​Umeyama's Painting: Longing to See the Ocean
Umeyama created this painting to reflect his impressions of Texas Hill Country.

(top) The Time Traveler Umeyama’s Painting: Longing to See the Ocean, 2016, Sumi ink, gouache and gum arabic on oriental paper, 32 x 30 inches

(bottom right)Drawing of Labels for Umeyama’s Painting: Longing to See the Ocean 1 (Mikiko Sugi), 2017, Graphite on paper, 24 x 18 inches

(bottom left)Drawing of Labels for Umeyama’s Painting: Longing to See the Ocean 2 (Santoka Taneda), 2017, Graphite on paper, 24 x 18 inches

​(see the bottom for contents for the label drawings)

(left) Drawing of Labels for Umeyama’s Painting: Longing to See the Ocean 2 (Santoka Taneda), 2017, Graphite on paper, 24 x 18 inches
(From the label drawing)

Shoei Umeyama

 

Longing to See the Ocean, mid-19th century

 

Ink and polychlome on oriental paper   

On loan from Santōka Taneda

Umeyama created this unusual painting during his first South Texas time-teleportation experience.

 

Initially, he was fascinated with the new environment, and created a number of Umeyama Reports. However, as that enchantment diminished, he began to be struck with a feeling of homesickness.

In addition, the dry weather in South Texas bewildered Umeyama. Compared to his native Japan, especially in Kyoto where he grew up, South Texas was a land of extreme desiccation. Even when he closed his eyes, he could sense the dryness through his skin and in his nasal passages, nor could he escape from Texas while dreaming.

 

With undeniable restlessness, he wanted to be near a large body of water, the ocean. Unfortunately, Umeyama followed his instincts which took him in the wrong direction. He chose to go North as he traveled on foot alongside a highway.

The further he walked, the more his frustration with the aridity mounted as he was unable to find any trace of the ocean. Umeyama, being at a loss, created a haiku poem, as he walked along, which he quietly muttered, mantra-like, as he ascended and descended the hilly countryside:

分け入つても 分け入つても 乾いた大地

(Going further into it, And even further into it, Yet more dry wilderness, still.)

 

In contradistinction to the bright sky color and wide open space of South Texas, Umeyama felt as if he were literally bound up by this strange new environment.

As Umeyama lingered on top of yet another hill and looked at the same never-ending wilderness, he felt that his spirit was on the verge of dehydration.

(An image of the Texas Hill Country)

​The Texas Hill Country, 2016

(right)Drawing of Labels for Umeyama’s Painting: Longing to See the Ocean 1 (Mikiko Sugi), 2017, Graphite on paper, 24 x 18 inches
(From the label drawing)

Shoei Umeyama

 

Longing to See the Ocean, mid-19th century

 

Ink and polychlome on oriental paper  

On loan from Mikiko Sugi 

Like so many of his contemporary scholars, to Umeyama, painting was considered a mandatory skill for being a cultured person. After returning from the first South Texas time-teleportation experience to his native 19th century Japan, he created this artwork which reflects his yearning to find the sea.

 

When Umeyama stepped into the vast, open South Texas Hill Country wilderness, he tried to grasp his position by locating the nearest ocean. It was quite natural for him to do so because his native Japan is an archipelago. Unfortunately, Umeyama followed his instincts that took him in the wrong direction to the North as he travelled on foot alongside a highway. The further he walked, the more his frustrations mounted as he was unable to find any trace of the ocean.

 

In order to inspire himself, he quietly muttered, mantra-like:

“あの坂を登れば海が見える”

(You can see the ocean when you climb to the top of that hill.)

As a child, his nanny had lulled him to sleep with that same line as she pointed to a faraway mountain range. When he became a young man, he went to the top of the mountain to finally catch a glimpse of the sea. Though it was still not visible from there, he clearly noticed the color of the sky over another mountain which clearly suggested the sea.

 

However, as Umeyama lingered on top of yet another hill in South Texas and looked at the same never-ending wilderness, he felt that his existence had vanished into the wide expanse of peculiar land.

ALL IMAGES AND SITE CONTENT ©Hiromi Tsuji Stringer

UTTM, Umeyama, Shoei, Texas, San Antonio, Japanese artist, Asian Artist, Drawing, Painting, Hiromi, Tsuji, Stringer, Eyes got it, winner, Best Artist, USA, 辻 宏美, サン アントニオ,テキサス, 日本, アーティスト, 絵, ツジ ヒロミ