Paul Binnie: Sankeien Gardens 三渓園

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Artist: Paul Binnie (Born 1967)
Title: Sankeien Gardens 三渓園
Date: 2005

Winter view of the classic Japanese garden Sankeien in Yokohama. With embossed footprints in the snow in the foreground and mica on the edge of the frozen pond.

Best to allow the artist to speak for himself: “As you may know, I have been working on a series of landscape woodblock prints called Nihon Meisho Zu-e (Famous Views of Japan), of which three have been released already; Aka Fuji, Miyajima No Torii and Himeji Castle. I have now completed the fourth in the series, Sankeien, which is a view of the famous Sankeien Gardens in Yokohama in the snow.

I visited the garden in April of 2004, and of course it was cherry blossom time, which was extremely beautiful, but unfortunately Yoshida Hiroshi did a view of these very gardens with cherry blossom (Abe #191), so I decided to use some artistic license and make it a snow scene, in shades of blue, lilac and grey-green, which tones well with the horizonal image of Himeji Castle, also in blues: in fact, these two were conceived as a pendant to one-another.

I have used gofun printed over the entire lower area to make a very snowy white, rather than keep the paper blank as many printmakers do, and I also have used mica to highlight the ice on the frozen edge of the lake, which gives a silver sheen to the surface. One thing which you may not be able to see in the attached scan, but which adds greatly to the effect of the print, is a line of embossed footprints, walking past the lake edge, seemingly compressing the snow underfoot.

If the print is handled, or hung on a wall, these appear in subtle shadow, and add an extra dimension to the design. As always in this series, there is also the blind-printed 'Binnie' in the bottom margin, and the format is identical to Himeji Castle, dai-ōban Yoko-e, 29.5 x 40.5cm (11 1/2 x 16 inches).”

Paul Binnie, March 2005

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition.
Dimensions: 29.4 x 40.8 cm (paper size)
Series: Famous Views of Japan (Nihon meisho zue) Numbered 35/100
Signature: Paul Binnie (in pencil, lower right)