Many years ago, I went to Japan where I taught English at a summer camp. I asked the students to translate a Japanese folk story into English which I edited and illustrated. I planned to give each of them a copy of “our book”. Luckily, I hadn’t told them, because I am the Queen of Unfinished Projects, and I lost touch with them before I finished. Actually, I still haven’t printed these phantom books. But that is another story for another day.
I used ukiyo-e images from the past as reference material for my illustrations. Those great old masters of Japanese art included Hokusai, Hiroshige, Kunisada, Sharuku, Utamaro and several others. In fact, as long as they’d been dead for over a hundred years, they were Artist Of Interest to me. Anyhow, I had this Unfinished Project in my studio, and every so often it appeared just to remind me it was still there. It was a shame to have this great project and not publish it, and I thought about how to finish it. Thought about it a lot. Then one day, when I was in the shower, where I get most of my best ideas, I felt inspired to start a new project! I would combine these images with a new story, and that new story was yet another combination! I know that at this stage it sounds like Procrastination, a discipline in which I have an Advanced Diploma. But I’m getting off the track, so back to the story which amused me greatly. I’m often amused by my own thoughts and I wonder if other people also go there in their own heads.
Hmmm…..Probably not. But on the other hand, maybe.
Yes, back to the story. Here it is. Two Japanese families from the Edo Period (1603- 1868) come to contemporary Australia for a holiday where they try camping in a caravan. They are the Hokusai Family and the Hiroshige Family. The two women are sisters. Mrs Hokusai has a baby, and Mrs Hiroshige is a marine biology student on an exchange program for one semester. They find contemporary Australia quite different to what they are accustomed to. The story is set in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. They camp at Clarke’s Beach in Byron Bay, visit Ballina where they make a trip to see The Big Prawn, take the rainbow bus to visit Nimbin while Mrs Hiroshige is involved in student life at the Lismore campus of Southern Cross University. They try new food and experience life in a way they weren’t quite expecting.
I think I have drawn eight illustrations in this gentle adventure, and there are more on the drawing board. Some of them made their way into an art exhibition, and as I finish each one, I upload it to Redbubble so that other people can enjoy the Hokusai Family Holiday. (I don’t know why I called it that when the reason they are here is for Mrs Hiroshige’s exchange student studies!)
Will I ever finish this project? That is the million dollar question, isn’t it. More to the point, can I remain the Queen of Unfinished Projects if I actually DO finish?
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