing for her gig! (She is a musician, too.) The atmosphere of the bar was super different from the ones in NY or in Seattle. The crowd was very different. It was a great experience. I played pool there with some artists from our AIR, and it was fun! Unlike my previous residency experience, a lot of us (eight artists in total) this time had a chance to get together and most of us are very talkative by nature (in a very good way), so we had lots of conversations outside the studio, which was great, too!

■ Eclipse
During my residency in summer, there was eclipse this year. In some regions in Wyoming, you could see total eclipse. In our artist camp at Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga, it was 97%. The certified eclipse glasses (that my thoughtful assistant ordered) arrived to my studio right before the event in time! We all enjoyed the process of eclipse.

■ Tour – Spirit of the American West
The Art Foundation gave us a tour and trips to the town of Saratoga every Monday where we can get extra snacks, alcohol or art supply (at the hardware store) if we need.

There is The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch near the Artists’ camp. They also gave us a tour there.

Over the years, Brush Creek Ranch has served as a home to numerous families, cattle and horse herds, offering a one-of-a-kind gathering place for guests from around the world. The story of Brush Creek Ranch dates back to 1884 when the Sterrett brothers settled the land and built the original homestead with logs cut, skid and hauled from the adjoining National Forest.  In 2008, the ranch was purchased by Bruce White, Chairman and CEO of White Lodging, one of the most respected names in the hotel industry. The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch is the culmination of the White family’s extensive hospitality experience, continuous dedication to philanthropy and unabashed passion for the sustainability of authentic Western heritage. Their vision unfolds as a refined 15,000-acre getaway that strikes a perfect balance between active outdoor recreation, shared experiences, economic sustainability and preservation of the western way of life. (History of a Wyoming Ranch, Brush Creek Foundation for the Art)

■ Hot springs
There is a natural hot spring (called Saratoga Hobo Hot Springs or Hobo Pool) available in the town of Saratoga, Wyoming, which is open 24-7 and free to the public. The pool is owned and maintained by the Town of Saratoga. Some of the artists went and enjoyed! There is a river near the hot spring, so you can jump in and out of those two hot/cold water!

Selfie Photo Shooting
We live in the time of cell phone cameras and digital photos including selfies. On the second from the last day of our residency, after cleaning up the studio, most artists dressed up…a lot of them dressed up like American Western style, and they were ready to take photos of themselves:).   I was encouraged to join them, so I changed and we all had a photo shooting.  You can be creative in any opportunity at the end.



:: My other related posts about Artist-in-Residency☺::

Part 1)  What is AIR? Environment and Facility of the AIR at Brush Creek Foundation of the Art (BCFA), WY, USA.

Part 2) Benefits of AIR, highlights from the Open Studio and list of AIR programs in the world.

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