Do I really need a blog when there are so many out there already? That’s what I asked myself when I first had the idea of designing a website of my own.
On the other hand I often stumble on small nuggets of knowledge that I’d like to share with others. Admittedly they’re usually quite useless (unless they come up in the last round of one of those ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ shows. If that ever happens to you and you win, let me know!), but if I find them interesting, so might my readers.
Also I think it’s difficult to find good books out there – although people’s definition of ‘good’ varies of course – so I’d like to recommend the occasional read every now and again. Anyway, I decided to give it a try and I hope that you’ll find it interesting. Only be warned that this will probably be quite an irregular blog!
Well, and since this is the very first post, I thought I’d write something about Katsushika Hokusai, the artist who did the paining of the hawk I’m using in my banner (you can see the full picture here). You might wonder why I chose a hawk: it is because Medyr, the protagonist in my first original story, comes from a family that calls itself ‘The Hawks of Aneirion’. So when by chance I stumbled upon this beautiful picture I knew I had to have it on my website. I love the fine detail of the feathers (and as it happens, feathers matter to Medyr, but that’s another story).
But back to Hokusai. He lived in Japan during the Edo period, when Japan more or less closed itself off to all foreign influence, and his most famous work is ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’.
There are several stories told about Hokusai, but the one I like the best runs like this: he was invited by the ruling Shogun Iyenari to compete against another artist who painted in the traditional Chinese brushstroke style. This was an unusual request, since Hokusai was a painter of the Ukiyo-e genre, whose subjects usually consist of the courtesans and Kabuki actors of the ‘floating world’. However, unimpressed by the honour done him, Hokusai simply painted a blue wave on a piece of paper and then chased a chicken across, whose feet he had dipped in red paint. To the astonished shogun he explained that his painting showed the Tatsuta River in autumn with maple leaves floating down the water, whereupon he was declared the winner. I wonder what the other artist, who had probably barely begun his own work, thought of it, but I have to say, I love the idea of this scene!