Japanese Garden, Koi, and Crane Paintings



I’m excited to reveal my newest series: Japanese Garden. Each of these originals will be available in the Big 500 show. opening this Saturday, Dec 13, for just $40 each plus prints are also now in the RPS shop.  These pieces make a unique gift for a garden lover!
View all Japanese series prints and print sets in the shop.

This series of eight small paintings (8″ x 8″) celebrates the constancy and beauty of nature amidst the changing cycles of the year. I believe we can learn a lot from nature. The first four pieces reflect the special energy of each season. For each piece, I drew the same basic scene on all panels and added a Sashiko pattern background to match the energy of the season. See more pictures from the beginning of this series in my last post. In the garden, certain things endure such as trees, ponds and stones while other elements change gracefully through time like light, plants, flower and leaves. Each season has a purpose and a unique energy.

Winter is a time of rest, nurturing and stillness, a time to admire what beautiful qualities still remain in our core. Seeds underground begin to gestate which will bring new life in the spring. In the winter garden, trees hold majestic forms swaying with the wind, glistening with ice and dew.

Japanese Garden- Winter © Robin Phillips Studio        

The spring garden sprouts new life! The days are lighter and brighter. This is the season of re-emergence and beautiful new beginnings. Birds chirp happily and possibilities abound now.

Japanese Garden- Spring © Robin Phillips Studio

In summer, the garden is abundant, decadently filled with fruits and flowers. The lush, green grass is soft and warm under our feet.

Japanese Garden- Summer © Robin Phillips Studio

The fall garden withers gracefully with jewel tones in it’s final days. As the earth winds down to rest,
the wind blows, and seeds scatter for the future.

Japanese Garden- Spring © Robin Phillips Studio

In various Asian traditions, Koi are known to symbolize happiness, wealth, long life and good fortune. Their vibrant colors and enthusiastic feeding bring me great joy 🙂

Koi Pond I © Robin Phillips Studio


Koi Pond II © Robin Phillips Studio
Koi Blessings © Robin Phillips Studio

Red-crowned cranes are known in many Asian traditions to also symbolize longevity, happiness, good luck, and peace. I think they are the most stunning birds. Many cranes have become  endangered species due to loss of wetlands. Learn more at International Crane Foundation. 20% of sales from my print Crane Blessings will benefit this Foundation from my home state of Wisconsin 🙂

Crane Blessings © Robin Phillips Studio

Print sets are also now available for the first time in the RPS shop!  Japanese Garden is a set of 4 and Koi Pond set of 3. Buy the prints together for a special price. Don’t they look nice displayed together? Choose from 6×6 or 8×8. 🙂

Japanese Garden print set of 4


Koi Pond print set of 3

We expanded our own Japanese garden bed (one of the several beds in our garden) this year with more asian plants, a hand-tied bamboo fence (yotsume-gaki), a waterfall, flagstone patio, stepping stones, solar-powered entry lanterns, and a new koi pond! And most recently, we added 20 fish this fall. Now that it’s December, they are deep into their hibernation time. Koi rest and do not eat all winter when it gets below 50 degrees. The overall design is modeled after the traditional hill-pond style Japanese garden. It took a lot of work, but it was a joy as artists/craftspeople/gardeners who love nature!

Winter…. (before expansion)

Spring…. (adding the pond, removing weeds, adding new soil and new plantings)


Summer… (growing, growing!)
Some of the main plants in the garden are japanese maples, black lace
sambucus, pieris japonica, peonies, azaleas, dwarf spruce, mondo grass,
japanese painted ferns, crocosmia, japanese spurge grass and japanese

West/main entrance to garden with patio


A golden Buddha with healing Lapis stone sits above the pond…


North entrance to the garden

Fall… (with new Koi pond)

South entrance to the garden

To deter herons and raccoons, we put up a net and cover for the pond… it works pretty well!



“There is meaning in every stone, reason in every plant and tree, and in every shadow a story”
-Portland Japanese Garden

If you are in/around Portland, OR, do visit the Portland Japanese Garden! This 5 acre garden is beautiful in every season and offers a pond garden, stone garden, teahouses, waterfalls, authentic stone pathways and more.

Winter blessings to you!