Creativity and beauty are central to the human spirit. A line of poetry, a few notes of a musical score, the aroma of home-made bread, the vivid colours of a sunset, speak to our emotional need for inspiration. We experience this first hand through the lens of our memories, our current reality, and social awareness. It is a personal interaction, specific to our unique perspective that is difficult, even impossible to convey in words to others, even those closest to us.
My journey to understand art, has led me to a profound conclusion. When we look at a drawing, sculpture or painting, we are witnessing an artist’s intuition and creative vision. Whether we fully identify with the artwork, is unimportant. Rather, our role is to listen to the unspoken message, which is what I did when I viewed “Fine Wind, Clear Morning” by Katsushika Hokusai.
Katsushika Hokusai was a Japanese artist who lived during the Edo period (1760-1849). Another time, another culture, another viewpoint. The only element that connects us is the artwork Katsushika Hokusai left behind. “Fine Wind, Clear Morning” is a woodblock print view of Mount Fuji. I have never seen Mount Fuji except in photos which depict blues skies and a white-capped pristine mountain. Katsushika Hokusai’s interpretation generates an emotive response. The colours, even with the passing of centuries, are clear and vibrant. White clouds and rivulets of melting snow, blue skies, reddish-brown earth suggest a specific time, a season that brings forth a fine wind and a clear morning. Katsushika Hokusai was spellbound by the grandeur of Mount Fuji. Some say he had a personal obsession given the woodblock print series entitled “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.”
I identify with Katsushika Hokusai. When I look out my window at the North Shore Mountains overlooking Vancouver, I am touched by their exquisite splendour. And yet, there is a deeper resonance, one that crosses time and space. It is a universal recognition that humanity belongs to our world of blues skies, brown earth, seasonal changes and time limitations.