Greetings my Friend!
I am happy to share my latest woodblock print of gingko leaves, entitled Gold. I chose the title even before I made the image because of what it meant to me. The title and image both serve as metaphors about autumn – the season of harvest, fruition, merit, and reward.
Gold is the fourth in my Japanese Garden series, where I have created narratives about the seasons of life. I believe that autumn is like old age, the time of life for reaping the fruits of one’s efforts.
Autumn is the most beautiful season in the lifespan of a leaf, its old age. Though we live in an ageist society – even I am guilty of it and have to catch myself – I remind myself that in my older age, I will probably do my best work, be my best self, and like a golden gingko leaf in autumn, perhaps be my prettiest self too.
In addition to other projects, I have been working on this Japanese Garden series for over three years. I had a vision for a four seasons portfolio from the beginning but after I made the first image Blanket, the snowy zen rock garden, I started to think about things differently.
The title Blanket itself influenced my project. I began working on a haiku poem while imagining scenes of a Japanese garden and thinking about the seasons of our lives. A haiku poem is typically three lines – five, seven, five syllables in length. With a little help from my poet friends along the way, here is my Seasons haiku:
The title Blanket fit perfectly with the image of softly draped snow, and with the concept of swaddling a young child. Most people probably don’t think of winter as being the beginning of life, but it works for me! A lot needs to happen before we can go out into the world, unprotected from our nurturing family, our symbolic winter’s den.
Blossom represents youth. The rhododendrons are in full bloom and their striking looks demand attention. I’m not sure where the bridge goes, but it is a nice symbol for connecting places and people, and people to each other. Bridges are a common element in Japanese gardens and can symbolize connections between the physical and spiritual worlds.
Tumble represents the fast pace and breakneck speed that adulthood can feel like. I don’t know about you, but I have felt like my adult life was (and still is) as fast as a river tumbling down a cliff. Yet, this hasn’t meant catastrophe. In fact, adulthood can feel like an athletic feat – a tumble with a fantastic recovery. Ta-da!
Back to Gold. It’s harvest season in Michigan, where rolling soybean fields and leaves of exotic gingko trees turn golden in their ripened age. Autumn is a time to soak in the colors and to be grateful for our bounties. Soon, everything will become dormant again and the seasons of life begin all over. Enjoy.
PS All of these images were inspired by the incredible Richard and Helen Devos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thank you.
* Original Woodblock Prints * Guest Lecturer and Instructor * Documentary Film * Note Cards *
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