Natasha Norman Visual Artist


The blossoms in Japan are quite possibility the most ridiculously beautiful natural event I’ve ever witnessed. Linear winter trees are suddenly covered in white, pale pink or sometimes bright pink fluff like they’ve been spun in cotton candy-floss. Beneath their bows slips of confetti shake free in a gentle breeze. It’s magical.

I sneaked out of class time today for an extended lunch break with my sketchbook, headphones, ink and brush to wonder through the Fuji View Hotel’s incredible garden of blossoming trees. I shared the experience with a busload of Japanese tourists. I’ve finally managed to shake the Western habit of waving at people and now nod or bow slightly in greeting. Through the hotel and down by the lake I found a sort of grove that I settled in to draw for an hour. The Japanese are so polite that I was quite undisturbed. The odd pedestrian made the effort to walk around me so as not to disrupt my gaze.

Some fishermen sat in the shallows of the lake to catch, what I presume would be, a kind of carp. Behind them in a shallower reed bed was a lot of activity. Some kind of fish (perhaps a catfish?) in only half a foot of water, was thrashing around the reeds, feeding on something. Their fins stood clear of the water in most places but failed to attract the attention of the fishermen. As I watched the scene an eerily pale yellow koi fish swam next to the shoreline like a mythical moon spirit.

My prints have been more successful than I had dreamed possible at this stage of the workshop. The bleeding inks and bokashi moments are nicely timed in my image of Fujikawaguchiko lake’s surface at dusk.