Yearly self-portrait with noren. 2018

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Yearly self-portrait with noren. 2018. J. Harms. 29x39cm. Acrylic on red paper.

This year’s portrait was more difficult to paint than the previous years. I painted and discarded several before finally painting this one. Ten years ago, almost to the day, I left France to go to Japan, where I lived and worked for a year and a half.

It was a tough yet rewarding and meaningful experience. It was there that I found my artistic language among the many colors and lines of the cityscape of Nagasaki.

While living there, I got to witness traditional holidays, and seasonal events. I also visited craft shops, I began collecting art too, and sent home many things, like this noren, a detail of which I painted in the background. It now hangs in my bedroom.

Today Nagasaki

And a Happy Birthday to Sayaka Takahashi, one of its citizen, English teacher extraordinaire, who, a couple years ago, while I was working in Nagasaki, found a painting spot for me near my appartment, and by that actively participated in helping me find my artistic voice. Domo arigato Sayaka chan !

Japanese Police Car 2010

Police car. J.Harms

Japanese Police Car 2010. J.Harms. Acrylic on red paper.(Private collection).

It was so easy to be inspired in Japan. All I had to do was sit and watch. Which is the story behind this painting. A police car stops at a red light. I take a picture. I sip my coffee. I forget about the picture. A couple months later, I find it among the hundreds I took. I remember the day I was sipping my coffee and looking out the window, that’s when I really start looking at it. I find it pretty. I think it looks like a super-hero !

Les Mimosas De Mesubenomori 2013

Les mimosas de Mesubenomori. 2013. 80x120cm. Acrylique et pastel à l'huile sur papier.

Les Mimosas de Mesubenomori. 2013. 80×120 cm. Acrylic and oil pastel on paper.

In Nagasaki, I often went to Mesubenomori park. Around it bloom beautiful mimosa trees. I first began painting this picture in 2009 at the XXX Indies Art Club in Nagasaki. A small place where artists can rent a space to paint, meet other local artists and exhibit. I never could render the small coton like flowers of the mimosas, though. So I rolled up my picture and brought it back to France where it stayed in a corner for 4 years. A couple months ago I began using oil pastels. I like the rich texture of them. They’re wonderful to use. It didn’t take long before I made the connection between the softness, the rich yellow tone and the powdered flower. And Voilà !

Late Kimono 2010

Late kimono. Julie Harms

Late Kimono (2010)
Acrylic  on canvas – 40×65 cm (private collection)

Late for her meeting… most probably back from her tea ceremony class…her friend waits patiently at the famous café down town. Another is looking for a place to sit… Mostly women come during the day…

Near Meganebashi 2010

Near Meganebashi. Julie Harms

Near Meganebashi (2010)
Acrylic  on canvas – 97×130 cm (private collection)

In one of the many streets leading to Spectacle bridge, modern buildings and older buildings pile up. On the roof of the house on the left, a tree stands… Often gardens grow above the electric lines.

Second O-Kunchi 2010

Second O-kunchi. Julie Harms

Second O-Kunchi in Nagasaki (2010)
Acrylic  on canvas – 81×61 cm (private collection)

My second O-Kunchi…. Same street, same balcony… A boat crosses the street. The sun is bright… The boat disappears… The sound of drums…

Brasserie Ito 2010

Brasserie Ito. Julie Harms

Brasserie Ito (2010)
Acrylic  on canvas – 33×40,2 cm (private collection)

… Walking down the street to the shopping arcade, a piece of France reminding me of my country… I never walked up the stairs that led to M. Ito’s restaurant. Not could I read the  complicated menu… Mr.Ito, I believe it was him, would stand on the street in front of his restaurant, late at night…walking back and forth or just standing there… it seemed he was always waiting for someone.

Ice Cream Lady 2010

Ice cream lady. Julie Harms

Ice cream lady in Nagasaki (2010)
Acrylic on paper – 23×25,5 cm (private collection)

Almost every day, on the other side of the Spectacle Bridge, the ice cream lady waits for tourists. Most often young students in uniform eager to cross the oldest bridge of the country…

Walking To Mesubenomori Park 2010

Walking to Mesubenomori park. Julie Harms

Walking to Mesubenomori park (2010)
Acrylic on paper – 36,5×44,5 cm (private collection)

At the bottom of the hill is Ume Saito, the big mall. If I turn left I’ll end up walking along the China Sea. Another lantern festival… The weather is cool, the street buzzes with engines running… or waiting for the lights to turn green… I’m probably going for a stroll at Mesubenomori Park overlooking the sea… My favorite place.

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