aquascape : homage to Itchiku Kubota

Queensland, Australia
aquascape series, copyright miriam louisa simons


In the 70s and 80s I was working in textile surface design – at first creating one-off designer garments and ensembles, and later making pieces for walls to wear.

In 1987 I received a generous Arts Council study grant to work with master indigo dyers and shibori artisans in Japan.

It was in Kyoto that I learned about the ancient technique of tsujigahana, researched and redeveloped by Itchiku Kubota.

At an exhibition of his kimonos in Kyoto I was almost unable to stay on my feet in front of the beauty and power of the works. They were simply breathtaking. I came home with a treasure of a tome, resplendent with glorious photographs of these silk masterpieces.

Years later, when working with toxic dyestuffs was a thing of the past and I was delighting in the possibilities of tube colors, pastels and brushes, I decided to make a study of a panel from one of Kubota-san’s kimonos.

It was the beginning of a new series of paintings – the aquascapes.

360 x 820
acrylic paints on textured canvas
mounted on canvas covered panel (not shown)

Private collection, Hawaii

[Imagine my delight to be ‘Featured Artist’ in the new issue of ONE: the magazine.
Since the editor used a tiled version of this aquascape as the background to my page, it seemed timely to post it here, with a little background information.]

8 thoughts on “aquascape : homage to Itchiku Kubota

  1. Emelle, I once wrote a poem to one painting that looks like a piece of this
    this looks like silkpapaper and not canvas – is silkpaper an english word?
    And do you know – 2 weeks ago i found myself entering a thrift shop and looked at a magnificent hand-sewn kimono hanging there. That was for me! All silk, soft turquoise and blue, and it can be tiurned inside out, on the other side, soft peach. Both favorite colors that truly soothe me.
    And – I have uploaded all my images from a book that is self-published in these days – I wonder if I could sende you a link to the site with the password, and you could let me know here or on my mail if the link works for you?
    much love

    1. Leelah – the surface of the painting is canvas textured with silk paper, also called silk tissue.
      Your thrift shop kimono sounds delicious…
      Of course you can send me your link – just email it to me, and I’ll reply by return. I look forward to receiving it.

    1. Dear Patricia – color is my passion! Decades ago a psychic reader looked me in the eye and said “If you’re not working with color you’re wasting your life.” Playing with the Mische technique (which I call “making love with light”) – layering and texturing and layering – is so luscious… I love it!
      Thank you for your generous comment. 🙂

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