Thursday, October 31, 2019


These temple lamps surround the Hokkaido Shrine in Maruyama Park, Sapparo. We stayed only one night in Sapparo but found the city interesting and diverse. The Hokkaido Shrine was spectacular and I could have spent days there working on paintings.


In this study, I zoomed in on the swan since it was so close and did a head study. The marking on the beak are unique to each bird and can be used to identify individuals. Like most of these studies, this one is also 5" x 7".

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Travelling South by train, we spent a day on the shores of Lake Utonai which supports a wealth of birds. After an amazing lunch of tempura and sashimi over rice in the visitor center cafeteria, we headed towards the lake shore. Whooper swans were the first to be spotted and so tame that one could approach them closely. There were also many geese on the lake, both Bean and Greater White-fronted along with various duck and a single Mute Swan. An Eastern Marsh Harrier made a brief appearance but soon drifted away. There were hiking paths around most of the lakeside which also went through some decent woodland where we found a few other birds including thrushes and warblers etc. All in all, a very enjoyable place to visit - must be fantastic in Winter.
I finished this watercolor study of a Whooper swan seen resting on the lake shore in our hotel room that evening - size is about 5" x 7".


Still within the grounds of the hotel, I saw this back-lit evergreen tree and tried to capture the effect of the sunlit leaves against the shadowed background. This one was done on day 2 and throughout the trip, I tried to finish a watercolor study every day. It was early fall in Hokkaido and some of the trees had wonderful colors. In Tomaro, we were surrounded by open fields and mountains so a perfect spot for an artist really. We took many photographs and saw some amazing sights!


We just returned from a wonderful trip to Japan (with a stay-over in Hong Kong). After getting over jet-lag for a few days, we flew to Hokkaido with our nephew Eric and his wife Carmen who (along with Carmen's sister) kindly organised this part of our Japan trip. We first stayed in Tomaro for a few days and I managed to complete a few paintings there. The study above was done just outside our hotel and I tried to capture the morning light flooding across the scene. Beech Trees At Tomaro is in watercolor - size is 7" x 5".