January is one of the best months to be in Tokyo! The beautiful, clear days are more frequent with the sun offering a warmth that offsets the cold. For this art adventure I chose to visit, kenkyusei, a student oil painting exhibition at Geidai; Tokyu University of the Arts located in the Ueno area of the city.

Moon Pine recreated from original as was in 100 Famous Views of Edo

All big adventures need a friend along so I asked my fellow artist, Janette Maxey, to join me. Meeting at Ueno Eki, we soon stumbled upon a random food festival with a wide variety of options from kaki fry (fried oyster) to ramen and just as many booths of beers and sake. We opted for the delicious green tea soba and Janette found an Iwakuni Coffee stand. Interesting how the most mundane of foods can be exceptionally delicious when standing outside in the cold?

It had been a while since either of us had been to Ueno area so we were happy to stop and look at various things that caught our eye such as this manhole cover over electric lines.

At the Oil Painting Exhibition I am glad I had a chance to see an additional two pieces created by Louise Rouse. Very subtle color choices, deep bold printing juxtaposed with soft stitching recreates letters from home that reflect the deep difficulties of family and aging through the most mundane of modern conveyances; an email.

The oil painting exhibition was very small but I’ve found several very unique pieces which made me smile or made me think. I enjoyed the purple splashes and what will pop out of the explosive part of the oil painting. Unfortunately the map provided to show who the artist is was very poorly done so I don’t know who the artist is.

We wandered around the beautiful grounds a bit and found a group of abandoned artworks behind the Sculptures building. This lonely octopus caught my eye.

Ueno Toshogu Peony Park
Ueno Toshogu Peony Park

Each winter I am always surprised at how richly everything still grows here even in the cold winters. Januaries in my childhood where about snow sports and ice fishing. The chill air here seems to add strength to even the smallest of blooms such as these pink and white cyclamen and helps develop the biggest poofs of petals in the peonies. As one set of flowers are at their peak, the camellias foreshadow their time is coming soon, too.

It was time to take our chilled selves and runny noses inside for more food; a beautiful plate of sushi highlighting my favorite unagi.

Muji B6 Planner with Muji A5 Calendar and 100yen shop notebook

After a fun day of inspiration I was excited to get writing again so I chose to pay a bit extra for a Greensha seat on the JR line home. In a Greensha, there is a fold down tray to use to set my day onto paper.

Janette and I also stumbled upon a little antique flea shop in the park and had fun perusing the wares being sold. Sign up for my emails to be notified when I post the new tool box I bought from the market!

Thank you Janette for a fun day out!

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