Friday, September 22, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Midori Yoshino

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Midori's painting, "The Equestrian Club in Al Ain" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I had studied painting and drawing for my job as a fashion designer, but it wasn’t something very important to me. Just a tool for my work. I started painting seriously in July, 2007.

A very sad thing happened to a friend of mine. I don’t want to go into details, but thinking about it made me feel I had to start doing what I really wanted to do. My daughter says YOLO. You Only Live Once. I think that is true and I didn’t want to waste my one life.

Art had been a hobby for me, but I was out of practice and needed to re-learn some things. I took a watercolour class at a local university and entered one of my paintings from that class in an Art competition. When I won, I realised that I really had some ability in painting.

The Equestrian Club in Al Ain
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Midori's interview.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I did stop the ‘hobby’ painting when I got married and my daughter, Aki, was born. Since I started it seriously, though, I have never stopped. It takes discipline, but I decided I wanted to paint one piece every day. I have found it really makes me look at the world around me because I have to have something to use as a subject.

Once you start doing that, you see the world in a different way. There are many amazing things happening on the streets and in the markets of a town like Al Ain, many things of quiet beauty, but most people don’t see them because they have other things on their minds. 

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Oils, watercolours, acrylic and water colour pencils.

Al Ain Mall
(click to view)

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I learned oil first, but I felt it was not my medium. We Japanese use watercolour when we are in primary school. We all get used to using it. So watercolour painting is kind of part of our lives for most Japanese and, of course, it has been a big part of our culture. From ancient times, people in Japan have painted on silk or handmade paper with watercolours. Some of this is connected with calligraphy, because we write with a brush also, but there is a long tradition of recording things that are beautiful in nature with watercolours.

I love acrylic as well, though. I do work in it sometimes. The different medium gives me new ideas for how to treat the scene.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring? 

My paintings are usually fairly small. So I want to try something huge.

Blue World
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I’ve been inspired by lots of artists. It is very hard to pick only one, though.

It’s probably Ms Keiko Tanabe. I took her workshop three years ago. It was a plein aire workshop in France. She paints in any situation or conditions, always produces incredible work and her personality is great as well. She has a very warm heart and always cares about other people.

Kanta Harusaki,Yoko Hausaki and  Kenji Aoe are favourites of mine as well.

What does procrastination look like for you?

It looks like cooking a meal for my family, or doing the housework. That’s the only time when I’m not working on art. I teach students at a local university and in my home or theirs. Of course I meet with friends to drink coffee and chat sometimes, but that’s doing something positive, not just avoiding painting. I feel that I’m always busy.

Festival in Yemen
(click to view)

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I don’t need to make time for painting, whenever I want to do it I can, pretty much. I teach watercolour almost every evening but I have enough time in the morning. I can usually just get out of bed and start painting.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

Over the years I’ve become very interested in the work done by ‘invisible’ people. A lot of the ordinary jobs around Al Ain are done by men from the sub-continent, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. They are very hard-working and usually very cheerful and friendly.  I look for them sweeping the streets, repairing the roads, driving taxis and selling fruit and vegetables in the local souks.

I go sketching every day and do simple sketches and simple paintings at the scene which I finish at home. If I don’t have enough time, I take photos.

Yaka Chan
(click to view)

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

I never get bored with painting at all. I look for new things all of the time and I am always really pleased to discover something for the first time.

Whenever I go out, I can find out something to paint. I do sometimes get stuck and have no idea how to finish a piece.  In that case, I leave the painting in the store room and a few days later I take it out and I can usually paint on and finish it with new refreshed mind.

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Everyday I learn from both my work and other people’s as well. Everyday I find out something new, that’s why I can continue painting I think.

What makes you happiest about your art?

When I teach and see the student’s happy face. That is the happiest time for me.

Watercolour is a very flexible medium. It is easy to do even in a bus or on an airplane with a tiny pan paint pallet and a pad of paper on your lap. I would like to spread the idea that watercolour is lots of fun.

Thanks, Midori!

© 2017 Sophie Marine

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