Tag Archives: Basho Haiku


SAN DIEGO AUTUMN FILLS THE LA JOLLA FARMER’S MARKET WITH LOVELY ORANGE PERSIMMONS.  Persimmons have a Calyx top, which can be removed & left to dry.  The dried calyx look like lovely “wooden” flowers.  Persimmons sliced up & put into a spinach salad with dried cranberries make a lovely Autumn salad.  In Japan, persimmons are a well-known Autumn subject for paintings.  The two Japanese brush paintings here are painted by me.  Persimmons an ode to Autumn:  

The village so old

there’s not a single house

without a persimmon tree.

– Basho


Peony flowers practice 6-5-2014 - 4 WATERMARK

Tree Peony Kanji

After it has dropped,

the image of a peony

haunts me.

–       Buson

Japanese brush paintings of tree peony flowers painted on Chinese calligraphy practice paper. This method of painting Peony flowers is with traditional brush painting strokes.

Peony ink sketches 5-2013 WATERMARK

This method of painting Peonies is a “line drawing” technique.  I really like “line drawing” because it is just sketching with a paintbrush in my hand instead of a pencil.  I like how it makes me really look at how the Peony flower lives.  Painting these beautiful flowers “portraits” is a real pleasure.   

It’s always helpful to sketch your painting subject from real life, but if I don’t have live Peony flowers in front of me, I paint from my photos.  These photos were taken of Peony flowers at & purchased from Trader Joe’s.  


 I would like to say here that painting from my photos is different than getting an image off of the internet because when I look at my photos, I’m remembering the moment I was in their prescence, how they smelled, the weather, etc.  This helps me paint as if they are real and not just a photo.  Knowing your painting subject is necessary to paint from your heart. 

One of the things I love about Peonies is that their buds are just round globes of tightly curled flower petals.  I don’t think any other flower has “globes” for buds.    

Peony flowers are heavily perfumed.   They are often painted with butterflies & bees.  Ants love peonies, too!  There are lots of Japanese Haikus about Peonies with butterflies & bees.  Traditional brush paintings of Peony flowers often include these insects.

 Peony practice painting on the left with “ghost” Peony painting on the right.  This was caused by an extra sheet of paper accidentally left under the piece I was painting on. Chinese calligraphy practice paper is very thin & fragile.  It’s a bit annoying to know that I’ve “wasted” a piece of paper, but on the other hand the “ghost” image is very ethereal & lovely.   I’m sure this “ghost” Peony will end up in a collage.

Peony flowers practice 6-5-2014 - 9 WATERMARK

Then the peonies

extinguishing all others…

opened their petals.

–       Kiichi

Peony Sumi Ink Instructions 6-5-2014 WATERMARK

Peony Brush Painting Instructions

The most important things to know about painting Peony flowers is to load your brush with dark ink or color on the tip of the brush, keep the tip of the brush on the inside of the flower petal, paint the flower petals with a “rolling brush motion”, start your flower with a center “cup” & then paint the flower petals around the cup in an irregular shape.  Painting Peony flowers is one of my favorite subjects to paint, but I think that might be because I really love these beauties!


June 2014 Art Journal - Page 69 WATERMARK

I walk into Trader Joe’s & inhale the scent of peony flowers for sale by the door.  It’s that time of year again when I will find excuses to return to shop so I can have the pleasure of inhaling the peony flowers as I enter & exit the store.  I’m going to have to start coming here with a list of things to buy, because the instant I walk up to the front of the store & see the peony flowers, my mind empties of everything.  What did I come here to get?  I wonder if others have this same problem of the flowers making them forget to go home with the butter, but buy everything else instead.  Of course, we won’t forget to put the peonies in our grocery cart!

After cutting the peony

my mind seems emptied —




The flower bouquets start out as tightly closed buds & within a day or two the flowers open into ballerina dress of pink & fuchsia silk.  Recently, San Diego had a heat wave & the flowers really opened up before anyone could even buy them.  They were breathtaking.  It’s like a peony garden for sale.

Peony flowers practice 6-5-2014 - 6 WATERMARK

Peony flowers don’t grow in San Diego’s climate so it’s quite miraculous to have Trader Joe’s sell these beauties & for only $6.99 a bouquet.  No florist shop price here.  (I know I sound like I work for Trader Joe’s, but I don’t.  I just love everything about this grocery store.  The quality food with few additives, apples that smell & taste like the apples of my childhood, the ambiance of a health food market without the price, employees who seem happy when they say hello & chat.  I’m just so impressed by Trader Joe’s, even when they don’t sell peonies)!   http://www.traderjoes.com/

Peony flowers practice 6-5-2014 - 2 WATERMARK

Lovely, ethereal posies for sale to take home & fill my house with perfume.  Mostly though, these flower bouquets will serve as inspiration for practice paintings.  I love peony perfume, but my sinuses don’t so I quickly paint & sketch & then put the bouquet out on the patio or give the flowers to a friend to enjoy.  It is clear to me that I am not meant to live the life of a bee as the flowers make my eyes water & make me sneeze & sneeze.  Oh well, I can still love them & enjoy them for a short while.

How reluctantly

the bee emerges from the deep

within the peony. 

–       Basho