May 12, 2012

Stunning sunset painting in oil

Yesterday I went to see my friend Michiko Splinter. A Japanese-born life-long oil painter, she has had her art in exhibitions since 1966 (not including juried junior highschool and highschool shows). 

Michiko hadn't been able to pursue her art in the 12 years before she moved to Squamish in 2005 as she dealt with big changes in her life. Here, with the support of her husband, she was able to resume painting inspired by the local environment which began to form the topic of most of her work.

"The beautiful natural surroundings inspired me to paint landscapes, which I had never painted before," says Michiko.

Rekindling her passion, she has been working harder than ever. "Here I am painting almost every day now, that makes me feel very happy and alive," she says.

She always emails me a picture when she completes a new work, and I was looking forward to seeing her latest canvases in person, especially one that was still drying, Rose Violet Sunset. Based on a sunset she saw from her window at home, this has been one of the hardest canvases she has completed to date.

She began working on Rose Violet Sunset nearly five months ago. She especially wanted to capture the purplish pink clouds but no matter how hard she tried, the oil paint didn't obey her commands.

"I wasn't satisfied with the colour. I've repainted it more than 10 times," says Michiko, adding that she ruined two canvases in the process. She almost gave up three times and in the meantime worked on other paintings.

One result was A Moment of Beauty (24X12).

A Moment of Beauty (24X12) - copyright 2012 Michiko Splinter
Yet, she couldn't let it go and kept working and reworking until she had the exact sky she had in mind originally. Finally, after five months and three canvases, she managed to paint the picture she wanted and finished the work this weekend. Here it is:

Rose Violet Sunset (24X12) - copyright 2012 Michiko Splinter
If you think the photo is nice, the painting itself is absolutely stunning, and it might be my favourite among her works yet.

Others she has completed recently include Luminosity, based on a photo she took in Crumpit Woods in Squamish. Another gorgeous painting.

Luminosity (20X16) - copyright by Michiko Splinter
Walking the Trail (20X16) - copyright by Michiko Splinter
Walking the Trail is also based on a photo she took during a hike in Crumpit Woods.

I love Michiko's passion for her art and her continued drive to improve by challenging herself. Her love for painting is what drives her. Her first work sold in Canada now hangs in the Services Canada office in Squamish and she recently sold a sunset painting, Before the Sun Goes Down (14X11).

Before the Sun Goes Down (SOLD) - copyright by Michiko Splinter

While Michiko is thrilled with those sales, selling her work is not what drives her to paint daily.

"I love the moment just thinking about what to do next on my painting. That is one of the happiest moments of my life. Thanks to my husband's support, I'm a happy person to be able to have such a great moment almost every day," says Michiko.

"I also enjoying walking almost every day. I walk over an hour including a little running in between when I feel like it. After painting, walking and a little running, I always feel great."

Michiko exhibits her work locally. You can usually find one of her works at the Squamish Adventure Centre. You can also check out more of her work at her blog and her Facebook page.

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