Miniatures with a Japanese flavour


The next miniature exhibition is approaching, so I have been gathering the works I intend to submit. I can put in two framed works and two three-dimensional works – one of the 3D works is in the miniature awards exhibition at the moment, but can be exhibited again as the two galleries are not close together.

The exhibition is called ‘A Brush with Japan’ so all the works will be inspired by Japan or Japanese gardens and will be held at the Gosford Regional Gallery. The gallery has a long cultural connection to Japan, and is surrounded by the Edogawa Garden which is laid out in the Japanese horticultural style.

My works are not Japanese in any literal sense, more representing my feelings and impressions of Japan. These ideas have suffused most of the work I have done this year. Above is my favourite piece, more of the piano keys. I have now painted eight or nine of these, and I have selected the three above to work together in one frame. The title for these is ‘Three Obi’, and I am very grateful to my blogging friend Julie Podstolski for suggesting it. Julie has a long and deep interest in all things Japanese – see her amazing drawings here.


The second framed work I made when I was experimenting with encaustic earlier this year. The support is Ampersand Gessobord, and there are layers of oil paint, Neocolors 2 – which are water-soluble oil pastels – and wax. The layers are built up and scraped back to reveal colours hidden below, a process of discovery and surprise. To me it suggested windswept snowfields, so that became the title.

This three dimensional work has been shown on this blog before, but a little more work has been done to it, just general tidying up and refining. I have another wonderful blogging friend, Poppytump, to thank for the title of this one, ‘The Hidden Secrets of the Geisha’. She came up with it when I last showed this, and to me it sums it up perfectly. There are little objects hidden within each part, and these are all stored away in the shelves. For some of Poppytump’s wonderful photos, sketches and poetic words, see here.


The last piece is ‘Architecture in Japan’ which I wrote about in my last blog, made from interlocking pieces of prints.

The works will be submitted at the end of this month, then I will be off on a long camping trip. I will be taking my sketchbook and my camera, so will do blog posts as and when I can. So please come along for the ride!

Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

23 thoughts

  1. What a beautiful exhibition just on this one post. The “Architecture in Japan” piece I said last time reminded me of a kimono opened out. But more than that – opened out, deconstructed and reconstructed like a 3D cubist painting.
    “Windswept Snowfields” is subtly divine! I would like to be able to enlarge that image a little more.
    Love the ‘improvements’ you have made to what is now called “Secrets of the Geisha”.
    And as to the piano keys, as I mentioned just now on Facebook, they are also reminiscent of a Japanese screen with three panels.
    This body of work shows how versatile, creative, imaginative and inventive you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Julie, thank you so much! I feel quite overwhelmed. I have enjoyed making every one of these pieces, so I am delighted you see them as a complete collection. They have built over several months, I think the time allowing the ideas to gel slowly suits my way of working.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anna, I’m thrilled to see this collection! They are all stunning and so fresh. I’m very curious about the snowfields and the process. It looks so interesting and resulting in the unexpected. I would imagine you have to decided when to stop with less control. Overall this body of work is so impressive.

    I’m looking forward to your camping trip. I’ll definetly be following along!


    1. The snowfields were a complete experiment, one of the first few pieces I did with the encaustic. I found it such an exciting medium, really working beyond my own control, I am hoping to be able to do more when I get back from my trip. Thank you so much for your comments Cathe, always appreciate what you have to say! I look forward to you coming camping with me, in virtual terms!


  3. What a great series of work Anna, all so different yet they sit so well together. It really shows off your diverse talents and skills. I really love your little books in the Secrets of the geisha piece. Such wonderful little treasures, so cleverly thought through. Good luck with the exhibition and I am really looking to traveling with you on your upcoming trip. Karen


    1. Thanks Karen, I am pleased that you see a consistency to the works – they are very different! Look forward to having you along for the trip! I intend to do a post about Gale’s book before I go, just need to get it finished though …

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The best to you Anna at your exhibit. Your miniature artwork is wonderful. I’m sure it will be well received and enjoyed.


  5. The Three Obi is such a wonderful work; beautifully realised and presented, Anna. Love it! As for the Geisha Secrets, I can see, now that you’ve finished the structure, how much like a Japanese large storage cabinet it seems (if you can picture it, or at least that’s how I imagine it — I have a local Made in Japan store and love visiting).
    All up, excellent collection. Good luck with the exhibition. And enjoy your rejuvenation break. 🙂


    1. Thank you so much Janina – I’m very pleased that the secrets container is like a storage chest. So much of this is based on something almost ephemeral, just my instincts, so I am glad when they connect with other people’s impressions too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Isn’t this just the most delightful lovely post ! To embark on this venture and then unify a collection must have been very rewarding Anna . A wonderful body of your Art . Such excitement you must feel … I can sense the immiment camping trip will be just what you need 🙂
    Wishing you all the best with the exhibition Anna and thank you so much for the mention . I do feel very touched re Secrets of the Geisha x


    1. Poppy, I always value your words, and your reference to secrets of the geisha really resonated with that piece. I really have enjoyed pulling these works together – I didn’t actually think too much about them as a collection as I was doing them, but there must have been a subconscious thread that linked them. I AM looking forward to the camping trip – still lots to prepare, but I have little bursts of excitement every now and then! x


  7. Hi Anna, I really like how you you have presented/framed these three piano keys. I am entranced with them. They speak to me in such an intimate way. And “The Hidden Secrets of the Geisha” is so intriguing and feels large to me and always surprises me that it is a miniature.


    1. I hadn’t been sure that the three piano keys would work together, but they really do seem happy together! I have loved working on them, they each have developed differently from what I had expected. That is so interesting that the Secrets of the Geisha piece seems large – I think that is a great compliment, so thank you Nancy!


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