I’m in Japan for the 25th anniversary of the Aichi branch of my karate school – more on that later. But I wanted to bring the head instructor here a small gift.
I occasionally play around with Japanese calligraphy; I have no skill or instruction, but it’s fun. I’ve given a few pieces as gifts. To give one of my kindergarten scrawls to someone in Japan would be really cheeky — unless, I thought, I could do something interesting with it.
A rule for art: if you don’t have technique, have a fresh and creative approach.I had the idea of taking a wide brush and loading different colors of paint along it, using a palate knife. This gave an interesting rainbow effect. The first one came out a little too dark, but the second effort had a pleasing burst of color to it, I thought. So I matted it, and had my students sign the mat. I gave it to our chief instructor as a little remembrance of his friends in Maryland. In the middle of a party, he didn’t get the chance to unwrap it so I don’t know how it was received, but I think the point was made. When making art as a gift, it is the thought that counts.
It says “Omedeto” – “Congratulations.” The word is usually written in hiragana, one of the two phonetic scripts used in Japanese, as opposed to kanji, the Chinese ideograms.