When people think of this Japanese woodblock print, they usually don’t notice the mountain. I’ve never seen waves this large in person, but I visit the ocean at the Outer Banks of North Carolina often, and I can imagine them. I’ve never seen fishing boats in peril on ocean waves. But I HAVE seen mount Fuji. My view was from Fussa, Japan, but the mountain is majestic. It is so unlike the Appalachian or Sandia mountains I am familiar with. It stands alone and apart from other mountains. When the sun rises and sets on it, we are treated to a color show. The white snow cap reflects the watermelon sky colors just like the white rock of the Sandia mountains in New Mexico.
People often ask whether you prefer the mountains or the ocean. I love this artwork because you don’t have to choose. I can’t imagine living in a place without access to both. In my painting, I had fun using a full range of colors. I kept all the values bright, and I refrained from adding shadows to the mountain and waves that would have given a more realistic appearance. I wanted to keep the view of Mount Fuji, framed by powerful waves, welcoming. I hope the viewer can feel the sea spray, and isn’t afraid to lean in a little to enjoy the symphony of colors.
“The Great Wave Off Kanagawa”
1829 - 1832
Impressions of this print are in many Western collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, and in Claude Monet’s home in Gierny, France, and many other collections.