New work: Merry & bright
Dec. 6, 2013
This time of year, Arcata artist Annette Makino sets herself a special challenge: to paint holiday pieces that are fresh and original, avoiding cliched themes. This image of three ripe persimmons on the branch, titled “merry & bright,” is one of several nontraditional holiday pieces.
Makino will be offering her new work at the Humboldt Artisans Crafts and Music Festival this weekend, today through Sunday, at the Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka. Makino will also have a booth at the Holiday Craft Market at the Arcata Community Center on Dec. 14 and 15. To see more, visit makinostudios.com.
Zen humor and insights
Sept. 20, 2013
Arcata artist Annette Makino will be showing several new paintings at her booth at the North Country Fair this weekend, including the piece shown here, “in meditation.”
Painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on textured paper, Makino’s work combines images with haiku and other phrases to express Zen humor and insights. Her unique art cards are currently available in 16 stores around Humboldt County, as well as retailers in Washington, D.C., New York, Oregon and elsewhere in California.
The fair is an opportunity to meet the artist, view her original pieces and shop her entire card line. Held on the Arcata Plaza, the two-day North Country Fair features some 200 craft, food and information booths as well as two parades and two stages for live music. The fair runs Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is free.
The Makino Studios booth can be found near the corner of Ninth and G streets by Hot Knots.
For more examples of Makino’s art, see www.makinostudios.com.
Haiku art featured at Persimmons Garden Gallery
Arcata artist Annette Makino debuts in SoHum
July 1, 2013
Arcata artist Annette Makino will show her Japanese-inspired paintings in Southern Humboldt for the first time in July at Persimmons Garden Gallery. The public is invited to the opening on Friday, July 5 from 6 to 9 p.m., which will also feature live music by The SoHum Girls Band and The Fabulous Resinaires.
”I’m really excited to share my work with folks in SoHum, and Persimmons is such a warm and inviting place to show work,” Makino said. “I’ve created several new paintings for this show, and am looking forward to hearing people’s responses.”
Using bamboo brushes, Makino paints with sumi ink and watercolors on rice paper and other papers. Updating a Japanese art form called haiga, she combines her paintings with original haiku and other poem fragments.
Makino’s pieces convey a quiet Zen perspective and gentle sense of humor. Many of her paintings portray flowers, plants or landscapes; dogs are another common theme. A close-up painting of flowering red clover includes this haiku:
counting the blessings
in the everyday
Makino grew up with a Japanese father and a Swiss mother, and has lived in both Japan and Europe. She draws inspiration from those roots, as well as the untamed beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
She comes to her work with more than thirty years experience in writing and graphic design as a communications and outreach specialist for nonprofit organizations. She has a degree in international relations from Stanford University and has studied drawing, painting and graphic design at Humboldt State University.
Makino has published her poems and haiga (haiku art) widely, and her haiku recently took first prizes in two categories in the ukiaHaiku Festival.
She has previously shown selected prints at the Mateel Cooperative Gallery in Garberville, but the Persimmons exhibit marks the first time she will be showing original work in SoHum.
Makino’s show will run through July and August, along with works by Piercy ceramic artist Nan Penner. There will also be signed prints and greeting cards of Makino’s art for sale at Persimmons. There is an online gallery of her work at www.makinostudios.com.
Playing at Persimmons the evening of the art opening will be The SoHum Girls with Marcia Mendels, Brigette Brannan and their band. Their music spans rock, ballads, country and pop. Making a special appearance will be The Fabulous Resinaires, who keep audiences laughing with their costumes and witty song lyrics.
Persimmons Garden Gallery is located at 1055 Redway Drive in Redway. For more information, call 923-2748.
Samoa Women’s Club hosts five artists for NCOS
May 24, 2013
SAMOA — Showing work together for the first time, five local female artists will join forces and demonstrate their tools and techniques at the historic Samoa Women’s Club, 115 Rideout Ave., during the first weekend of North Coast Open Studios on June 1 and 2.
The Samoa event will run for one weekend only, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Participating artists include silk painter Tina Gleave, beeswax collage artist Gigi Floyd, fiber artist Cindy Shaw, ceramic artist Marty Flora and Japanese-ink painter Annette Makino.
During this free, family-friendly event, Makino will grind a sumi ink stick in a traditional Japanese ink stone and show how to paint with bamboo brushes on rice paper.
”I’m very excited to be sharing a space with four other dynamic and talented women artists,” said Makino. “We each have such different creative approaches, but we all love to share our work with visitors, and I think it will be fun and stimulating for people to see how each of us makes her art.”
Floyd will have the tools and supplies that she uses to create both her collages and block prints, and said she will be happy to explain each process. She will also debut something new: beeswaxed versions of her bird-themed block prints and monotypes.
”There’s much I love about working with beeswax — the rich tones and luscious texture, the intoxicating scent and, most especially, the wonderful way that the beeswax can lend a translucency to each collage element, allowing glimpses of previous layers,” Floyd said.
Gleave will demonstrate silk painting without resist lines.
”I found my true art passion when I discovered silk painting,” she said. “I continue to find inspiration studying color and light while on garden walks, during trips to the nursery, in botany classes and while reading.”
Shaw will share her deconstructed silkscreen process of placing textures under the screen, such as leaves, and transferring them onto paper.
”I am living back in Northern California permanently now after spending the past 10 years in Thailand,” Shaw said. “It’s great to be back and I’m getting more ideas for my books and boxes and designing new pieces all the time.”
Based in Shelter Cove, Flora makes ceramic pieces, as well as gyotako, Japanese fish prints made from fish her husband catches.
Of her pottery, she said, “Most of my work is oxidation-fired, with some glazes I make and some commercial. I have also been drawn towards pots with little glaze and flashings left by wood and smoke. It’s a nice way to achieve a surface of depth and richness and create a soft quality.”
Free refreshments will be served. In addition to original art, haiku greeting cards, prints, handmade books, fabric-covered boxes and T-shirts will be offered for sale.
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.
Eleventh Annual ukiahHaiku Festival
By KAREN RIFKIN for the Ukiah Daily Journal
April 30, 2013
On a hot Sunday afternoon the seats at SPACE’s auditorium are filling as the judges/poet laureate committee members are taking theirs on the stage. Retired English teacher and Ukiah city councilman Benj Thomas welcomes the audience to the Eleventh Annual ukiahHaiku Festival. He briefly explains – haiku poems open things up; they are non restrictive.
Ukiah’s poet laureate Dan Barth introduces the keynote speaker, Bart Schneider who reads from his book, the protagonist is a poetry-loving detective hoping to open a poetry bar in Cazadero.
Barth explains, “We no longer insist on the five, seven, five form five syllable in the first line, seven in the second and five in the third – for the 1,023 haiku entries we received this year. It is a fluid form; the English language is not the same as the Japanese.
“Those here are the crème de la crème. The majority of entries were from poets in the state of California’s Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt and Sonoma Counties.
“For the Jane Reichhold International Prize category, entries were received from three continents, five countries and thirteen states and we are pleased to present the first place prize to our very own Armand Brint.”
a child’s yellow comb
on the sidewalk
Brint talks about the prize and what it means to him.
“We expanded the competition to include this international prize about three or four years ago,” he explained. “Reichhold, a coast resident, is a well-known, internationally recognized poet, expert both in writing haiku and about them. She suggested we include the category in our festival and we were honored to have her participation.
“I have been studying, writing, and teaching haiku for a number of years,” Brint continued, “and I was particularly interested in submitting for this juried international competition. The category attracts haiku writers from all over the world, many of them experienced; I was very honored and excited to receive first prize.
“Entries tend to be more contemporary and western; they don’t adhere to any syllable structure. The three lines follow the short, long, short form but not the five, seven, five. It is non restrictive. The Japanese language is divided into sound units instead of syllables so there is really no direct correspondence.
“Entries for this category comply with the typical haiku requirements – seasonal, a recording of a moment in nature – evoking what the poet feels, rendering it in very simple, concrete objective language. It looks easy because it is short and non-rhyming and although the form is simple, it is not easy. It is very different from what we consider lyrical poetry; there is no figurative language, no human interaction in the poem. You have to be able to quiet your mind enough to absorb that single evocative moment.”
The young, the old and the very young take their turn on stage reading their haiku in both English and Spanish, carefully and twice, to the appreciative audience.
rusty old car parts
broken down coated with dirt
alongside Orr Creek
Casey, a 2nd grader in Mrs. Carter’s class at Frank Zeek, won first prize in the K-6 category about Ukiah. He explains his process. “We were on a hike for a field trip at Low Gap Park where we got to play. When it was time to go home we were walking and I saw the old cars on the side of the road. They were all rusty and covered with dust. Our teacher gave us a piece of paper and a pencil so we could write down stuff we saw. When I got back to the classroom she helped me spell some words.”
turkey vultures circle the remains
Makino, who is originally from Redwood Valley and now lives in Humboldt County, won first prize both in the adult general category and adult haiku about Ukiah. “I started writing haiku in 2010 and combine the poems with Japanese ink paintings. This is part of a tradition in Japan called Haiga; the words and the images deepen the meaning. I also enjoy creating a related form of Japanese poetry called Senryu; although similar to haiku the poems are generally humorous and have more to do with human nature. My inspiration comes from everyday life: my children, my dogs, the landscape in northern California.
“I was very excited to win; I am originally from here and am happy to see my old home encouraging haiku poets of all ages,” Makino said.
When wrinkles inspire: Arcata artist and haiku poet creates work about aging
April 26, 2013
ARCATA — Creative inspiration can come from unlikely sources. For Arcata haiku poet and artist Annette Makino, 49, the wrinkles and gray hair of growing older have provided an unexpected gift: the idea for a number of poems and paintings.
”The great thing about writing and painting is that you can take whatever is on your mind and turn it into art,” she said. “For me, one of those things was observing and responding to the process of growing older.”
Using a sumi ink stick that she grinds in an ink stone and gansai paint, a Japanese mineral-based paint similar to watercolors, Makino paints images with bamboo brushes on rice paper and writes her haiku on them. This follows a traditional Japanese art form called haiga, in which the poem and image enrich and deepen each other.
”Those of us in middle age and beyond tend to focus on the losses of what we once had,” she said. “Things we once took for granted, like smooth skin and firm flesh, the color of our hair, sharp eyesight and hearing, a reliable memory and unlimited energy.”
One of her haiku reads:
laugh lines, worry lines –
the shifting geography
of this face
Makino reflected that even those in great health eventually have more and more friends and loved ones who are not. Hospice visits and memorial services serve as a reminder that we are all gliding inexorably toward our own end. One of her one-line haiku reads:
shooting star this brief bright life
”The rewards of getting older are subtle and intangible,” said Makino. “They include the wisdom to make better choices, a clearer understanding of who we are and what’s important to us, maybe a bit of serenity. Those compensations are not anything you can see in the bathroom mirror.”
However, Makino said that she has gradually come to realize that there is a different way to think about getting older that is equally valid — and more encouraging. No matter how much we age, it’s a gift just to be “alive and kicking.”
In one of her paintings, the haiku under a radiant yellow sunflower reads:
of each new wrinkle
rejoice! you’re still here
Another painting combines a close-up of cherry blossoms, a symbol of spring and renewal, with the words:
you’re younger now
than you’ll ever be
Her art appears to have struck a chord. Greeting cards of her paintings are currently sold in more than 20 stores, including several in Arcata, Eureka, McKinleyville and Trinidad.
As of this spring, they are also available in three East Coast locations: the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, N.Y., an educational retreat center with more than 20,000 visitors each year; Zen Tara Tea, a specialty tea shop in Bethesda, Md.; and Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., which the Wall Street Journal has called the country’s most successful independent bookstore.
On a recent visit to Washington, Makino visited Politics & Prose and was delighted to learn that most of her designs had sold out within a month. The store soon reordered, including a number of her two cherry blossom designs, as cherry blossom season was just beginning.
Locally, people can meet the artist and see her paintings on the first weekend of North Coast Open Studios, June 1 and 2. Makino will exhibit her work and demonstrate her Japanese ink painting technique at the Samoa Women’s Club along with four other women artists. These include painter Tina Gleave, beeswax collage artist Gigi Floyd, silkscreen artist Cindy Shaw and ceramic artist Marty Flora.
Makino will also have a summer art show at Persimmons Garden Gallery in Redway during July and August. In addition, people can view and purchase her paintings, prints and cards any time through her website, www.makinostudios.com.
Meanwhile, Makino will be reaching a milestone of her own.
”As I approach my 50th birthday this summer, I am focusing less on all that I am losing and more on my vitality, creativity and wisdom,” she said. “Maybe I’ll even earn a few more laugh lines along the way!”
Mother-daughter trio to show their art together
Ukiah Daily Journal
January 31, 2013
UKIAH, CA — A mother and her two adult daughters are teaming up for a combined exhibit of their art at the Corner Gallery in Ukiah starting Tuesday, January 29. “Clay, Straw, Paper,” a show by Erika, Yoshi and Annette Makino, marks the first time these three artists will show their work together.
Redwood Valley artist Erika B. Makino will show recent clay sculptures; her daughter Yoshi, also of Redwood Valley, will exhibit mixed media paintings; and Erika’s daughter Annette will show Japanese ink paintings combined with original haiku. There will be an opening reception during the First Fridays Art Walk on Friday, Feb. 1, from 5 to 8 p.m.
Many of Erika Makino’s clay sculptures depict animals or people with their pets, represented in simple, semi-abstract shapes that strip the subject down to its essence.
“Research has shown that people who spend time with animals experience lower blood pressure, reduced stress hormones and a greater sense of peace,” Makino said. “We have domesticated and bonded with animals for eons. What fascinates me is the idea that animals in turn have made us more human.”
Another of Erika Makino’s sculptural themes is people playing musical instruments. She also creates large outdoor sculptures. The most recent of these, a cement grouping called “Honoring Our Animal Companions,” is situated next to the Senior Center on Leslie Street in Ukiah.
Yoshi Makino is a trained artist who has worked in a variety of media. A Ukiahi graduate, she has a BFA in photography from the California College of Arts in San Francisco and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of California at Irvine.
Her current body of work draws from her experience in the field of natural building as a professional plasterer for straw bale homes around Northern California. She uses natural plaster mixed from clay, lime, sand, straw and pigment as the primary material in creating abstract framed “paintings.” Her unique work uses these elemental materials to explore geometrical forms such as the circle and the spiral.
“I’m interested in the myriad ways that the golden section and the Fibonacci sequence are reflected in patterns of nature, from ripples in water to the spiral structure of galaxies,” Yoshi Makino said. “I hope my art demonstrates the rich variety in the colors and textures of earth plaster, as well as the beauty and elegance of nature’s geometry.”
A Ukiahi graduate now living in Arcata, Annette Makino is a writer and artist who writes haiku, making Japanese ink paintings that incorporate her poems. Her pieces are typically painted with sumi ink and watercolor on rice paper using bamboo brushes. Her topics include the quirky ways of dogs, the delights and absurdities of love and family, the challenges of growing older, and insights of the heart.
“I’m really excited to show work together with my mom and sister,” she said. “Although we use very different materials and approaches, I think visitors will sense some commonalities. We are all working in ancient, natural mediums, and we all have a simple but elegant aesthetic. Also, my mother and I both like to depict animals, and there is a sense of playful humor in our work; my mother and sister share a love of smooth three-dimensional forms and of the qualities of earth.”
Some of Annette Makino’s haiku greeting cards are available locally at Mendocino Book Company and the Ukiah Co-op. There is an online gallery of her work at www.makinostudios.com.
Erika Makino, 84, has always encouraged her three daughters to make art. A third daughter, Yuri Makino, is also a creative professional. She is an independent filmmaker and professor of film production at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Letter: Calendar of the Early Years
The New York Times
January 28, 2013
To the Editor:
Re “The Last Calendar” (Op-Ed, Jan. 23):
I appreciated Olivia Judson’s article about the calendar of notes she and her brother kept as their father declined. I immediately thought of the calendars I have been keeping since my children were born.
Over the years, I have jotted down not only first steps and lost teeth but also quotes that provide a window into a child’s unique way of thinking. Here is my daughter, then 4, telling her baby brother, “I love you even though you don’t have any teeth to hold your tongue in place.” And here is my son, at 3, asking, “I’m getting to be mini-sized big, right, Mom?”
Memory can be as fleeting as childhood itself. Like Ms. Judson’s “last calendar,” these “first calendars” tell a rich story that would otherwise be lost.
Arcata, Calif., Jan. 23, 2013
A version of this letter appeared in print on January 28, 2013, on page A16 of the New York edition with the headline: Calendar of the Early Years.
Creativity abounds at Humboldt Artisans Festival
November 29, 2012 (excerpted)
EUREKA — Artists and craftspeople are racing to put the final touches on their wares for Humboldt County’s biggest holiday fair, opening at Redwood Acres at noon on Friday.
Now in its 32nd year, the three-day Humboldt Artisans Crafts and Music Festival features unique, handcrafted gifts, live music, food and holiday cheer.
The HumArts fair is open Friday from noon to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
More than 120 artisans from Humboldt County and beyond, including woodworkers, sculptors, jewelers, potters, painters, knitters and more, will share their work at the fair. Local musicians will provide live music on five stages, while hot food and drink will be available for sale. Some 8,000 visitors are expected at this festive three-day event.
”The HumArts festival has always been one of my favorite places to find holiday gifts for people, since everything is local and handmade,” said Arcata-based haiku poet and artist Annette Makino. This will be her second year as a vendor at the fair, where her Makino Studios booth will offer Japanese-inspired paintings, prints, cards, T-shirts and handmade books of her haiku art.
A river of creativity
Artist shows new haiku paintings at North Country Fair
September 23, 2012
ARCATA — Every summer, Annette Makino and her husband and children spend a week or two on the Klamath River near Orleans. They typically fill their lazy days with swimming, picking berries, hunting for toads and watching shooting stars.
But three summers ago, Makino added a new twist to this vacation routine: She began writing haiku and illustrating her poems with Japanese ink paintings. Naturally, her riverside experiences found their way into her work.
“The gift of writing haiku and painting is that you are compelled to look deeply at the world around you,” said Makino. “When I’m at the river, the unstructured days and the gorgeous, peaceful surroundings allow me to really open my eyes and heart and let creativity flow through me.”
With fall in the air, the Arcata-based artist is ready to share her harvest of 21 new artworks, many emerging from her time on the river this summer.
She will be exhibiting these paintings for the first time at the North Country Fair on the Arcata Plaza this weekend.
Here are two of Makino’s river-inspired haiku:
sparks rise through darkness
to join the stars
Makino’s latest series of intimate 5-inch-by-7-inch pieces is painted on textured card stock with bamboo brushes. She uses sumi ink and Japanese gansai paint, a mineral-based paint similar to watercolors.
“This collection is inspired by the Japanese tradition of etegami, painting postcards to mail to friends,” Makino said. “In this custom, the subject of each card is usually a simple object from daily life, and a few words are added.”
The two-day North Country Fair is held on the Arcata Plaza and features some 200 craft and food booths as well as two parades and two stages for live music. The fair runs Saturday and Sunday, September 15 and 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Makino Studios booth can be found near the corner of 9th and G streets by Hot Knots. In addition to showing her original paintings, Makino will debut a collection of eight brand-new card designs. She will also offer signed prints, handmade books and t-shirts featuring her haiku and art.
Fourteen stores around Humboldt County carry selections of Makino’s haiku greeting cards, and her art is also available online. For more information about Makino’s work, see www.makinostudios.com or call 707-362-6644. For more information about the North Country Fair, see www.sameoldpeople.org or call 707-822-5320.
Ink, Brush, Paper
Annette Makino Showcases New Haiku Ink Paintings
May 30, 2012
ARCATA – Whether in the shower, picking up kids, or walking the dog, Annette Makino manages to write a haiku every day. Using sumi ink and rice paper, the Arcata-based writer and artist then makes Japanese ink paintings that deepen the meaning of these poems.
Some of her pieces capture fleeting moments. A painting of a flowering cherry branch includes this haiku:
cherry trees let loose
swirls of confetti
Other pieces use gentle humor to illuminate personal experiences. An ink painting of a baby trailing an umbilical cord is joined by these words:
my baby’s navel
once connected us, but now
she wants to pierce it
Makino is opening her art studio to the public for the first time on Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3 as part of North Coast Open Studios. Her peaceful studio in the redwoods will only be open during the first weekend of Open Studios, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
In addition to Makino’s playful “Haiku for Dog Lovers” series, new paintings will be on view.
Visitors may examine Makino’s traditional Japanese artist tools, including bamboo brushes, ink stones for grinding ink, rice papers and carved artist’s seals. She will also offer greeting cards, signed prints, handmade books and t-shirts for sale.
Makino Studios is located ten minutes’ drive from the Arcata Plaza, between Arcata and Blue Lake. Visitors should take the Essex Lane exit from State Route 299 and then follow the signs to 65 Kara Lane. Makino also has an online gallery at makinostudios.com. (707) 362-6644.
‘Haiku for Dog Lovers’
Playful art shows how ‘True Love Comes on Paws’
September 23, 2011
EUREKA — They shed and slobber, they bring in fleas, they run up vet bills—and unlike children, they will never grow up to take care of us in our old age. Why do we love our dogs so?
Arcata-based poet and artist Annette Makino explores this question in a new collection of humorous Japanese ink paintings and haiku called “True Love Comes on Paws: Haiku for Dog Lovers.”
These works are part of Makino’s first solo show, opening during Arts Alive! on Oct. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Old Town Jewelers, 311 F Street (next door to Mazzotti’s).
The artist will be on hand during the reception and the show will be up through the end of October.
The dog collection takes its name from one of Makino’s poems:
Long walks on the beach
Adoring, soulful gazes—
True love comes on paws.
Makino’s exhibition will also include selected works from her series titled, “Aha! Haiku Insights.” This series draws from Makino’s quiet Zen perspective and gentle humor. A simple ink painting of an oval mirror illustrates the following haiku:
Of each new wrinkle and gray hair:
Rejoice! You’re still here.
Makino began writing haiku and a more humorous, informal form called senryu just over a year ago. She soon began painting images to reflect and enrich the meaning of her poems using sumi ink and watercolors on rice paper. Her work can be seen online at www.makinostudios.com.
A prayer for Japan
Local artist and haiku poet reaches out through her art
March 25, 2011
When she was a girl, Annette Makino spent several months living in Japan with her Japanese grandparents. So when the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck the coast of Japan two weeks ago, she felt it personally.
Makino, an Arcata-based poet and artist, was moved to express her sorrow for the people of Japan through her art. The resulting piece is a prayer in the form of a haiku, illustrated with Makino’s Japanese ink painting:
May a thousand cranes
Spread their wings over Japan
Bringing hope and healing.
“My heart breaks for the countless people who have lost their family and friends, their homes, their livelihoods and everything they once knew,” said Makino. “This piece is my prayer for the Japanese people – although they have lost everything, I wish them hope for a better future.”
She explains that the crane can symbolize many things in Japanese culture, including good fortune and longevity. But for her piece, “Prayer for Japan,” she was focused on the story of Sadako, a girl who contracted leukemia following the bombing of Hiroshima. Sadako hoped that if she folded a thousand origami cranes, she would live. Since then, the crane has come to symbolize peace and hope.
Makino has been writing and making art most of her life, but she just started writing haiku and a related form called senryu last summer, when her friend, local artist Amy Uyeki, gave her a book of senryu written by Amy’s Japanese grandmother and illustrated with Amy’s art.
“I discovered this whole new way of writing, where you take an experience from everyday life and strip down and down and down until you get to the essence of things,” said Makino. “It’s a challenge to figure out how to communicate your meaning in just 17 syllables, but when it works, it’s powerful.”
Haiku and senryu share the same structure: Typically, five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line and five syllables in the third, although modern poets often deviate from this form. Haiku are traditionally focused on nature and the seasons, while senryu focus on human nature and are often wry or funny.
An example of Makino’s art illustrates her gentle sense of humor. A dog sits in front of a rain-streaked window, with this poem:
A dark, rain-lashed day
Even the dog won’t go out
He’ll hold it till spring.
In Japanese tradition, haiku are often accompanied by haiga, artwork that complements the words. Once she started writing haiku and senryu, Makino began illustrating her poems with haiga using the traditional Japanese technique of sumi ink painted on rice paper with bamboo brushes.
Makino has just launched a website featuring her Japanese-inspired poems and art atwww.makinostudios.com, with pieces on topics as timeless as the dance between bees and flowers, and as modern as her daughter’s desire to pierce her navel. Makino Studios offers originals and prints of the artist’s work as well as custom pieces created for life passages such as births, weddings and birthdays.
The site also hosts Makino’s new blog, Drawing Breath. In the post accompanying her “Prayer for Japan,” Makino describes her grandparents’ home:
“In my mind’s eye I can still see the traditional gate at the entrance, immensely tall to my 8-year-old eyes,” she writes. “And though Takasaki is not near the sea, I can picture a giant tsunami wave washing over that gate and sweeping through the house, destroying those delicate rice paper screens and everything else.”
Makino has a Japanese father and a Swiss-German mother, and has lived in Europe as well as Japan. She comes to her work with 30 years of experience in writing and graphic design as a communications and outreach specialist for nonprofit organizations, most recently for Internews in Arcata. She has a degree in international relations from Stanford University and has studied drawing, painting and graphic design at Humboldt State University.
On her website Makino writes, “My goal as a writer and artist is to create poems and images that remind us of deeper truths – that there is richness and beauty in imperfection; that the quality of attention we pay every moment determines the quality of our lives; and that through our individual experiences, we can touch on the universal, and remember that we are all connected.”