I can’t go for too many months without drawing a maiko or geiko (geisha). The last one was finished in September 2013 – so – time for another. I try to be restrained but I continue to sprinkle a few throughout each year because I can’t help it! I drew a portrait of Satohana last year (“Waiting“) and it was intended for my up-coming exhibition in September 2014. However late last year it sold so I embarked on another portrait of her a couple of weeks ago; not from the same photo of course, as I had taken several of her. This time I used crayon within the composition so it has a different texture to the first portrait which had been entirely coloured pencils. In fact this is the first time I have used crayon within a maiko or geiko drawing.
I called the drawing “Blue Angel” as the name has an other-worldly suggestion to it. Seeing a maiko or geiko, a friend who visited Kyoto wrote to me, is like coming across a unicorn. She is such a rare and glorious sight, enveloped in mystery, materializing as if from another dimension. I also use ‘blue’ in the context of mood. Satohana looks introspective as she waits outside the theatre after the Kamishichiken spring dance she had just performed in. The combination of atmosphere, profile, downcast eyes, hair accessory (kanzashi), white face and black hair reminds me of the piece of New York street art I drew in January 2014 called “Low”. Both pensive subjects are ‘contained’; framed within their stylized clothes and blue-grey environments.
Did I think of geisha when this street art ‘spoke’ to me last August in New York? Not at all. It was only when coming across Satohana in my photo file recently that I made a connection.
To jog your memory if you were reading my posts last year, or to introduce you if you weren’t, here is another drawing of Satohana. She was waiting for a family group in the top drawing. She was very relieved and joyous when they finally emerged from the theatre. In “Rare View” she is walking away with (perhaps) her little sister. Because I had never seen a maiko holding hands with a child before, I called the drawing “Rare View”. I was playing with similar-sounding words because this is also a ‘rear view’.
The two drawings are identical in size. They would make a lovely pair. Perth people will see them at Elements Art Gallery in September.