Art Gallery – Maiko by Charlotte Royal

Sometimes you find the most beautiful things in the most unexpected places. While browsing Kickstarter last year, I came across the Postcards from Japan project by Charlotte Royal. Her goal was simple and straightforward – travel across Japan while creating beautiful and unique works of art for people who helped back her financially.

The painting I received is an absolutely stunning watercolour painting of a maiko, done in Kyoto. I love the rich, warm colours and the thoughtful expression on her face. There’s so much personality and talent in this piece, and the fact that it’s an original, one-of-a-kind artwork makes it all the more special to me. It is large postcard-sized, more than enough room for lush detail but small enough to feel like a little jewel in my growing art collection

I have a bunch of new pieces I need to hang, and this one will definitely be front and centre once I figure out where everything is going.

I received this item as a backer perk for a project or product that was crowd-funded (Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, etc)

Art Gallery – Moonflowers

I recently bought myself a Microsoft Surface to be able to work on the go, and one of the greatest appeals for me was the fact that I could draw directly on the screen. What I didn’t take into account is the significant learning curve. Painting with a graphics tablet like a Wacom is markedly different from painting on a canvas, and painting directly on your work surface is different from both. The Surface has the benefit of allowing me to put my input tool directly on top of the artwork, more like a traditional painting, but the screen itself is so smooth, there’s no tooth at all like there would be with “real” paper or canvas.

I found a photo of a lovely painting of a moonflower in a book recently and it called out to me.  As you may know, moonflowers are kind of my “thing”, hence the moonblossom.net domain, my moon and flower custom kamon, etc etc. So when I found this, I thought I would use it as inspiration to start to get the hang of painting directly on the Surface! I’ve definitely got a ways to go, but I’m happy with my progress.

I suspect I will be doing digital painting much more often now that I have this thing, so be prepared for an influx of kimono and woodblock-inspired doodles!

Art Gallery – Pop-Art Portrait by Melanie Georgiou

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been lucky enough to have a new portrait to share with you all! This fantastic piece was done by Melanie Georgiou (Merrie Go Art on Facebook). She is currently undertaking the incredibly inspiring challenge of doing one hundred portraits of kimono friends and colleagues. So far, they’re all as unique and bold and as fabulous as this one which just blows my mind. She was inspired by some of my favourite yabane pieces since we share a love of the motif, and I absolutely love that she included the iris motif since it’s one of my favourite flowers but not something I think I’ve ever mentioned. And of course, how could I not be thrilled with the bright bold blue of my hair? If only I could get it to stay this vibrant in real life!

If you liked this gorgeous painting as much as I did, click here to check out the rest of the project and her other amazing creative output!

Art Gallery – Spring by Tsubame-Kimonoya

This precious piece was done by Tsubame-Kimonoya on Tumblr. I love how she was inspired by the adorable dog Luka in my original photo from Gofuku no Hi last year, and added not one but two dogs! The only thing better than one dog is two dogs. And the details in my outfit are perfectly spot-on.

The weather here in Montreal is finally turning a corner. We got snow on Friday but it’s been lovely since then, and this art feels like a welcome breath of the spring that’s to come.

Ikigai, or why this blog exists

Ikigai (生き甲斐) is most accurately translated as a reason for being, but often referred to more colloquially as a reason for getting up in the morning. Each circle represents an ideal; that which you love, that which you are good at, that which the world needs, that which can support you. Where all four overlap, there is your ikigai, your purpose for living.

I will be honest with you all right now. I haven’t been in a great place mentally this month. While there’s no one thing seriously wrong, there have just been a lot of little frustrations and disappointments piling up, and it’s weighing heavily on me now. I miss being able to actually wear kimono, but my health is a constant challenge, as is my size. I’ve been trying to do more, to share more things with you lovely readers, but work exhausts me and eats my free time. Last week I ordered a garment rack to display kimono so I could update my catalogue, and that became a whole absurd saga in and of itself (which I will share with you soon!). My point is, sometimes this passion of mine feels more like a chore, and I found myself wondering why I do it.

That was when I was reminded of the concept of ikigai. While I may not be able to use this blog to support myself financially (in fact, rather the opposite – as many of you know, this hobby ain’t cheap!) collecting, coordinating, and displaying kimono fulfill me in a way not many things can. Sometimes the thing you love the most can be the thing that drives you the craziest, but in the end it’s always worth it. I just need to keep reminding myself that frustrations are temporary. So thank you all for reading, subscribing, and sticking with me. Sharing with you gives me purpose. You are the reason this blog exists. 💗