Simple yet full, this small work by Sakai Hōitsu represents a unique paradox of painting from a master of the Rinpa School. Against the typical vibrant, decorative Rinpa sensibility, this work stands as testament to a voluminous calmness. It contains all of the energy of Rinpa without theatrical statement, imbuing the simple form of a pine tree with subtle intensity. As with the best painting of its kind, this work represents the utter risk and reward of Japanese ink painting, executed with masterful ease. The thinly applied strokes of a few sparing gestures of deep green and inky brown pigment on paper communicate an utter lusciousness of form. It is form, with its mass and richness, rather than a preoccupation with thin linearity, which distinguishes the sensibility of this piece from other paintings of its kind. Hōitsu does not shy from width and volume; his pine tree is defined by an embrace of large, full strokes made confidently and with a wide brush. Areas of wet and dry brushing create line and an illusion of earthly texture, suggesting the uneven material feeling of a pine tree’s bark and needles. Yet Hōitsu’s technique of Tarashikomi, in which colors are dripped or brushed into wet ink, creates dark areas of bleeding fluidity across the page, establishing a literal flow between the colors and shapes within this small work. Even Hōitsu’s signature serves rhythmic purpose, echoing the thin flourishes of ink strokes under the rightmost branch. The painting itself is strange in its own quiet way. It is not the full view of a tree, but only a cropped version, a discerning partial glance. What may otherwise appear as a casual recording belies the refined sensibility of an artist like Hōitsu, a masterful grace that doesn’t prod its viewer for attention. In this way, it is a triumphant but covert example of Rinpa sensibility, purely distilled by Hōitsu’s own quiet meditation on nature.