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Hanamizuki (2020) (video in the end)

Story of the character painting, inspired by the dogwood trees of Nagano

“While the wines are celebrating on the fields, there is a festival in the city too. The dogwood trees, who were lighting up the city with pink flowers in May, are on fire again! In October they are lining up on the side of the road, dressing themselves into dark red leaves, like dancers getting ready to turn the city into an autumn carnival.” (From the picture book Flow of Nature, Coloring Hearts)

After the cherry blossom season was over in April, I didn’t expect to see any pink trees soon…but I realized that Nagano was full of trees with large pink and white flowers all around the city! I found it even more impressive than the cherry blossom…

They are the dogwood trees. Lining up on the side of the road blooming big flowers that are so thick they look like they were made of rubber! And so lively, looking up all the time, celebrating the spring and all the colors that comes with it! Those though flowers won’t be blown away by the wind like the cherry blossoms!

It took me a few years but finally got to draw a few trees and flowers in the spring of 2020. It is so overwhelming which should I choose, which would be the perfect choice… But when I found my tree it was so liberating and so much fun top paint, to connect, to dance with her.

When I finished painting, I knew it wasn’t over. I’ll be back. In the autumn!

The summer flow away, and I realized that it is happening! The dogwood trees are getting colorful again! I was already preparing to dance again! See, for years I watched those trees dressing into red leaves in the fall, it happened so fast when I realized it was already burning red! But in 2020 I was ready to document the color change! So I picked my tree, picked my leaf and went to paint it over and over until it turns from light green to dark red.

It is so much fun, because I love the shape of the leaves! It contradicts with the flowers, looking down, but it has this curvy shape, like it has an edgy personality, strong and confident!

Of course I was back to the tree I painted in the spring to paint it again with red leaves. I love to compare spring with autumn.

That is why I decided to paint a character painting with the two of them.

On that painting, it is the same person, at different times. The blooming flowers, looking to the spring sky waiting for the summer, with so much excitement. But look at her face. She has some fear in her heart… she knew that some changes will come in the summer, and afraid if she is able to cope with them…

And then the changes happen, the flowers die, the leaves starting to color… And she is finally relieved. She can relax because she stood up to those changes, took the challenge and became more powerful during the summer. Look at her face. She is calm, but also tough and powerful, like something really changed in her heart on that summer.

How could the same person look so different…

That is what change do to us… Blooming flowers to falling red leaves. Both of them are gorgeous! But makes us feel differently. The spring flowers remind us the excitement and fear in our young heart, facing the life that we about to start. And the fall red leaves…makes us calm and excited at the same time! Because we made it! We can celebrate! We achieved something during the summer! Lets take credit for that!

And also lets calm down and get ready for the winter. We deserve some rest.

I guess this painting of the dogwood trees really shows how much changed in my life in the summer of 2020. It is not an accident that I couldn’t paint it for years. I wasn’t ready. And when the change come, she was there with me, helped me through it. That is why I was able to finally paint her. I understood her feelings about change.

After I painted Hanamizuki, on the fall of 2020 I moved from Nagano to Okinawa. Now I live in a place where the nature changes in different ways… But one is for sure. There is no rest here in Okinawa! The nature is always awake, always calling!

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