I was taking a break from painting one night and I stumbled upon this mind blowing illustration in a dog eared October 2002 National Geographic laying around my friend’s kitchen. I abruptly dropped the conversation I was having and gazed, dumbfounded. A quick glance at the artist’s credit revealed Kazuhiko Sano. Although my gut instincts told me I’d seen this artist’s work before, the name didn’t occur to me instantly the way my favorite artists usually do. I’m fairly familiar with Kazuhiko’s work but for whatever reason, he had never stuck in my mind as one of “those artists.” In other words: a master. This illustration changed my perception immediately. The sheer breadth of atmosphere and space involved in this picture is incredible. The palette is one of the most impressive elements in this painting, with gorgeous golden hues transcending into beautiful pinks and violets. Whenever I see a particular piece like this, I feel immediately galvanized and inspired. I have a feeling that this is the sort of painting I’ll be striving to create in twenty, even thirty years time. Sadly, Kazuhiko Sano passed away last summer. Nonetheless, his incredible talent lives on in his work and continues to inspire young artists such as myself.