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Picturing a World

Japanese garden

In these troubled times, gardens offer comfort and inspiration. Exploring the Museum Computer Network portal, I got to the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento where where I found this painting by Theodore Wores. Wores, a San Franciscan who was influenced by James McNeill Whistler, went to Japan, learned the language, and brought Impressionist techniques to painting landscapes there. (Another example is his Street in Ikao.)


The Iris Flowers of Horikiri called to mind two things: First, the Asian-influenced garden, Innisfree, in Millbrook New York, where irises border a stream. Second, Natasha Pulley's Lost Future of Pepperharrow, most of which takes place in Japan in the 1890's and includes a Japanese estate with many gardens.


Inisfree is lovely. I wish I could visit right now; but while we self-isolate, photographs will have to do for an armchair garden meditationIris Flowers might likewise induce a meditative mood.


Or the painting might inspire more active mental exploration. Imagine what, for instance, lies up the hill on the left. Think of a story about an artist in turn-of-the-century Japan, or a painting found in an attic by a specialist in Japonisme, or a family heirloom that contains a hint to solving a mystery. Use the picture for Pulley's Start a Fantasy Story exercise. (What five impossible things might it inspire?)
However you are coping, stay well, stay home—and stay creative.

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