Yuki Toyonaga . Botanical art

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The emphasis is much more about a pleasing painting and much less on the botanical accuracy or the various features of the flower. Flowers are often found in vases sitting within a still life context - or in a garden or the countryside. The style of painting may be more impressionistic, colours and/or relative size may not be entirely true. Informing or educating for scientific purposes are not of primary importance.

As a botanical artist, I have long painted roses that I grew in my own garden. However, wanting to dig from ancient times, Japanese people have seen the human heart in a flower. Western art conceptualizes the ephemeral nature of a flower overlapping with the fleeting nature of the human world as expressed through my paintings. When painting a drooping flower I sometimes feel I am painting a person hanging their head, and in my mind, a flower and a person are not so different a thing at all.

In the production process, I am experimenting with mixed media, but this mixing is also about the pursuit of a mutual relationship between the past and the present. People, society and different times are my forms of commitment to the process in my art. This process has a meaning for me, which in many ways sometimes makes me feel awkward with myself. I think that human beings and society have progressed to the point of forgetting that we are part of nature and, therefore, the only way to maintain that point

of contact for as long as possible and achieve a commitment to society is to through my paintings.

The other way in which I paint is to spend time polishing an idea and groping around what I want to describe. And no matter which of these two processes you follow, they tend to lead to something beautiful. I understand that beauty is subjective. I know that the perception that something is beautiful is simply my own personal feeling, insignificant, in a fleeting moment of human time in which we are alive, in comparison with cosmic time. However, it is lovely to have my own perception of beauty while the forces of life slap me. I believe that without the mind to think something beautiful, beauty itself does not exist.

I can say it because I have lived moments in the past when my heart sank so low that it did not matter what I saw or heard, I did not find it beautiful. To have a heart is to be alive. No matter how hurt I may be, I will continue to live life with my eyes fixed on beautiful things. That is how I have resolved it.




A selection of paintings by Yuki Toyonaga






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