I love the idea of measuring the year in smaller seasons. Prior to the Gregorian calendar, farmers in China and Japan broke each year down into 24 sekki or “small seasons.” These seasons didn’t use dates to mark seasons, but instead, they divided up the year by natural phenomena. To celebrate the start of the next small season i’m sharing my snow study of Osaka Castle in Chūō-ku, Osaka. It’s another larger World Series study of Japan, my previous attempt an atmospheric painting of a distant Mount Fuji.
Osaka castle is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks and it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period. My painting is 28 x 28cm on paper created with acrylic paints and drawn over with inks.
December 8th marked the beginning of ‘Big Snow’ (大雪・Taisetsu); so i’ve set my illustration of the castle under a Wintery sky. The sloping roofs and bare trees are sprinkled with jewel bright snow.
I’ve always found the four seasons we refer to in Europe to be rather inadequate, as the weather varies so much within each three month period. This seems to me to be a much more captivating way of describing those subtle changes. There’s a great website where you can read a little more about the different small seasons ❄️🍁🌸🌞. I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up creating a few more pieces with these sekki in mind.