enter taiga's uzumasa festival / by Philip Tarlow

purple rock II as it looked at the end of my painting day today

3:03 PM: after many years of studying 18th c. calligrapher/landscape painter taiga, he has finally entered the picture. it was an unexpected move, which i have questions about. but all signs were pointing this direction, if you paid attention. if i paid attention!

there was a period when i made a series of studies in gouach on paper of his landscapes. and, intermittently, i have looked carefully at his landscapes & his calligraphy, with which i resonate more and more. i absolutely love the idea of combining painting with poetry, but i don’t feel that happening when i contemplate it using english characters. japanese characters are a different story. they are, for me, painterly marks. it’s an advantage that i don’t understand the japanese language.

so i began with purple rock II, which i worked on yesterday but was not satisfied with. i isolated 5 elements of the composition by painting over the rest of the canvas with a neutral beige color. then i proceeded to write over those elements and the space between them, using a fine watercolor brush and oil paint to replicate the ancient japanese marks i love, including sketches of a few comical figures that are part of the original 54” high hanging scroll, which is now in the gitter-yelen collection in new orleans. we’ll see tomorrow where this leads.