Healing images: Artists create messages of hope for Japan
By Heather Shelton
March 26, 2016
“May a thousand cranes
spread their wings over Japan
Bringing hope and healing.”
This brief prayer, coupled with vee of cranes flying over a red sun, was artist Annette Makino’s way of honoring and remembering the many thousands affected by the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident that devastated northeastern Japan five years ago this month.
“The crane is a powerful symbol in Japanese culture, representing longevity and good luck as well as peace and hope,” said Makino, who completed the painting on rice paper a few days after the unforgettable events of March 11, 2011.
Makino — who resides in Arcata — has close ties to the island nation. Her husband, semi-retired Humboldt State University Professor Paul Blank, recently returned from Japan, where he chaperoned Northcoast Preparatory and Performing Arts Academy students on a trip to Hiroshima, Kyoto and Tokyo. And Makino herself lived in Takasaki, Japan, with her family at her grandparents’ home for several months when she was 8 years old. She has also visited the country twice in recent years.
“My Japanese father lived in Japan and I visited him and our other relatives there,” she said. “Later, my sisters and I returned for his funeral and then did some traveling around the country.”
Makino says her childhood stay in Takasaki was formative. Her grandparents lived in a traditional Japanese home, with tatami mats on the floors, rice paper screens separating rooms, low tables and futons that were stashed during the day and rolled out at night. Her grandfather had a special tearoom connected to the main house where he spent a lot of time meditating, and both her grandparents practiced Shinto and Buddhism.
“The kitchen was the only modern room in the house,” Makino said. “It had a Western-height table and chairs and a small television where we children watched mystifying Japanese soap operas. Sometimes our Japanese cousins came to visit and taught us origami, the art of folding paper.”
To be immersed in the culture, spirituality and aesthetics at such a young age proved a powerful experience, Makino said, noting it permeates her life and art.
“Only in returning to Japan as an adult have I understood how deeply my temperament, creative expression and values reflect traditional Japanese culture,” she said.
Today, her artwork draws from several Japanese traditions. Inspired by a style of painting called haiga, in which art is combined with haiku, Makino often includes this traditional form of Japanese poetry — as well as other poignant or playful words — in her creative pieces.
“I’ve been honored that my haiku have won awards and gotten selected for haiku anthologies and the leading haiku journals,” said Makino, who also pulls from several Japanese practices when creating the imagery in her work.
“First, I draw on the ancient technique of brush painting, where you grind an ink stick in an ink stone with water to make ink, then apply it to rice paper using bamboo brushes,” she said. “This is very difficult to do well, and can take decades to master. I’m not trying to create those kinds of traditional paintings, but I’ve adapted the tools and techniques from that medium for my art.
“Finally, I have learned from the Japanese custom of exchanging etegami, hand-painted postcards with a few heartfelt words that are mailed to friends. These typically involve bold, outlined images that spill over the edges of the postcard,” she said.
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of her art business, Makino Studios, Makino and her family — including husband Paul, daughter Maya and son Gabriel — are taking a three-week trip to Japan this summer, where the artist will not only visit family, but also further hone her creative skills.
“We will visit my Japanese relatives in Tokyo, probably spend a few days walking one of the ancient pilgrimage trails, soak in some hot springs, visit temples and art museums and eat lots of sushi and udon noodles. We four all love Japanese cuisine,” she said. “Though it’s fairly remote, I also hope to visit the 300-year-old Makino sake factory run by my relatives, with its own Makino temple.
“In addition,” she said, “I am on a mission to find a certain kind of narrow, supple bamboo brush that I bought in Tokyo in 2012 and have not been able to find anywhere since. It’s my favorite brush and I use it for all the writing in my pieces, but it’s wearing out. And, I also need to buy more Japanese watercolors, or gansai paints. They have a deeper, more intense, color than Western watercolor paints.”
ANOTHER ARTIST’S STORY
Makino’s friend and fellow local artist Amy Uyeki has close connections to Japan, too, and in her artwork has also paid tribute to those impacted by the devastating events of March 2011.
Uyeki illustrated the 2015 book, “The Extraordinary Voyage of Kamome: A Tsunami Boat Comes Homes,” written by HSU professor Lori Dengler and Amya Miller, director of global public relations in Rikuzentakata, Japan. Uyeki was also on hand earlier this month when Dengler gave a keynote address at the Tokyo National Museum on the earthquake, tsunami and Kamome boat story.
The children’s book tells the true story of a small boat washed out to sea during the tsunami. Over time, the vessel traveled from Rikuzentakata to the Crescent City shore. Del Norte High School students raised funds to make sure the boat got back home to the coastal Japanese town, and made friendships with Rikuzentakata residents along the way.
“The writing on the boat Kamome — the key factor in its identification — was made by a mutual friend of ours, Kumi Watanabe Schock,” Uyeki said. “When Lori was looking for an artist to illustrate the book, Kumi suggested she contact me, as she was quite familiar with my artwork.”
Uyeki says she was incredibly touched by this true story, and felt honored to be a part of the project.
“For many years since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, I’ve wanted to help in some way, but couldn’t find the means other than sending condolences and donations,” she said. “Using my images to tell this story about hope and kindness and resiliency was something I could contribute — and Lori’s mission of disaster preparedness and talking to children so they are armed with the proper steps (a section that is added in the back of the book) fit perfectly — a teachable moment.”
Uyeki did plenty of research as she did the illustrations, working from photographs, videos, books, the Internet and a personal tour of the panga boat housed at the weather station on Woodley Island, courtesy of Troy Nicolini.
“I wanted to portray things accurately, but also to show my own style, which has been influenced by Japanese art,” said Uyeki who, with her trip earlier this month, has traveled to Japan — like Makino — three times over the years.
“This (was) our longest trip — 2½ weeks,” Uyeki said. “Our other trips were limited to visiting friends and family, but this trip gave me and my husband, Rees Hughes, the opportunity to visit Rikuzentakata, where the boat is from and the area that suffered much damage and many casualties.”
She added: “I’m still processing the experience of seeing the devastated areas and the enormous task that the community and Japan has taken to rebuild Rikuzentakata and the region. We also visited Hiroshima … and the parallels between the devastation and the resiliency of the human spirit were not lost on us.”
‘Water & Earth’ depicts local landscapes
Aug. 13, 2015
EUREKA –The untamed beauty of Humboldt County’s diverse natural places inspired Annette Makino’s solo art show, “Water & Earth,” on view at Libation in Arcata through the end of August.
Acoustic guitarist and vocalist Duncan Burgess will perform at Libation during Arts! Arcata tonight from 6 to 9 p.m.
“This show takes its name from the fact that all the pieces depict local Humboldt landscapes of water and/or earth, such as Luffenholtz Beach, the Klamath River or the Kneeland hills,” said Makino. “Also, because sumi ink is made of pine soot and watercolors are traditionally made with earth pigments, I am literally working with water and earth to create these images.
“In the paintings for this show, I hope to convey the vibrant beauty and meaning we can find by deeply observing the natural world.”
The Arcata-based artist often combines her images with original haiku or other words. Her extensive collection of art cards can be found in local stores, and her prints and cards will also be available at Libation during the course of the show. Although Makino has been exhibiting her work locally since 2011, this will be her first show in Arcata.
Libation is located at 761 Eighth St. on the Arcata Plaza. The specialty wine store and wine bar is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
‘Before we were tamed’: Artists team up for Open Studios, nature-inspired show
June 5, 2015
EUREKA – Artists Tina Gleave and Annette Makino are joining their creative forces for two overlapping events this weekend.
As part of North Coast Open Studios, they will share their techniques and their newest paintings at Ramone’s Bakery and Café, 209 E St., from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
They are also launching a joint show there, called “Before we were tamed,” with an opening reception during Arts Alive from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday.
Gleave, a silk painter based in Rio Dell, said, “Though Annette and I use very different materials and techniques, this year we have both been inspired by the endless variety and beauty of nature to paint wilderness landscapes.”
Gleave will be showing her newest work: dramatic painted silk banners. She will also have lamps with hand-marbled silk shades for sale. She will show Open Studios visitors how she paints on silk using special dyes.
“Participating in Open Studios is always so rewarding because I am able to share my passion for art with interested people, while introducing new projects and visiting with everyone,” she said.
For the second year in a row, Gleave has been selected as an Artist-in-Residence at Yosemite National Park. She will be teaching silk painting to park guests from June 15 to 20 and exhibiting silk paintings of Yosemite. For more information, visit www.silksquirrel.com.
Makino, who paints with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors, is also a widely published haiku poet. For the past two years, the Arcata artist’s haiku have been honored as among the best of the year. She often incorporates original haiku or other words in her pieces.
The show takes its name from Makino’s painting of a red fox that includes this haiku:
who were we before
we were tamed?
“Several of the paintings I’ll be showing depict local wildlife and Humboldt landscapes like the Arcata Marsh and the Kneeland hills,” said Makino. “In these pieces I’m exploring humans’ connection with nature — what we know, what we’ve forgotten, what we can learn. I’m really excited to share the new work with people.”
At Open Studios, Makino will demonstrate how she paints with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors using bamboo brushes. She will also have prints and cards for sale. For examples of her art, go to makinostudios.com.
Gleave and Makino will only be participating in North Coast Open Studios during the first weekend, but their joint show will be up through the month of June.
A window into creativity - StewArt Studios hosts 10th annual Holiday Open Studios Dec. 6 & 7
Mad River Union
Nov. 26, 2014
ARCATA – Artists Patricia Sennott, Joyce Jonté and Annette Makino will provide a window on their creative processes at Holiday Open Studios on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 6 and 7. This free, family-friendly event takes place at StewArt Studios in Arcata from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
Sennott, who will be showing new monotype prints of birds and flowers, said, “It’s a great chance for the public to see behind-the-scenes art making. I can show my sketchbooks, drawings, and works in progress. When I visit other artists, I like seeing the early stages to understand how their work comes about.”
Jonté, a watercolor painter and mixed media artist specializing in nudes and florals, said, “Open Studios helps the public realize that artists are very human. Not everything we create is perfect. By visiting our studios and watching our demos, people can see the process and experience what we do.”
For Holiday Open Studios this year, StewArt Studios is hosting guest artist Makino, whose paintings in sumi ink and Japanese watercolors are often combined with haiku or other words.
“I’m delighted to team up with these talented artists to share our work with the community,” said Makino. “For artists, it’s really vital to hear how people respond to what we create, and Open Studios is a great way to get that feedback.”
Jonté will host an art corner in her studio where kids of all ages can come and experiment with water-soluble media. On Sunday at 1 p.m., Sennott will offer a demonstration of monotype printmaking.
All three artists will have framed and unframed originals for sale, along with fine art reproductions and greeting cards.
Art by StewArt Studios members Carol Andersen, Susan Bornstein, Carol Falkenthal and Libby George will also be on view and available for sale.
This year, StewArt Studios is celebrating its 10th year of hosting Holiday Open Studios. This event is in addition to the county-wide North Coast Open Studios that takes place over two weekends every spring.
“Open Studios is always really exciting,” said Jonté. “Many people don’t know about the wonderful things happening in this corner of the community. This is a fun way to spread the word.”
Currently home to seven artists, StewArt Studios also hosts the Arcata Life Drawing Circle three times per week (see www.drawing.nu for details). In addition, Sennott teaches a monotype class there on Monday evenings and Jonté offers private and group lessons in drawing and mixed media.
StewArt Studios is located at 1125 16th Street near Arcata High School, in the old Stewart School office building. Direction are as follows: Enter the parking lot from L Street between 15th and 16th Streets. Walk into the building on the ground level through the doors beneath the stairs, then look for Suite 105.
For more information, call 707-498-6224.
‘Ripples From a Stone’ – Artist friends share spotlight
Oct. 31, 2014
EUREKA – Arcata artists Annette Makino and Amy Uyeki are teaming up for a show called “Ripples from a Stone” at the Adorni Center through November. Both artists will display artworks that combine images with haiku and other words.
“The show takes its name from the idea that we all influence each other in surprising and unpredictable ways,” Makino said. “For instance, Amy’s grandmother, whom I never met, was instrumental in launching my life path as an artist and poet.”
Uyeki’s grandmother, Shizue Harada, wrote haiku and its wry, funny cousin, senryu. Her poems reflected her life as a Japanese immigrant who came to the United States in the 1920s in an arranged marriage.
“I got an instant visual from her poetry,” Uyeki, a mixed media artist, recalled. Her grandmother’s poignant and humorous poems inspired Uyeki to create a number of art pieces. She used varied techniques including pastel drawings, oil paintings, wood block prints and monotypes.
Uyeki and her mother eventually worked together to publish a book of Harada’s poems combined with these artworks. The book is titled Sanae, Senryu Poet: Her Life in 5-7-5. Four years ago, Uyeki gave a copy of this book to her longtime friend Annette Makino as a birthday gift.
“That little book was transformative for me,” Makino said. “It opened my eyes to the possibilities of haiku and senryu to share insights and tell mini-stories about real life. I also learned about haiga, the Japanese tradition of combining paintings with haiku, which inspired me to launch a new career as an artist.”
Based on her paintings of sumi ink and watercolors that include haiku and other words, Makino now has a growing line of prints, cards and calendars sold through her art business, Makino Studios. These are offered at 18 Humboldt County stores and will be available all month during the Adorni Center show.
Recently reprinted by Bug Press in Arcata, Uyeki’s book will also be available for sale at the show and can be ordered online (www.amyuyeki.com).
“To me, what’s exciting in both haiku/senryu and the artwork is that they are so sparse and oblique that they can be interpreted in many different ways,” Uyeki said. “I hope my interpretations won’t be the only ones. Viewers can go in their own direction—and that will be another ripple from the stone.”
The Adorni Center is located at 1011 Waterfront Drive in Eureka. Although there will not be an opening reception, the show can be viewed now through the end of November when the center is open: Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Coincidentally, artist Diana Lynn is featuring a haiku by Makino in an interactive installation called “Impermanent Marks” running through the month of November. Opening at the Black Faun Gallery at 120 Second Street in Old Town Eureka on Saturday for Arts Alive! from 6 to 10 p.m., the show invites visitors to write or paint with water on large “Buddha board” scrolls.
For more information, call 707-362-6644.
‘Dare to dream’ offers whimsy
Sept. 19, 2014
Arcata artist Annette Makino was inspired to paint “dare to dream” by her mother’s chicken Lucky, which was able to fly up into trees. This whimsical piece also reflects Makino’s own journey of pursuing a career as an artist and provides encouragement to others on an unconventional path.
Painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors, this 11-inch-by-14-inch piece is one of several paintings that will be on view at the Makino Studios booth at the North Country Fair this weekend. Makino will also be offering the complete collection of her popular greeting cards, art prints and 2015 calendars.
Held on the Arcata Plaza since 1974, the fair will feature some 200 craft and food booths as well as two parades and live music on two stages. Celebrating the fall equinox, the fair runs Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.
The Makino Studios booth can be found near the corner of G and Ninth Streets by Hot Knots. For more information about Makino’s work, see www.makinostudios.com or call 362-6644. For more information about the North Country Fair, see www.sameoldpeople.org or call 822-5320.
‘Savor the Day’
Aug. 1, 2014
EUREKA – This sumi ink and watercolor painting by Annette Makino, titled “…and they lived happily ever after,” is part of “Savor the Day,” a solo exhibit by the artist showing at Humboldt Herbals through August.
Meet the artist on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. during Arts Alive! and enjoy free refreshments and live music by Seabury Gould and Frank Anderson. A gallery of Makino’s work can be viewed at www.makinostudios.com.
Humboldt Herbals is located on the corner of Second and D streets in Old Town Eureka. For more information, call 442-3541.
Paintings invite one to ‘Savor the Day’
July 4, 2014
EUREKA – Painter and haiku poet Annette Makino focuses on the small joys of everyday life in her new solo show, “Savor the Day,” at Humboldt Herbals. The exhibit opens during Arts Alive! on Saturday from 6-9 p.m. with a reception including live music by guitarist and vocalist Leah Tamara.
“I like to express the sweetness and delight in simple things, like honeybees at work in their hives, or a chicken taking a short, awkward flight,” Makino said. “I’m interested in art that lifts the spirit and helps people feel more connected to the world around them and each other. The challenge is to do this in a way that is authentic and heartfelt rather than clichéd or sentimental.”
Drawing on Japanese artistic traditions, Makino paints images on paper using sumi ink that she grinds in an ink stone and applies with bamboo brushes. She adds color with Japanese watercolors, and then hand paints her original haiku or other words directly onto the painting. Finally, she stamps each piece in red with her personal name seal.
Besides being an artist, Makino is an award-winning haiku poet whose work is regularly published in the leading journals of haiku in English. She often expresses a quiet Zen humor in her work. Red Moon Press and the Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Awards both selected the following as one of the best haiku of 2013:
some part of me
Much of Makino’s work is inspired by the Japanese tradition of haiga, artwork combined with haiku so that the image and words deepen and enrich each other. She also draws on the Japanese custom of etegami, painting and mailing postcard art featuring a few well-chosen words.
Makino has a growing line of greeting cards, prints and calendars of her art. Her cards can currently be found in 30 stores in four states. The latest stores to carry her line are Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore.and LifeSource Natural Foods in Salem, Ore.
At the opening reception Saturday, Makino will be offering several new card and print designs and a brand-new, 16-month art calendar for 2015 called “Poetry & Honey.” An online gallery of her work can be viewed at www.makinostudios.com.
Makino will also be at Humboldt Herbals on Aug.2 for a reception during August’s Arts Alive!, with live music by Seabury Gould and Frank Anderson. Her show runs through the end of August.
Humboldt Herbals is located at 300 Second St, on the corner of Second and D streets in Old Town Eureka. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 442-3541 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Silk, paper and feathers: 3 artists to show work
May 27, 2014
SAMOA – Silk, paper and feathers are the mediums of choice for three artists who are showing their work together for the first weekend of North Coast Open Studios.
Silk painter Tina Gleave, Japanese ink painter Annette Makino, and feather jewelry artist Marianne Odisio will share their art and demonstrate their techniques at the Samoa Women’s Club on Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“I love experimenting with my art, asking questions and expressing the peaceful beauty of nature,” says Rio Dell artist Tina Gleave. “Silk just lets me be me!”
Gleave was selected as the artist-in-residence at Yosemite National Park for the week of June 16, where she will teach a silk painting workshop. She is also traveling to Durfort, France to lead a week-long silk painting retreat starting September 29.
Her painting of wilting white roses, “Swan Song,” just won an award in the national Art Comes Alive contest and will be exhibited at a show in Cincinnati, Ohio
At the Samoa Women’s Club, Gleave will offer large-scale silk paintings of flowers and other natural imagery, along with hand-painted silk scarves, leather purses featuring painted silk panels, and greeting cards. For a preview of her art, see www.silksquirrel.com.
Arcata-based artist Annette Makino says, “After writing and painting alone in my studio, it is really fun and exciting to share new work with the public. Open Studios is one of my favorite venues for connecting with Humboldt folks from all walks of life who enjoy and appreciate art.”
Makino is a haiku poet who combines Japanese ink paintings with her haiku and other words. Often expressing a gentle Zen humor, her poems have won several awards and been selected for a number of anthologies, including the prestigious Red Moon anthology of the best haiku of 2013.
Greeting cards of her Makino Studios design can be found in two dozen California stores as well as retailers in Oregon, Washington, DC, and New York.
At Open Studios, she will have new paintings, prints, and cards for sale and will demonstrate how she paints with sumi ink on rice paper using bamboo brushes. A gallery of her art is online at makinostudios.com.
“Feathers fascinate me,” says Marianne Odisio. “It is a joy to work with the wide spectrum of colors and textures these natural fractals produce.”
Based in Redway, Odisio works with a variety of feathers, pairing them with dentalium and cowrie shells, sea urchin spines, beads made from wood, ceramics, glass, precious stones and other materials. She creates colorful original jewelry, hairpieces and masks.
She says, “Acquiring a new piece of jewelry is often an intensely personal decision. It’s a great feeling to see my work resonate with the person choosing it.”
The historic Samoa Women’s Club, which looks out onto the dunes, is rarely open to the public. The house is located between Arcata and Eureka at 115 Rideout Ave. in Samoa, a four-minute drive from the Samoa Bridge.
Directions are as follows: From Samoa Boulevard, turn left onto Cookhouse Road. Turn right onto Vance Avenue, and then take the first right onto Rideout Avenue.
Free refreshments will be served at this family-friendly event.
Now in its 16th year, North Coast Open Studios is a showcase of Humboldt County artists and their work. This year, there are more than one hundred artist listings from Miranda to Trinidad. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information about the Samoa Women’s Club event, call 834-6460.
Ink People show features Asian and Pacific Islander artists
April 4, 2014
EUREKA — For the first time since 1994, a group show will feature the work of local artists with Asian and Pacific Islander backgrounds. Sponsored by the Ink People Center for the Arts, “Hungry Ghosts: Pan Asian and Pacific Islander Perspectives” opens Saturday with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. during Arts Alive! at the Brenda Tuxford Gallery in Old Town.
“We’re excited to celebrate the work of more than a dozen Humboldt artists who share Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry, but who express their creativity in very different mediums and styles,” said participating artist Annette Makino.
Robert Sataua, a member of the gallery committee organizing the show, said, “People have an expectation of what it means to be Asian, of what a Samoan man like myself should be, or what a Japanese woman should be.
“This show allows us to express and define ourselves without any expectations, and will give people some insight into the real and diverse experiences of people with Asian Pacific Islander roots.”
Coincidentally, the show will include three sets of sisters among the participating artists. These include collage artist and painter Margaret Uemura and her sisters, sculptor Katie Uemura and jewelry maker Laurie Aiko Lynch; haiku poet and sumi ink painter Annette Makino and her sister, clay painter Yoshi Makino; and ceramic artists Jennifer Be and Catherine Be.
Other artists confirmed include mixed-media artist Amy Uyeki, Japanese tattoo artist Brian Kaneko, painter Jessica Afable, artisan Leah Sachiko and Robert Sataua, a printmaker and painter.
At the opening, Felicia Yang will screen her video documentary about the local Hmong experience, created as a Marz project through the Ink People.
“Hungry Ghosts” takes its name from a festival practiced in many different traditions throughout Asia. The overarching theme of these ceremonies is to remember and pay respect to the dead. In the same way, this exhibition is intended as a tribute to traditional art forms throughout Asia and the Pacific Islands that continue to be practiced and interpreted by artists today.
The Brenda Tuxford Gallery is located upstairs at 325 Second St. in Eureka. Regular hours for the gallery are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.