Hanami                                  David Shulkin

In this gallery you will find representations of Japanese cherry blossoms illustrated from as far back to the 17th century to more recent times of the 20th century. Cherry blossoms have been significant in the Japanese culture for centuries because they represent how fragile yet beautiful life actually is. All artworks have been created with ink on paper and are all very traditional.

In this illustration here we see a cherry blossom and weeping willow decaying. The coloration of this work is dull and uninviting. At times it may even make you feel sad. The artist has illustrated that the tree is ending its short life for the season. To convey even more sadness, the artist has left a lot of open space to show emptiness. It seems as though something missing. In cultural aspect this painting is reflecting how short life is and to grasp it while you have it.
The drooping cherry blossoms are in full bloom where they are most appreciated. Elegantly showing themselves off; the flowers in full bloom represent the most beautiful parts of life, but also how short lived life and the moments in life are. The artwork itself may not be full of color; nor does it convey any darkness or sadness, but its main focus is of the cherry blossom in full bloom.
Hanami is the viewing of cherry blossoms. In Japanese culture the people gather around together and have a picnic party with friends and family to enjoy these exquisite fully bloomed cherry blossoms. Defined line work is used to create the rolling hills in the background. The hills taking up what would have had a lot of negative space create the feeling of fullness. The grass is made of very thin lines to create detail and the appearance of depth. Color is sparingly used throughout the illustration. Although the hills do have a green tint to them, they are washed out. The bright color of the blanket user and cherry blossom tree grabs your attention right away.
The wind is blowing hard surrounding the women with cherry blossom tree petals. Her clothing to is being blown. The wind and the tree obviously portrays the image is outside. These characteristics show and give the sensation of movement. The main focus of the image is the women. She is more colorful than anything else in the image. Giving her red coloration she stands out more. Smooth and curved lines are used to give the women her shape. Unlike the lines of the women; the rose petals have thinner lines and are only colored with the natural tint of the paper giving the petals a feel as though they are dead.
The Japanese culture still has the same symbolic meaning and view for cherry blossoms that they had hundreds of years. The reason being for this is because cherry blossoms are very beautiful and when they are in full bloom they last for only about two weeks and start to decay. The artists is conveying that the eternal nature of the flowers are repetitive; they live and die. Then the same cycles repeats yearly. Embracing the season of winter gives them time to regenerate and grow once more again. As time goes on, the people of Japan grow more fond of the trees as they themselves grow older. Each one of the seasons brush strokes progressively lighten. In the fall season (third image on the right) the line is used to create a drooping effect as if the tree is dying. The shading is used to create a foggy cloud. The spring season (last one on the right) has more of an uplifting vibe based on how the lines of the tree are used to create the branches growing upward. The winter season (on the far left)- the brittle decrepit branches are weighed down by the heavy amounts of snow that has fallen on top depicting this image to be heavy. The summer season is showing the cherry blossoms is leaving its prim season. You can tell by how the downward lines create a droop.
Immediately you feel something negative when looking at this image. The emotionless, faceless crows give you the sense of some deep darkness. The only life left in this image are the dying cherry blossom flowers hanging from the tree as though they were hung by a noose. When looking and actually feeling this image I feel despair and sadness like nothing will ever be okay again.
The two fish are surrounded by a few cherry blossoms. The fish look as if they are getting prepared to be eaten. The use of line for the shape of the fish has been organically drawn giving the whole fish a naturalistic and realistic look. The shading where the scales are drawn are illustrated very well with detail and intricacy. Another way to look at this image is the artist could be illustrating fish swimming in water and that the cherry blossoms became loose and fell from the tree on top of the water. It very well may be that if this is the perspective the artist wanted to give, he wanted to show the entire fish rather than just a blurry fish submerged in water.
Cherry blossom tree petals have been collected in a basket made of bamboo. The basket is too full causing the petals to overflow. It seems as though the light green color on the bottom of the image gives the impression that the basket is sitting on a table or somewhere in the grass. The basket may even be portrayed as falling due to how the loose piece of bamboo is hanging in the air and the butterfly is flying. The color placed on the cherry blossoms gives more of a naturalistic and organic look bringing the petals to life showing its texture through color. The outlined strokes of the bamboo shows depth and realism.
The cherry blossoms in this image are quite different from the other images in this gallery. The cherry blossoms are illustrated as origami rather than an actual living tree. The lines of the flowers define its shape. The entire image is illustrated in a unique and unconventional style. The faded yet light green color gives you the impression that everything is laying on a table. On the left side of the flowers you will find symmetry unlike the right side conveying more of an organic look due to their shape.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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