Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Miss Lara and the Yatates-SOLD

"Lara and the Yatates"

8" x 10"
ink on Bristol vellum

Yatates are wonderful Japanese traveling paint kits--they have been in use for well over 400 years, and were part of a Samurai's basic equipment. Yatates come in many shapes and sizes--I have four in my collection, all thought to be Edo-era, 1603-1868. They are FUN to use in the field! Mine were all quite inexpensive, considering, and are made of brass and copper--virtually indestructible, though I DID panic when I left one of them in a restaurant in the next town! They had no idea what it was, but they kept it safe in the office till we could get back over and retrieve it.

There is ink-saturated cotton, silk or sponge in the bowl, and the hollow handle holds a brush for writing or drawing in the Sumi-e style.

Here's a photo of the same two yatates...lovely, aren't they?


detail from the ink painting above

It just seemed right somehow to use the Sumi-e brush and paint without preliminary drawing with pencil, as the Samurai might have done. I do find I tend to hold my breath a lot when I work that way, though!

Brushes of this sort often come to a lovely point so they are good for drawing, writing, or painting...I just paid close attention to shapes and relationships as I worked, using the tip of the brush for lines and details, and the body of it for Miss Lara and the soft gray shadows.

I diluted the ink with water for the halftone grays on the yatates, but left it full strength for our beautiful black cat, Lara. (She was named after the heroine in Dr. Zhivago, since she too was shot and thrown into a snowbank to die. My husband's daughter found her, rescued her and brought her back to health.)


Most of the paintings offered here are unmatted and unframed, both to save on shipping charges and to allow you to suit your own taste and decor.

Doing so allows me to keep the prices down
and puts original art in the hands of more people!


SOLD, and thank you so much!



  1. this has gone straight to my heart on so many levels. thank you so much for the history and fine work.

  2. Your site is bright and easy to read. I like it
    and I do appreciate your taking the time to do the tutorials, they're very helpful. This portrait of Lara may be my newest favorite of all your work!

  3. Glad you like it, MaryO! I was happy with that portrait, too--you KNOW how hard it is to capture a black cat on paper...

  4. I like the clean and clear design! And the painting of the two of your many interests :)

  5. Thank you, Nina...I really like working in ink, and thought it worked especially well here.

  6. Lara's story is similar to that of my former cat, Peacuddles. We found out she had been shot with 56 BB's during her time as a stray kitty, when we had her face x-rayed for a tooth problem. I was mortified! We lost her in 2007 after 16 wonderful years as our "child". She was black, too, with a white bib and white markings on her face. On one side she looked like she had a smile painted on.

    I love your blog and read it often. I hope to be half as good as you are someday...

  7. Thank you, Lynn! And I'm so glad you found Peacuddles and gave her a good home! People who shoot small animals simply because they can deserve no more than they give.


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