Susan's sketchbook log: Japan


cherry blossoms



In a "normal" year, the cherry blossoms bloom in Kyoto toward the middle of April, and then bloom later in Tokyo. This year, we appeared to have arrived on the same 777.

I'd had mixed feelings about whether I wanted them in bloom, with the huge crowds of visitors they attract. But no mixed feelings once I saw them: WOW. Reflecting in rivers and canals, contrasted against the dark wood of Buddhist temples and screaming orange of Shinto toriis, they were a neverending delight.

In retrospect, it was a huge error not to have squeezed some quinachradone pink into my paint box. Made do with alizarin crimson.

The hotel in Kyoto was right next to the Kamo River (Kamogawa, below left) a super spot for a morning walk with wide paths on both sides. And, a lifesaver when the train I boarded on Sunday turned out to be a limited express, speeding right past my stop to North Kyoto. It was only by remembering the the river ran downstream past my hotel that I was able to turn in the right direction and save myself an even longer walk home.

Another great place to paint at 6am before the breakfast buffet was the Takase canal across the street (left). It had a very picturesque moored boat with sake barrels so Nikon traffic was heavy there (below).

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