The 100 paintings in this book are based on haiku poems by Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), who is considered to be one of the four greatest masters of the Japanese haiku tradition. Issa’s short poems explore nearly all aspects of human experience with delightful brevity. In my selection of poems for this project I favored those that had qualities I knew I would enjoy translating to visual form. The poems were translated from Japanese by David G. Lanoue of Xavier University of Louisiana and were used with his permission.
The works are painted with acrylic (mostly Golden Fluid Acrylics) on paper (300 lb. Fabriano Artistico soft press). The originals are 8” X 8”.
A number of the haikus I chose might be viewed as being melancholy — dealing with topics such as death and loss. What appeals to me in these poems is the clear sense of acceptance and non-resistance. These are qualities that I find (as I grow older) to be of importance for living a life of contentment. The paintings were a joy for me to create. My hope is that they will also be a joy for you.
Mark W. McGinnis
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