Cloé Fontaine is an architect whose final degree project, an examination of color schemes used in houses around the world, took her to all four corners of the globe. While studying in Japan, she compiled the watercolors that formed the basis of this book.
Cloe Fontaine tries to paint a glimpse of Japan with her watercolours. The sketches were done during a visit to Japan in 2001.
There are four chapters that contains art of objects from everyday life. These are architecture, customs, sceneries and modernity. Cloe Fontaine appears to like textures and patterns as that seems to be the recurring theme in her paintings. There are paintings on the different patterns of bamboo doors, garden designs, etc.
At the end, she takes on the popular manga culture by putting in some character through her watercolour sketches.
With sketchbooks, I prefer those with far shots and lots of architectural drawings. While this book has some, the focus is more on individual objects and elements.
(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
Wonderfully depicts Japan, a country of contrasts2007/6/17
Cloe Fontaine has managed to capture the contradictions inherent in modern Japan, a nation that is far advanced in the fields of technology and science, yet still retains elements of traditionality as reflected by the architecture, the respect towards the Imperial Family, and religion & culture. The artist's watercolors, modern collages, personal anecdotes, and even selection of traditional haikus captures both old and new Japan authentically.The sketchbook is divided into segments - Introduction, Architectures [I loved her detailed rendering of a traditional Japanese house], Customs & Costumes [the beauty and delicate intricacy of traditional Japanese attire such as the kimono], Scenery & Sagacity, and Modernity & Modern Cities [the young and their love of all things Western, as well as Japanese Manga]. The book is by no means comprehensive, but it is a visual delight that makes it a great addition to fans of the Sketchbook series.