Sunday, June 28, 2009

Koson Ohara


Koson Ohara 1877-1945

A cuckoo

Although he was a ukiyo-e artist
Koson Ohara originally studied painting
and became proficient
in both watercolours and oils.

Flowering wisteria and insect

In the early 1900s
during the Russo-Japanese war
he produced war prints
as the interest in traditional ukiyo-e
had all but died out.

Flycatcher and spider

But within ten years
the camera had replaced
the print maker as the medium
for disseminating news

Hawk and setting sun

Koson is the best known print maker
for kacho-e-
prints of flowers and birds

Kingfisher on stump

Koson taught at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts
where an American colleague
by the name of Ernest Fenellosa
encouraged him to make wood block prints
in the old style.

Monkey on a persimmon tree

After 1926 Koson returned to ukiyo-e
and was published by Wanatabe Shozaburo
the initiator of the Shin Hanga movement,
the renaissance of the wood block print art
of Ukiyo-e

Nuthatcher atop a persimmon

Practically all of Koson's prints
were exported to the USA
as Japan had lost interest
in the ukiyo-e art form

Praying mantis on a willow

Koson's skill as a painter
is evidenced in the water colour effect
of his prints

Scops owl on a branch at full moon

His kacho-e were performed
with an extremely high
degree of craftsmanship

Spring evening

Koson Ohara is sometimes known
as Hoson Ohara
Shoson Ohara,
or the other way around
It is the same artist.

Tree sparrow and bamboo

A master wood block artist
of flowers and birdlife

White fronted goose before full moon



  1. hi delwyn, so many pieces of beautiful art and you know whose work it reminds me of? yours! there's something very familiar about these paintings that feel as much like works of art as narratives . . . i could almost imagine a story connecting each image of a walk that koson ohara took. my favourite image would have to be "a cuckoo". i love the way the japanese artists present intimacies much like the impressionists did. "kingfisher on a stump" is also a lovely piece because of the colours set against snow. thanks for this. have a peaceful day. steven

  2. What lovely art! What a treat to be taken on a walk with Koson Ohara. The expression on the monkeys face, determination, the hawk with the sun setting in the background as he swoops down to his prey. I love the Praying mantis on the willow. With the moon in the background and very little else. Simplistic but rich. The sweet little tree sparrow, hopping about in the bamboo, the colours so soft and inviting. Truly an amazing artist!

  3. Such beautiful art! I loved the Wisteria with the dragonfly (well, it could be a dragonfly, right)---

    My husband paints with bamboo brushes and uses acrylics mostly. He's dabbled in watercolor, but it's so hard! I don't know how artists get such amazing paintings from it. Thank you for sharing these.

    Last night I was deadheading my flowers and came across a shiny black and orange grasshopper on a yellow Mum. He escaped before I could get my camera, but the colors are still swirling around in my head.

    Fabulous post, Delwyn. Blessings!

  4. I love how the sun and moon figure in so many of these woodcuts. My favorite is the owl and the full moon, a subject of mine, too. That hawk and setting sun is marvelous, also. Because they reflect nature and the seasons, they're just begging for haiku. Come on, Delwyn!

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you for these lovely images. My favourite ones were the hawk and the setting sun and the white-fronted goose. Both were enchanting.

    And I'm sorry to hear about your foot. I wish you better.

    Greetings from London.

  6. favorite is the Hawk and the Setting Sun...but I relate to the Tree Sparrow and Bamboo...We have a song sparrow that loves to sing from the top of our tall bamboo patch.
    Take care Delwyn!

  7. I agree with Margaret, I was thinking 'haiku' when looking at them. They all tell a story and their delicacy is ever appealing. My favourite is the praying mantis but I admire them all.

  8. Hi Steven

    I suppose because they are the prints I chose from dozens of possibilities that they will reflect something of me ...and they do look as if they form a walk - a Koson nature Walk...

    I like them all...we have sacred Kingfishers here like the emerald one. I like the cuckoo because I assume that stance so often in the forest...

    Happy Days

  9. Hello Lorac

    It is interesting to hear which ones are favourites and for what reasons...I like simple too...

    thanks for visiting today...

    Happy Days

  10. Hi Marion

    If you want it to be dragonfly then that's what it is...
    I love the colours of your insects that you have shown us.
    I think that you have been imbued with dragonfly spirit...

    Happy Days

  11. Hello beautiful Margaret -
    you look very glamorous,

    I often do combine the haiku with prints as you probably know if you have looked back a little through my posts.

    always in wonder
    diversity in nature

    Happy Days

  12. Hi Mr C

    thanks for the kind thoughts and glad to bring you these refreshing prints.
    The goose I love, because like pelicans, they appear so huge and ungainly yet fly with such grace...

    Happy Days

  13. Wanda
    how are you in your neck of the woods?

    I can tell you are a birdy person from your selection...

    You have to love a sparrow! we are all a bit like of many, found universally, simple and sweet...

    Happy Days

  14. Hi Alaine

    They DO all tell a story and it's as if the haiku is already embedded in the picture...and we read it and hear it with the eyes...

    maybe that's why these prints are so appealing...they are confined by and contained within the wood block process and the Japanese aesthetic which renders them a clean, simple, delicate beauty...

    I just love ukiyo-e...

    Happy Days

  15. Hi! Had a doozy of a week and am trying to catch up on stuff at home....of course can't do that without checking out your blog first! You have chosen the best paintings again... I love the colors and the shapes of the fruit are actually making my stomach growl!
    hope you have a glorious the way how is your ankle?...maybe I should poke around your posts first before asking but I am hoping you feel better♡

  16. Hi Tulsa

    We must have similar tastes we always seem to like the same things...

    Thanks for inquiring. Its a bit achy today so am resting up... I have a chair beside the computer for the leg and a fitball for the other leg! and I can sit up for a while without it being too bothersome...
    I hope your week was productive and not too rainy...

    Happy days

  17. I love the praying mantis and the tree sparrow...oh wow...they are just great !

    and thanks so much for your comments regarding the photos and the sunscreen !

    but I have to worry about too high of an spf...oh lordy...

    maybe I should just move to alaska and be covered up all the time...that would be easy !

    but seriously...thanks for giving me the heads up and now I'll do some research !!

  18. Hi Beth

    It may be best to cover up as we do here...

    It's nice to have you visit again...

    Happy Days


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