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64. Art & Flying to Japan (continuation of Signing the Contract)


At this stage I had signed with the Japanese Art gallery and then spent one year painting like crazy.

This painting “If I could turn back time” was one of the artworks that the Japanese Gallery wanted to see in real life before we signed the contract and it was sent over during the negotiating stage (available as a limited Giclee print).

painting by artist Marie Jonsson-Harrison of Captain Cooks arrival in Australia meeting the aboriginals

If I could turn back time!

My contract stipulated 40 acrylic artworks in various sizes from small 30cm x 40cm to the larger ones at 120cm x 90cm, luckily I had a few in stock but all the rest needed to be produced.

The problem for me is that all my artworks take a very long time as they are so very detailed and also the paint is layered with lumps and bumps (all bottoms and breasts stick out!)   At times I wish I was an abstract artist and could just slap the paint on and make at least one painting each day, but oh no life cannot be that easy, mine take at least a week for a small one and more like a minimum of 3 weeks for the larger works.


My studio is just outside the backdoor in a separate building with views of the paddocks and the trees along the river, so it’s just as well that I love being there and painting as that next year and the years following I nearly spent every waking moment in there.  My husband always jokes to friends that he keeps me locked up in there, and that is almost true, lol.

Finally the big day has come, I had an all expenses paid trip to Nagoya Japan Business class mind you, for me and for the two art gallery guys from Melbourne who were my art agents at that stage.  We get picked up from the airport and put up in one of the nicest hotels and wined and dined every night at some of the most wonderful and interesting restaurants in Nagoya.

However it was the actual opening of the exhibition that really threw me!  I am used to going to exhibitions obviously, lol with a drink of wine or champagne in your hand you stand around and chat to the clients and friends and have a merry old time, and that is what I was expecting.


Wrong!  Around an hour before the opening I get told that I am actually going to be sitting behind a desk and drawing little pictures for their clients.  So now I get really worried, I am really not very good at drawing on command like that.  As you know I am an naïve artist and my drawings look more like stick figures – so now I was really breaking out into a sweat.  If that wasn’t enough now I also find out that we have to sit in a tiny little room and wait for the gallery to fill up with people where I will be presented like the Queen, lol,  I have to walk through the crowd as they part ways and line the sides and clap, and present me with a huge bouquet of flowers before the speeches.


Then as promised I sit at a table with my translator and meet the people one by one as the clients stand single file in a big line which snakes along the room.  Each Japanese person has got a white board embossed with gold edge which they ask me to draw something on.  Most of them know what they would like me to draw, maybe a bird, a cat or a flog (well that’s how they pronounce FROG lol) and I am to write their names and a little message as well as well as sign it.   As paintings sold I also had to write a message on the back of them too.    So I was flat out working for a couple of hours straight and not a drink in sight (unless you count the glass of water lol, but that doesn’t count does it?)

I must say though that in the end I thoroughly enjoyed it and found the Japanese people so very lovely, warm and giving.

The exhibition was held over 4 days with four separate openings and each night we waited in that small room until it was time to start.  I felt like a movie star by the end of it and each day an average of 10 paintings sold until it was a sell out!  (I have now made many trips to Japan over the years, but I will tell you about them another time.)

Here is a saying by Michael Jordan (basketball player) that I can appreciate,

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games; 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”

framed painting and marie jonsson harrison and Japanese family at her art exhibition in Nagoya

Japanese clients and my naive drawings!

This Japanese family bought this painting at my first Japan show in 1993 and then came back for the 2006 exhibition.  They are holding up the drawings I was talking about.

Till next time happy painting and sculpting to you.

Love Marie xxx     (c)

Why not come and have a look at Marie Jonsson-Harrison’s PAINTINGS FOR SALEGICLEE PRINTS FOR SALE and SCULPTURES for sale or WALLBASED SCULPTURES.  Enjoy an original artwork on your walls or perhaps one on your bed ARTnBED.

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