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  neW RELEASES

 
Kamisuki
   


    I have just completed a new state of one of my most popular designs, Natsu, under a new title and with a new colour scheme, and it now stands alone and does not belong to any other set. Kamisuki (Hair Combing) has a mauve-purple kimono with a variety of other colours for the patterns of irises, butterflies etc, including bokashi, or shading in the flowers. There is also 22-carat gold leaf on the comb, lacquer printing in the hair, and extensive embossing to suggest the fabric of the kimono, and the pink baren sujizuri background shades into yellow below, reflecting the tones of the kimono motifs.

While the first state of this design was a private commission of only 50 impressions, and therefore has been sold out from me for a very long time, the new state is released this month in an edition of 100. It is an oversized Large Dai-Oban sheet of 48 x 34 cm, or 19 x 13 ½ inches and employs 34 printings, including embossing and gold leaf. An oil painting of the same subject will be included in my September solo exhibition at Scholten Japanese Art in New York, a show which will examine the link between drawings, paintings and prints in my work.



Kamisuki
August 2010




Tasogare and Kiyonaga no Kiseru

   
    June sees the launch of two versions of a female nude design, 'Tasogare' (Twilight) and 'Kiyonaga no Kiseru' (Kiyonaga’s Pipe), respectively from the series Azuma Nishiki Bijin Awase (A Collection of Eastern Brocade Beauties) and Edo Zumi Hyaku Shoku (A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo). The editions of both are 100 impressions.

'Tasogare' (Twilight or Dusk), as you may know, was the name of one of the tragic lovers of Mitsuuji (Genji) in 'Nise Murasaki, Inaka Genji', by Ryutei Tanehiko, a 19th century parody novel (1829-1842) on the famous Genji Monogatari of the Heian period. There is also a Japanese verb ‘tasogarete iru’, meaning to daydream, or to gaze absent-mindedly, which seems appropriate to the dreamy expression of this young beauty.


       Kioynaga no Kiseru' (Kiyonaga’s Pipe) plays with the basic blocks of 'Tasogare' and adds a motif taken from a triptych design by Torii Kiyonaga of the later 18th century. The original print shows a group of beauties enjoying a spring snowfall, and the central figure reaches up with her long bamboo pipe to the newly formed icicles hanging from the eaves to knock them off. Here it is as if the tattoo is reaching up to the long silver earring of the model, printed with silver, to tap it with her pipe. Pipes appear on the floor cushion and as the seal, and of course in the cartouche too, while the baren sujizuri background in swirling, shaded black and grey is shared with all the designs of the Edo Zumi series.


Tasogare and Kiyonaga no Kiseru
June 2010




Inazuma

    

    This release had been delayed by being trapped for several days in France after my painting trip in early April by the Icelandic volcano and my cancelled return flight, and the very long train journey back to London afterwards did not help much either!

    Some of you will know that I submit prints every year to the CWAJ exhibition in Tokyo, one of the best international forums in Japan for new prints, and my May ‘new release’ will be this years’ print for that show. ‘Inazuma’ means Lightning, but is a literary term that brings ideas of fertilising the fields derived from ancient poetry. I have chosen a large size for this design – 66 x 31cm, or around 26 x 12 inches – to give the feeling of the verticality of the bolt of lightning as it crackles between dark clouds and rain to earth. This print is in a small edition of only 40 and but still employs 14 different printings, including three printings of solid black overlaid to achieve a deep, opaque darkness in the heaviest clouds.




   
                                                                                 

Inazuma
May 2010









Wimbledon has been full of tennis fans recently, but I have been completing two oban woodblock bijin-ga designs, one a new colour state of a popular print, the other a brand new piece on commission for Saru Gallery in the Netherlands.


     The print you may already know is a new state of Utamaro no Shunga, the very popular print previously part of my tattoo series, and also sold without tattoo as Engawa. As the tattoo version is nearing the end of the edition and the burgundy-ground non-tattoo version has been sold out for some years, I thought it might be fun to print a deep raspberry-pink background and use stronger colours, and make it part of the Azuma Nishiki Bijin Awase (A Collection of Eastern Brocade Beauties) series, like Asa ni Namida (Morning Tears), which I released recently. The new Engawa will be the fifth design in the set, and many of you will know that Cho Musubi, the first design, is now completely sold out.

Engawa
July 2009