In Japan, when you enter a store or a restaurant or a home, the hosts will call out "いらつしゃいませ!"(Ira'shaimase), which means something like "Welcome!" "Come on in!" Which is what I say to you, new and old friends, as I share random thoughts and creations to whomever is interested.

Monday, July 16, 2018


My favorite part of etegami is sending it to people who 
will be encouraged or uplifted in some way 
by the message and painting I send.

My favorite words of encouragement are: "Hang in there!"
Sometimes there is nothing else to say.
People are going through hard times and 
many times you can't say "Hope you get well" because often they won't.
But just to let them know you are thinking of them
 and are quite aware of what they are going through.
That is what is important.

Hang in there

All of these paintings are from real life photographs.
Some are rather humorous and the hope is that the recipient will smile.

The expression on this panda is probably familiar to many.
"What the heck have I gotten myself into???"

Hang in there

I think I have painted just about every photo that is available for animals hanging on!!

hang in thereHang in there
And then there are the times when the person is actually sick and
will most likely recover. Then I feel OK to send the traditional get well card
with the quintessential sad puppy eyes.

I didn't like how this one was turning out while I was making it,
but after it was done, from a little distance, it painted itself quite nicely.
get well etegami

I tried a very minimalist approach with this little puppy.
Just a sharpened chopstick outline and minimal paint.
Again, from a distance, very heart-warming.
get well etegami

Red-eyed tree frogs are fun to paint and seem to have a positive quality to them.
You can imagine someone smiling when seeing one of these.
best is yet to come quote

Even Snoopy is quotable!
keep looking up quote

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

In remembrance of the Thai SEAL diver

I was riveted to the news this week following 
the discovery and rescue of the soccer team and their coach,
 trapped deep in a cave filled with water.
There were several reasons it was so compelling:
-These amazing divers willing to risk their lives to save the boys.
-The international cooperation of many countries
-The humbleness of the Thai people to accept and praise the help of others
-The bravery and courage of the boys themselves
-It was such courageous, righteous behavior in the middle of a bad behavior week.

Thai SEAL diver etegami
There is an Irish legend of selkies, seal people, 
who come on land and become real people,
but can return to the sea and live as seals as well.
 Let us hope that Saman Kunan is now a real seal,
diving and swimming freely..

Monday, July 9, 2018

Time for some humorous etegami

 Sometimes, it's just fun to paint something funny.
Animals can certainly conjure some funny etegami

 I have a friend who we only see now and then (they live far from us),
but he loves to say "Bite me" a lot.
You know. Like when you say, that's a strange color shirt"
he would say "Bite me!"
In fact, he has a shirt that says Bite Me in 8 different languages!!
For fun, I sent him this etegami. (He LOVED it!)

Lisa Jastram etegami

I love the photography of Joel Sartore of National Geographic Photo Ark,
 who is documenting as many animal species in captivity as he can.
He does beautiful portrait work of these animals
and I love to paint them.
 Both the cheetah above and the mandrils below are from his collection.

Lisa Jastram etegami

Lisa Jastram etegami

This one, from a Beatles song

Lisa Jastram etgami

 Another friend always wanted to stay in the background of photos
to hide her "long neck". Well, I think long necks are beautiful!
 I mean, Audrey Hepburn? hello!!

A Japanese friend gave us "unagi pie" (eel pie) as a gift.
 It is from Hammamatsu where  their specialty harvest is eel.  
However, these are like a crispy sweet flaky cookie. 
They are delicious but are made with dried eel flour.
I LOVE them and they are nostalgic for me.

In my weird mind, I imagined the eel saying
"Whaaat? I'm going to be made into a pie? egads!!!"

Lisa Jastram etegami

This is a painting of a photo is from the Comedy Wildlife Photography contest.
I have painted several of them.
They will certainly bring a smile to your face.
Of course "it" rhymes with ......

Lisa jastram etegami

The minute I finished this cute little giraffe, it was obvious what the words would be!!

Lisa Jastram etegami

This one, painted with a sharpened chopstick, was inspired by the clever saying.

Lisa Jastram etegami

The day after a new president was chosen (and you know who I'm talking about),
 I just couldn't believe it!! I felt upset, confused, sad.
So I guess this one really isn't so funny after all...
Lisa Jastram etegami

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Flowers for Japan

The Etegami Train

There is a short train line in Japan that needed a shot in the arm to keep it running.
Someone came up with this idea to have a whole train dedicated to etegami.
I decided to enter two etegami and was thrilled to see my paintings on the train!
Way up in the right hand corner..

My entries were these. On the left, the flame lily flower. 
Translation " the flame lily: burning like a fire"
On the right, the heliconia: "Unusual. Beautiful. The heliconia flower" 

Lisa Jastram etegami

 Lisa Jastram flower etegami 
The Fukushima Flower Project

Another etegami art call comes from Fukushima. In the wake of the tsunami disaster,
artists are called upon to paint flowers to share with the community.

These were Texas flowers I painted in 2017
The pink dogwood

Lisa Jastram flower etegami

The Texas bluebonnet, of course!
flower Lisa Jastram etegami

For this one, I painted the flowers on white and cut them out and 
pasted them on the tan etegami postcard.
A good way to make large white objects stand out!

Lisa Jastram flower etegami

Black tulip magnolia are actually deep purple. Absolutely stunning

Lisa Jastram flower etegami

 Another dogwood:“Refreshing white color"

Lisa Jastram flower etegami

For 2018, I thought the flowers needed something extra: Animals.
But having gotten no encouragement or word back from the committee,
I'm not so sure it's what they wanted. Hmm.

"The fragrance of a flower brings peace to the soul"

Lisa Jastram bunny etegami

This cutie pie frog peeking out of a tulip.
It's a play on words "kaeru ga mieru". I can see a frog!
In smaller letters, the words of hide and seek:
"Are you ready?
"Not yet!"

Lisa Jastram frog etegami

This is one of my favorites. The frog is clinging to an anthirium flower.
He says "I'm OK if I'm alone as long as I have a flower"
One of my friends pointed out it looks very phallic.
Ha Ha Ha
Lisa Jastram etegami

I sure think that fuchsia look like dancers!!!

Lisa Jastram flower etegami

Nostalgic trip to Japan November, 2017

I lived in Japan for almost 16 years as the daughter of missionaries.
I grew up in Shizuoka where I actually attended Japanese school for 3 years.
Then, a small missionary school was developed where I went until it was time to go to high school in Tokyo. The American School in Japan. that's where I met my future husband, Dave Jastram, who was a missionary kid from Niigata.

We had returned to Japan for a visit in 1982 and now here it was 2018
 and we were finally going back for a long overdo visit.
Our only question was: why did we wait so long??

Here are some etegami painted after the visit. Great memories!!

In Shizuoka, we were treated to a very fancy meal at the location of
 the last Shogun's summer residence: Tokugawa Shogun.
 It was probably the fanciest meal I've ever had in Japan.
Translation: "Shizuoka Specialties. I don't know what I was eating but it was delicious!"

Lisa Jastram etegami

In Niigata, we stayed with my husband's high school friends.
They had an old fashioned pit in their tatami living room
and the gracious host put on a tea ceremony for us.
Translation "OK. Let's have some tea.
this quiet tea ceremony calms us"

teapot Lisa Jastram etegami

There is an endangered species of bird called crested Asian ibis in the Niigata area which nest across the water in Russian territory. The two countries are working together to bring it back from close to extinction. These are little clay dolls representing the birds.

Lisa Jastram etegami 

Daruma are usually round dolls but in Niigata they are a most interesting shape!
Lisa Jastram etegami
We went to the great Salmon museum near Niigata.
"The urge to return to your roots is strong,
and one of the joys of our lives."
The first attempts at salmon conservation and management occurred her
way back in the 1700s. Awesome!

Lisa Jastram etegami

Dave and his brother had a hankering for their favorite "sasadango".
 . Sasa dango rice cakes wrapped with bamboo leaves is a traditional sweet from the Nigata prefecture. 

Lisa Jastram etegami 

The fish market was amazing!!
But kind of sad to see all these little fish in perpetual shock!
Lisa Jastram etegami

When our host asked us what we would like for lunch,
I quickly chimed in "sushi!".
Truth is, we'd been in Japan 1.5 weeks and hadn't had any sushi yet.
Our host took us to a wonderful sushi restaurant 
where we ate the best I've ever had.
And too much of it for sure :)

I had my son Andrew in mind when I painted this.
No need to ask him where he wants to eat out!

Lisa Jastram etegami
Wow, that was a LOT of sushi!!

 Every summer, we went up to Nojiriko (Lake Nojiri) 
to escape the heat of the Kanto Plains.
For many of us, it holds our dearest memories.
So wonderful to go back there and find it relatively untouched by time.
Lisa Jastram etegami

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Japanese theme etegami

An acquaintance from Japan was running a restaurant in New York City.
It was called Yasha Ramen.
Yasha 夜叉 やしゃ. TRANSLATION: yaksha; demon gods from Buddhist cosmology

 She asked if I would paint some etegami and she would put them on the wall of the restaurant and sell them for me.
I was thrilled and began painting many Japanese themed etegami

You cannot tell by looking at this one but I used gold paint to make it quite metallic.
There are not many quotes about demons which are positive,
but this one by Andrea Bolt is perfect, I think!
Lisa Jastram etegami

Again I used gold on this demon mask. The saying is "feed your demon".
I added the "preferably ramen" because it would be in a ramen restaurant :)

Lisa Jastram etegami

I used the sharpened chopstick to make the details in this ramen.
The blobs that result from that add interest to the picture.

Lisa Jastram etegami

Painted this kokeshi doll
and found such a beautiful saying to go with it.
I have felt this way several times in life when I just wanted to sleep and sleep.
But when I finally woke up, I was ready to move mountains

Lisa Jastram etegami

This cute little kokeshi caught my eye
She is not svelte nor exotically beautiful.
But Eleanor Roosevelt reminds us of what true beauty is.
Lisa Jastram etegami

In true etegami, you accept your paintings, warts and all.
Even if you make a "mistake", it should be part of your art.
Well, this little girl ended up with a ridiculous eyebrow due to the
blobbing of the chopstick technique. but it certainly draws attention to her eyes!
Lisa jastram etegami

On a sad note, the restaurant was shut down due to a gas leak and has never re-opened.
I had the etegami ready to send but never were they to be hung on the walls in NYC.
Those bare walls would have been a lovely place for etegami.Sigh