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Japanese artist shares her work

By Staff | May 11, 2009

Every painter has their own style. ‘R’ Impressions, a Blue Earth business, has been introducing local painters to different styles by hosting artists from around the world. Their most recent guest artist was Rickie Nishi. She taught the art of oriental painting to members of the Rural Roses painting club during a three-day seminar held May 4-6.

Nishi was born in Northern Japan with a love for art and painting. Now, she is a world-traveler who teaches both the European and Oriental styles of painting. She already has bookings for 2010 to teach in India and Korea as well as her homeland of Japan.

But this week, the worldly artist had her first visit to Minnesota.

“I love this state,” Nishi says. ‘It’s beautiful. A very nice state and the people are nice. It’s very clean too. There are many similarities to Japan. I love Blue Earth.

Although Nishi was born in Japan, she has since lived in North America for over 30 years. She currently has a studio in Atlanta and one in Japan.

Nishi studied the famous old European German-style of porcelain painting known as Meissen/Dresden under the tutelage of the renowned Meissen painter, Uwe Geissler. She became so proficient, Geissler presented her with one of the three certificates he ever awarded, accrediting her as a certified Meissen painter.

Although she specializes in this European style of china painting, she also does the old Noritake and Imari styles of Japanese or Oriental painting, as well as using the Arita technique.

Nishi says it is difficult to describe the differences between the European and Asian styles of painting. She says the Oriental design is usually more symbolic of a subject. It is not like a still-life or a photograph. This style also often features a band which might incorporate bamboo, flowers or metallic gold in it.

“Porcelain painting was very popular in the United States in the 1970s,” says Nishi. “It really boomed then and now is declining.

Because of this decline, porcelain painters are now getting designs made from computers. As a result, there are many more exciting designs to use other than just floral ones which she hopes might spark more interest in the hobby.

Currently, Nishi says the only porcelain manufacturer in the U.S. is Pickard, located in Chicago. Interestingly enough, this company makes porcelain exclusively to be used by U.S. Embassies throughout the world.

Porcelain, a transparency of clay, was once called ‘white gold’ by Europeans.

Nishi’s dream is to mingle and share the individual techniques employed by the European and Oriental style.

She also says many professional painters today combine porcelain and glass. This is already available in Europe, but Nishi says by-laws in the U.S. say items should be all porcelain, thus limiting what one can do.

Another dream the Japanese artist has is to see more of the younger generations taking an interest in learning these age-old arts.”The Japanese government supports the artists,” says Nishi. “I wish the U.S. would do the same. There are many talented people in America. The government should support that. This country is very wealthy. They buy porcelain, but they don’t create it.

Even Japan, she says, is using different techniques in making their porcelain today. As for the quality, it still depends on the name of the company, she adds.

Although good eyes and a steady hand might be an asset in her art, Nishi says one really doesn’t need to have any artistic talent to paint porcelain. You just have to stay in the lines as if you were working on a page in a coloring book.

At the conclusion of her teaching stint in Blue Earth, the Japanese artist’s travel itinerary includes a trip to North Carolina, then on to Japan before returning to Omaha and Chicago.

“There are painters all over the world,” says Rickie Nishi who would love to share her art with style to anyone who might be interested.