Iconic Scenes: Kyoto, Japan
Erin Hanson Explores the Majesty of Kyoto
Saturday, April 29, 2023
Iconic Scenes: Kyoto, Japan
Several years ago, Erin visited Kyoto, Japan for inspiration. This city is at the cultural and historical heart of Japan and is well known for classic views of cherry blossoms in spring and scarlet maple leaves in autumn. When Erin visited, she enjoyed the fall splendor found around the many Shinto shrines, temples, and scenic spaces like Arashiyama.
Traditional Kyoto Landscapes
Kyoto, located on the island of Honshu, is filled with temples, gardens, palaces, and parks. While the city itself is often crowded, peace and tranquility can be found among the rock gardens, flowing waterways, cherry trees, maples, and bamboo forests.
The natural spaces in the city often blossom with vibrant pinks in the spring, showcase jade greens in the summer, and turn a lively vermillion in the autumn. Perhaps the colors of the surrounding nature account for some of the incredible energy found in the city itself.
A train ride west will take you to Arashiyama, one of the most important sight-seeing districts in Kyoto. This park is known for its towering bamboo groves, which Erin has since painted.
Bamboo Forest by Erin Hanson, 2020
Kyoto is less well-known for its hidden gems like the Hozu River and the many hiking paths around Arashiyama, like in Kyoto Reflections, below.
Kyoto Reflections by Erin Hanson, 2021
Other well-tended landscapes can be found within the city limits. All one has to do is go to the nearest temple or walk down a cherry-tree-lined lane like the Philosopher’s Path. Kyoto is also surrounded by vast landscapes like the Arashiyama mountains in the west and the clear waters of the Ine-cho.
While most think of Kyoto as a place of bustling city life with delightful food, manga, and gorgeous temples - the landscape offers much more than that. It is a place where humans live harmoniously with nature.
Kyoto-Inspired Landscape Paintings by Erin Hanson
As always with Erin Hanson’s open impressionist work, the artist looked for the graceful, natural beauty in Kyoto. She did not have to travel outside of the prefecture to do so. Instead, Erin discovered quiet moments, natural spaces, and beautiful vistas in the city proper and just outside in hikes through the surrounding parks and rivers. Here are a few works that represent the Japanese landscapes that Erin captured during her trip to Kyoto.
Dawning Pine by Erin Hanson, 2019
A twisted Japanese pine stands against the backdrop of Arashiyama in Kyoto, Japan. The artistically-shaped tree reminded the artist of an oversized bonsai. The gracefully twisting branches glow pink in the dawn light.
Kyoto Color by Erin Hanson, 2019
Delicate branches of the Japanese maple tree bend gracefully in the autumn sunlight. The tiny leaves of the maple tree spread across the sky, soaking in the afternoon warmth. The brush strokes are loose and impressionistic, creating a mosaic of color and texture across the canvas.
Arashiyama Pine by Erin Hanson, 2017
Erin fell in love with this Japanese pine tree in Arashiyama, Kyoto. The majestic tree was beautifully formed, and it was positioned to catch all the early dawn sunrays, turning a bright shade of sherbet orange. The distant hillside, still dark in the shadows, stood beyond the slow-moving waters of Hozu River.
Maple Forest by Erin Hanson, 2021
A forest of Japanese maple trees grows around a trickling brook, in this painting inspired by a temple in Kyoto, Japan. The brush strokes are loose and expressive, capturing the vivid beauty of autumn color.
Kyoto Pines by Erin Hanson, 2018
The warm glow of an autumn sunrise over Arashiyama Park in Kyoto, Japan, was a brilliant contrast against the distant mountains, bright blue against the warming sky. The brush strokes in this painting capture the energy and color variation seen in this landscape.
Autumn Hues by Erin Hanson, 2019
Colors of autumn sparkle with light in this painting of Kyoto, Japan. The rich ultramarine sky is a beautiful contrast to the cadmium hues of the maple trees. Each brush stroke is placed side-by-side, creating a stained-glass effect on the canvas.
Movement of Maples by Erin Hanson, 2018
Kyoto, Japan, is a beautiful place to experience the Japanese maples changing color. In this painting, Erin captures the amazing range of colors seen in the temple gardens, from green and yellow to purple and red. There is such a sense of grace in the branches of these ancient maples, as well as a peaceful sense of motion with the gentle winds in the leaves.
Visiting Japan left an indelible impression on Erin Hanson. She has shared the beauty of this place in over thirty paintings. These have been collected into the Japanese Maple Collection, which you can view here.
ERIN HANSON has been painting in oils since she was 8 years old. As a young artist, she worked at a mural studio creating 40-foot-tall paintings on canvas, while selling art commissions on the side. After getting a degree in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley, Erin became a rock climber at Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. Inspired by the colorful scenery she was climbing, she decided to paint one painting every week for the rest of her life. She has stuck to that decision ever since, becoming one of the most prolific artists in history. Erin Hanson's style is known as "Open Impressionism" and is now taught in art schools worldwide. With thousands of collectors eagerly anticipating her work and millions of followers online, Hanson has become an iconic, driving force in the rebirth of contemporary impressionism.
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