Louis Copt has attempted to say more with less in his latest painting.
"The scenes that you leave out are as important as the ones you leave in," he said.
Copt, 41, recently spent about two weeks producing a watercolor view of Lawrence that shows a winter landscape.
That painting is now on its way to Japan, a gift to the city of Hiratsuka. It will be presented to officials in Hiratsuka this week during ceremonies that officially will signal the beginning of a sister city relationship between Lawrence and Hiratsuka, a city of about 244,000.
The painting, "View of Lawrence from Shank Hill Road," was completed using photographs that Copt had taken as he stood a few miles southwest of the city.
"I painted Lawrence in the wintertime because you can see more of the landscape its not covered up with leaves or grass. And it gives a sense of the open space that we have here," he said.
Copt is one of 14 Lawrence delegates who are traveling to Japan today for the sister city ceremonies.
Although he has never been to Asia, Copt said he's always had an interest in Asian art.
"I like the way traditional Japanese paintings are done," he said. "I try to combine Western and Eastern techniques when I do watercolors."
Copt says he was asked to do a painting of Lawrence by a member of Friends of Hiratsuka City, a local group that has advocated the sister city arrangement.
"I was honored to be able to do it," he said.
Funding for the painting came from corporate sponsors. The painting was given to the city of Lawrence to present to Hiratsuka city officials.
The painting is 20 inches wide and 60 inches long.
A statement written by Copt and translated into Japaneese will be displayed next to the painting when it is unveiled in Hiratsuka.
"It is traditional to place a statement next to a piece of art," Copt said of displaying works in Japan.
"They want to know more about it than just looking at it," he said.
In the statement, Copt says the subject matter is far from Oriental, but that influence of Asian painting comes through.
"In Kansas, one is constantly aware of the weather . . . storms approaching, clear blue skies, blinding blizzards . . . all against a backdrop of this immense sea of land," he wrote.
"This is reflected in my work. I try to communicate the power of the landscape, its individual nature and sense of place," it says.