typhoon weekend

This weekend was a little unusual, as we waited for news of Typhoon Hagbis and its imminent approach to Toyko. I went to the Japan Folk Crafts Museum, to see the Soetsu Yanagi exhibition and wander in the beautiful rooms, and sketch…

mingeikan sketch.jpg

…and then had a delicious dinner at eatrip, getting there and back in the oncoming typhoon rain!


All day saturday we stayed inside, waiting for the typhoon to pass over us, and I made a cake to relieve the stress. Thankfully we’re all safe here, and I hope the damage hasn’t been too bad elsewhere in Tokyo.


house sign

I painted a number house sign for my friend’s place in London while I was there. It’s in pale blue and brown, on a loose tile from the lovely old building.


I sketched out alternatives for her to choose from, and we decided on this modern-feeling number with a little fun touch on the tail of the number 6.


The renovations of the house are ongoing, but at least the postman knows where to deliver the letters now!

karen house.jpg

London part 3

In my last week in London I managed to fit in quite a lot of things…and even this little sketch of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. All this time in London and I’m not sure I’ve ever drawn this building!

trafalgar square.jpg

I ate some lovely British meals, took the train alot, and enjoyed the turn of the seasons from Summer to the beginning of Autumn.


I spent a wonderful day in central London, first with a meal near Chinatown, where I did this sketch…


…and then watching the marvellous Ian McKellen’s one man show. It was funny, moving, and downright dreamy.

ian mckelen.jpg

And of course I spent time at home with my parents. I love these little vignettes that my mum makes in the house. This is the little window in the toilet, where she puts mini displays of flowers from the garden.


Corfu holiday

Visiting Corfu has been a dream of mine since childhood, as I had read and loved Gerald Durrell’s book My Family and Other Animals. As soon as I arrived I could feel the spell of the island. I loved it instantly. I had taken my copy of the book with me, to read again, and I was inspired to paint some olives into the front…

my book.jpg

I visited some of the famous sites that were mentioned in the book: Kanoni and Mouse island


And we wandered through the beautiful Corfu Town with its fascinating Venetian architecture…

corfu town.jpg

One of my favourite days was when a group of us hired a little boat and went up the coast and found some magical little rocky coves, where we swam in the sparkling turquoise sea. It was truly a dream.


We moored our boat by a little taverna and enjoyed an icecream by the water.


I loved this white church on a tiny spit of land out in a bay. There was a wedding taking place when we sailed past, and I drew it from several angles.

little church.jpg

I stayed in the adorable Hotel Nefeli, and lounged by the pool with friends several afternoons. It looked like a movie set!


I also sketched the incredible view from my balcony, at several different times of the day.


I had thought that maybe this would be my only trip to Corfu, but I loved it so much, I can’t wait to visit again…

Corfu wedding

My friends Anna and Johan had their wedding celebration in Corfu, and I created some illustrations for them (see my previous post for their wedding invitations).

I painted a little heart-shaped watercolour of kumquat branches as the label for their wedding favours, which contained various kumquat (a Corfu speciality) products, and hand-lettered their hummingbird place settings.

anna wedding.jpg

I sketched their blessing, cutting the cake (with firework candles!), the toasts, and even managed to eat and chat too.

anna johan sketch.jpg

I loved watching everyone dancing and having fun. I danced too, but I loved sketching the people more…

wedding sketches.jpg

As a memento, I painted a lovely smooth pebble I found in the sea there for them. Such a wonderful happy time. Congratulations to the beautiful couple!


London drawing day

I spent a wonderful day this week as a guest member of the ‘first wednesday drawing club’. We went to the Rochester Square social space, and explored their ramshackle adorable gardens. There are bones of greenhouses, without any glass, filled with all sorts of vegetable plots and flowers in pots…


I enjoyed working out the complicated structures, but mostly I loved sketching the various plants in the sunshine.

sketch 5.jpg

These nasturtiums were glowing and golden and the shapes of the leaves were so fascinating.


I drew in a shady ivy-covered nook, and then one of the girls having her lunch…


I finished the day with this last sketch of the overhead beams and the vines growing up over them.


It was wonderful to end the day with a show-and-tell with the other sketchers, and see how the space had inspired everyone in different ways. I really should spend more time focussing on drawing!



I’ve just arrived in London, at the end of an English summer, enjoying the garden in the morning sunshine…


San Francisco

This week I’ve been out and about in San Francisco, relishing the ever-wonderful California weather. The days are warm and the evenings balmy…

the moon.jpg

I went to the post office in San Mateo to see their wonderful mural, travelled on the Muni along the Bay front, and looked at my favourite neon sign…

the bay.jpg

When I visited Oakland, I took this photo, and later realised it looked like one of Robert Bechtle’s photorealistic paintings of the Bay Area.


As always, California sunshine makes me feel happy!

summer holiday - part 2

After the cool breezes of Koya san, we travelled north to Higashi Yoshino, a small community along a river valley in rural Nara prefecture. It was perfect: quiet and beautiful. Our airbnb was perched next to a clear babbling river, where we could swim every day…


It was the ideal hot Japan summer. We visited waterfalls and ate kakigori and napped on the tatami.

It was so restful for my mind, and I was inspired to draw the ceramics in our house. I thought of many ideas for upcoming projects too…

blue adn white.jpg

The water in the river was clear and cold, and perfect for paddling and floating all afternoon. I haven’t seen water like that for a very long time. It was like a deream…

summer holiday - part 1

To escape the Tokyo heat, we went to Wakayama, to visit the sacred site of Koya san, on top of a mountain. It was wonderfully cool there, with fresh mountain air, and cool breezes.


For over 1200 years there have been temples here, and it’s now a World Heritage site. The train and cable car ride to get there was wonderful, through lush mountain valleys…

koya san.jpg

We stayed in a temple lodging, and wandered through the woods and around the various temple complexes.


My favourite was Kongobu-ji, with an incredible rock garden that represented two dragons rising from the clouds, Banryutei.

I sketched the temples, the forest with its glorious cedar trees, and the garden of the temple where we stayed.


It was a fascinating place to visit, and a lovely start to the summer holidays…

COPE - Floods

I’m back in Tokyo, dealing with the extreme heat and humidity, working on finishing the the latest COPE book FLOODS! I’ve almost completed it, and here’s a sneak peak at the COPE kids in their wet-weather gear…

cope sneak peak.jpg

As soon as the book’s finished I’ll let you know!

Kansas + Colorado

I’ve just driven all the way across Kansas and into Colorado with some friends. The wide prairies of the Heartland of America with its huge skies were so incredible!

We broke our trip in the tiny town of Hays, and had a tasty lunch and a wander. These views made me feel like I was in a movie…


The clouds darkened when we approached Denver, and then there was a rainbow waiting for us. I could only spend a day there, and then it was on again, back to San Francisco and now Tokyo…

prairie 1.jpg

wood + paper + box Kansas

This week I’ve been in Kansas, visiting my friends Yoonmi Nam and Katie Baldwin, my collaborative partners in wood + paper + box. We’ve been commissioned to create the gift print for the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art in Manhattan, Kansas, and as part of that, we will have an exhibition there in early 2021. We went to visit to check out the gallery where we will be showing our work, and discuss the progress of the new project.

beach museum.jpg

I love the wide open spaces in Kansas, there’s something magical about them, and we passed many fields of corn and meadows full of wildflowers…

Screenshot 2019-07-26 at 3.37.42 PM.png

San Francisco

I was in San Francisco for a week, enjoying the sunshine, working, and visiting friends. It was hectic but productive, and I finally got a new laptop so everything is going better!


I loved the big skies that are definately different than in Japan.

Screenshot 2019-07-26 at 12.40.11 PM.png

The waves and sea air by the coast were a wonderful restorative from weeks of intense work. My little sketch wasn’t great, but it felt good to paint again.


This burger is the result of 4am jetlag, and oh it was tasty!


I was so happy to join my friends Courtney and Mike for an evening of pizza and sketching. We painted lanterns and had a lovely relaxing time. These free-time sketches really help me to loosen up and experiment.

Screenshot 2019-07-26 at 12.39.36 PM.png

I love the trees on El Camino Real on the peninsula, especially at this time of the day. There’s something magical about it, and I can’t wait to be back to see it again soon…

mokuhanga exhibition

My mokuhanga residency has finally come to an end, and I’m back in Tokyo. We put up a show this weekend, at the CfSHE Gallery at 3331 Arts Chiyoda, of the works we all made during the residency. It’ll be up for a week, and I do hope you’ll pop by if you can. Here are my blue and pink vases.


Thanks to everyone who came to our opening reception on saturday. It was a great night!


Below is all the info for visiting.


CfSHE Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition by the Mokuhanga Artists with works from MI-LAB Residency "Upper Advanced program".

Whether Black and White or hues of Indigo, Magenta or Lemon Yellow, Mokuhanga is an ideal process to explore Light and Shade in Positive and Negative Compositions.

The work in this exhibition reflects this concept through the unique approaches of seven artists, Katie Baldwin, Patty Hudak, Mariko Jesse, Kate MacDonagh, Yoonmi Nam, Lucy May Schofield, and Melissa Schulenberg.

 ■ Exhibition Date: From July 6 to 13, 2019  *Closed on Tuesday the 9th
 ■ Opening hours:   From July 7 to 13 except Tuesday; 12 - 5 p.m.
■ Venue: CfSHE Gallery - B109, 3331 Arts Chiyoda, Soto-Kanda 6-11-14, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

For more info and the press release, please visit our website. 

本展覧会は当ギャラリーが取り組む Contemporary Mokuhanga という伝統木版・創作版画の枠を超えた国際的な標題の下で開催します。

CfSHE(シー•エフ•シー) ギャラリー
アーツ千代田3331 B109
Tel. 050-3304-9001  Fax. 03-3234-6789
web: http://endeavor.or.jp/mi-lab/jp/
e-mail: infodesk@endeavor.or.jp

mokuhanga residency week 4

I’m working hard every day on my residency, making prints and learning new techniques. At the moment, we’re making byoubu - Japanese folding screens. Hopefully it works out well and I can show a picture of it next week! In the meanwhile, here are some of my finished prints:

Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 9.22.50 PM.png

I made this new flower, to go with my peony print, and am thinking of starting a floral collection. I also reprinted the peony, this time in a bright, rich red, using pigment for the first time…

Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 9.22.43 PM.png

I even had a little time to print a few postcards for friends!

Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 9.22.36 PM.png

mokuhanga residency week 3

For the last few weeks I’ve been learning all sorts of marvellous new things in the mokuhanga residency I’m attending. I’ve been working on several new prints, and here are some process shots of how I carved my bird vase print. I really enjoyed this process as I managed to capture the feeling of my original line drawing. I think my carving is improving!

vase carving.jpg

Here’s the reverse of the block, with the flat colour area being carved out, and a test print for the layer in a bokashi blue.

flat layer.jpg

And here’s the final print with all the elements in place…

blue test.jpg

I’m working on various editions of this print in a variety of colours. Will show them soon!

still we rise auction

Two of my mokuhanga prints are available as a pair in the @_stillwerise auction. It’s raising money for several charities I support, and it would be wonderful if you’d like to bid on them (or any of the other wonderful things available)! Direct link to my pieces here.


Help us help women everywhere! More info about the auction and the charites here.

mokuhanga residency

This week I’ve been in Kawaguchiko at the MI-LAB mokuhanga residency. I’ll be here for 5 weeks, so look forward to many posts about what I’m learning! It’s wonderful to be here with such a lovely group of women artists, living and learning together in a traditional Japanese house.


I’ve started carving several blocks for new prints, using techniques learned from Master Carver Kitamura san, and I already feel like my carving has improved!

carving 1.jpg

Maybe by next weekend I’ll have some prints to show! Back to the studio now…

into the fold

For the final installation of the collaborative mokuhanga group show into the fold, we are showing all the artworks in the CfShe gallery at 3331 Arts Chiyoda in Tokyo. I’m showing my folded piece into the garden, along with its printed enclosure,


and also my two smaller peony prints.

blur peony.jpg

The show also features the work of Katie Baldwin, Yoonmi Nam, Mia O, Fuko Ito and Sarah Hulsey.


It will be up for almost a month, so I do hope you’ll be able to see it!


There is more information in my news section if you need it!