中富良野の人

A breathtaking place that offers plenty to capture in painting

Shuichi Okuda

Shuichi Okuda

Born in Tokyo. He moved to Hokkaido in 1987, after deciding to become a painter. He is the current director of the Hokkaido Landscape Gallery (opened as the Furano Landscape Gallery in 1995).

Living in the midst of nature to paint its beauty

Shuichi Okuda lives in a quiet area of Nakafurano Town away from the bustle of the center. Beside his residence stands the Hokkaido Landscape Gallery, an art gallery where he serves as the director. He first came to the region when he was 28, and he immediately fell in love with the scenery. He decided to move into the area simply to capture its beauty through painting. His decision back then must have led to some difficult times, but it is certainly not apparent in his demeanor today, as his smiling face exudes an aura of cheerfulness.

 

The kind-hearted support of the townspeople

When Shuichi Okuda came to Nakafurano with nothing but the clothes on his back, he got plenty of support from the townsfolk. With the help of the town’s board of education, he was able to set up an art studio where he could concentrate on his painting, using a school building that was set to be demolished. This art studio is now the Hokkaido Landscape Gallery. Shuichi is always grateful for the warmth and hospitality he received from the people of Nakafurano, a temperament that remains to this day. His great passion for painting the town undoubtedly made a lasting impression in their hearts.

 

Creative inspiration borne out of love for nature

Shuichi Okuda’s works depicting nature are often characterized as “Impressionism that is a hundred years late”. Indeed, it can be said that his work ethic is also a relic of a time gone by. Even when it’s sweltering hot or freezing cold, he would readily take his paint and canvas and draw the scenery outside. This somewhat awkward determination is reminiscent of many painters of the past. In the early days, he liked to paint manmade sceneries such as vast farm fields, but now he mostly prefers scenes of untouched nature. It is when he captures the power and beauty of nature that he says he truly feels alive.

 

A painter’s garden, a den of creativity

One of Shuichi’s largest projects is a garden in the art gallery’s grounds. Gradually built over a period of 20 years, it is scheduled to open to the public at the end of April 2017. As you enter the garden, you’ll first notice a koi pond and a statue of the Virgin Mary. As you go up a slope beside the gallery, you will hear the rush of the Nae River, and find a board carved with a poem written by Shuichi himself. At the end of the trail, you will reach a wooden deck where you can relax and enjoy a cup of tea. You can feel how the garden is a source of inspiration for Shuichi, and spending time here feels just like being in one of his paintings.

 

Nakafurano Tourism Association