Fine Wind, Clear Morning

 

Katsushika Hokusai – Fine Wind, Clear Morning (Gaifū kaisei)

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.

 

 

19 Comments

  1. Resa

    A fabulous image, Rebecca.
    “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.” is probably not enough to express the majestic beauty of this peak.
    Katsushika Hokusai seems to have known what he was doing.

    1. Clanmother

      He certainly does, Resa! Have you noticed how we are connected through the centuries by artistic endeavour which is seen in our poetry, music, art. Humanity strives to reach the next level and in so doing, inspires those who follow. One generation gives to the next. I find that comforting as well as a caveat to participate – we do not live only for our time, but for all times.

    1. Clanmother

      Danke Ernst Ich schätze Ihre Besuche. Ich war mit der Arbeit beschäftigt und gehe langsam zurück zum Blogging. Alles Gute für Sie auf Ihren Reisen. Pass auf dich auf, Rebecca

  2. Christy B

    Art can be such a personal experience and I love that looking at it opens up new worlds to us! I enjoyed reading your reflections on Katsushika Hokusai’s interpretation, Rebecca. You’re an artistic lover and I am grateful for your friendship ❤

    1. Clanmother

      We are on a grand adventure, are we not, Christy? Our ability to connect with the past is based on the artistic endeavours that have been left by those who went before us. Their legacy prompts us to follow their lead. Whatever we create, whether in words, deeds, music, dance or art, will define our generation. May we remember that what we accomplish is not only for our personal enjoyment; rather, it is our contribution to the narrative of humanity.

    1. Clanmother

      The more I learn about creative endeavour, the more I realize that we must engage. We all have a creative spirit; only when we embrace the whole of that inner source of energy will we be able to feel fully and completely alive. As Emile Zola once wrote: “If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.”

  3. Gallivanta

    ‘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.’ I don’t fully identify with these art works but I find them extraordinary…..https://www.canterburymuseum.com/whats-on/perseverance-japanese-tattoo-tradition-in-a-modern-world/ And to think the Edo period still affects our sensibilities!

    1. Clanmother

      I agree. It is remarkable that we continue to be influenced by Japanese art and literature. I am glad that we live in a global community that allows us to explore and celebrate many forms of artistic endeavour. “Fine Wind, Clear Morning” prompted me to look at the different forms of Japanese poetry. Tanka, Renga, Renku, and Uta-awase and Haiku. I feel I’m going down a marvelous rabbit hole, that leads from one idea to another and another and another. Thank you so much for the link – you always find the more interesting stories. Many hugs!!!

    1. Clanmother

      Sending many hugs and love back your way. I find that there is clarity of vision in Hokusai’s artwork. What gave me a better understanding of his work was when I completed a mini research into Basho Matsuo, the most famous poet of the Edo Period. Here is one of my favorites, which resonates over time and through translations: “The moon and sun are travelers through eternity. Even the years wander on. Whether driving through life on a boat or climbing toward old age leading a horse, each day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” Basho Matsuo

  4. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    Thank you for this beautiful testimony of what it’s like to view art – and be connected with the artist…

    From ‘a living artist’ – there have been times when I was fortunate to witness someone’s reaction to my work — and I was humbled and sobered that what flowed out of my soul and onto the paper had such an obvious and profound effect. One lovely young woman recently saw an apartment I’d helped to give a makeover, and she did an online search to find me, wrote and said that she hoped to meet me before she left the country… when we met, she said, ‘the minute i saw your work i thought, ‘I have to meet this person…'”

    It’s a bit like looking in a mirror and not really seeing what other people see… we are grateful to people like you – and like lovely Mishelle, who take the time to tell us what it’s like to view art.

    You help keep us productive and energized. Thank you!

    1. Clanmother

      Your comments reminded me of Joseph Campbell’s thought, “Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are the artist of one kind or another.” Thank you for sharing your creative spirit with our community. There is a profound connection through art which cannot be quantified; an unspoken understanding that transcends words and goes to the innermost part of our being. Our subconscious responds even before our logical mind recognizes the connection. I understand completely when the young woman, Michelle, was determined to meet you. Art brings kindred spirits together. Many hugs and many thanks for your comments. You inspire me to keep “chasingart.”

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