For those of you who don't know, I am a Japanese-American: born in Tokyo, Japan and adopted by American parents. When I was growing up it was important to my parents that they honor and celebrate my Japanese heritage so I had many books of Japanese folktales that I used to read over and over. One of my favorite stories was about tsuki no usagi or moon rabbit.
I'll try to keep it brief but the gist of the story is that one night, long long ago, the Old Man in the moon looked down at the earth and saw a monkey, a fox, and a rabbit who were living peacefully side by side. He thought to himself, "I wonder which animal is the kindest and which is the most generous?" and decided to disguise himself and go down to meet them. He transformed to an old beggar and spoke with the animals. The animals politely greeted him and he told them that he was poor, old, tired, and very hungry and asked if they would help him. They immediately dashed off to find the old man something to eat. The monkey returned with armfuls of fresh fruit and shortly after the fox returned with a big fat fish. Meanwhile the poor rabbit ran around looking for something he could bring the hungry man but wasn't able to find anything. He finally returned and asked his friends if they would bring him firewood and build him a fire. The monkey and fox went off to do as he had asked and when the fire was ready the rabbit turned to the old man. He told the man that he had not been able to find anything but couldn't bear to see the man go hungry so he was going to throw himself on the fire so that the old man would have a meal. As the rabbit went to jump in the fire the old man transformed back to his heavenly form and stopped the rabbit. He explained to the awestruck creatures that he did not wish them harm and that the rabbit was the most generous. To reward the rabbit for his generosity the Old Man in the Moon carried the rabbit back to the moon with him and there he stays, safe in the old man's arms, to this very day.
As a child I remember looking at the moon and searching for that rabbit! So when I saw the Autumn Moon set with the rabbit stamps I knew exactly why there was a rabbit and I was SO excited! I decided to create a card in the style of a Japanese ink wash painting as a setting for my moon rabbit!
I actually own an ancient bottle of Japanese sumi ink (it's been more than two decades since I've opened that bottle...ha) but I opened the bottle and it was still liquid so I poured a little into a bowl. To start I sketched a few rough outlines of mountains on the oversized vertical panel and then used a slightly damp paintbrush dipped in ink to outline the mountains. I used a wetter paintbrush to add a little shading and kept a little white space for some dimension. After the basic shapes were painted I went back and added a little detail with a smaller paintbrush.
Next I took a few stamps from the Ink Painting Scene set and stamped them onto my card with Intense Black ink. I used a little second generation stamping to get some dimension in my trees and then softened some of the lines with a damp paintbrush. I set that aside to dry while I worked on the moon. I'm certainly no expert but it was kinda fun and very relaxing to do something so freehand!
I stamped the moon from Autumn Moon onto vellum with Versamark and heat-embossed it with white satin pearl embossing powder before die-cutting it with the coordinating dies. I stamped the lantern from Autumn Moon with Versamark on white cardstock and heat-embossed it with red embossing powder. I colored it with Copic markers and die-cut it with the coordinating dies. I also stamped the sentiment on black cardstock and heat-embossed it with white detail embossing powder. When the painting was dry I stamped the rabbit with Intense Black ink. Then I stamped the branch from Autumn Moon and heat-embossed it with detail black embossing powder. I adhered the moon over the rabbit and added the lantern and sentiment with foam mounting tape. Obviously there aren't such dark spots on the moon but I thought he'd stand out best with some black ink. Finally I decided to do my own little spin on "signing" my painting (as a traditional Japanese artist would do with a red signature seal) by adding that bright red lantern amidst all the black, grey, and white!
I know this was a super long post so I'm very thankful if you got all the way to the end of it! Thanks so much for stopping by today and have a wonderful day!
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