Monthly Archives: October 2014

Step by Step

Step by Step

Step by Step is a drawing in pencils and wax pastels completed on 29 th October 2014.

Two women with umbrellas approach one another in Miyagawa-cho, Kyoto.  One is a young woman who happens to be a maiko.   Her gait is fluid, she walks tall and her umbrella is the colour of sakura (cherry blossom).  She radiates ease and elegance.  The woman at the other end of the street is rather a contrast.  She is in the shadows, her back is bent and her walk is arthritic.  Her clothes are utilitarian and her umbrella is black.

Step by step youth strides out.  Each day in a life is such a small unit of time.  We don’t even think about time as we busy ourselves.  How the months fly by!  January is suddenly June and … how did it get to be November?  In no time at all old age can be seen up ahead approaching with certainty.  Well, we are the fortunate ones who can see our older selves approaching…it means we are still alive.

Literally the drawing depicts two women walking towards one another.   Metaphorically it alludes to life paths, the passage of time and (ultimately) mortality…but only if you want it to.

***

Seconds after I digitally captured an image which froze two figures in time, their paths crossed.   They greeted and bowed to one another with sincerity and mutual respect.

Afterword:  “Step by Step” has won the $2000 EXPY and CPSA (Colored Pencil Society of America) Great Explorations and Best of Show Award.  1st February, 2015.

I have been interviewed by CPSA.  Here is the interview in two parts:  Part I  and Part II

Related post:   Based on a True Story

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Diamonds

Diamonds 410 x 410 mm. 14th October 2014 Coloured pencil drawing by Julie Podstolski

Diamonds
410 x 410 mm.
14th October 2014
Coloured pencil drawing by Julie Podstolski

The title of my drawing “Diamonds” refers to the diamond shapes in the footpath and also to the three maiko who walk upon them.  The elegance and grace of Satsuki, Katsutomo and Mameroku, coupled with their rich fabric ensembles, make them a vision to behold.  Even a thoroughly urban Kyoto street is transformed by their presence.  They glow.

When looking at the source photo, the diamond-shaped paving stones caught my eye first and – as chance would have it -the almost diamond-shaped grouping of the three maiko which “spoke” to those stones.  What a lovely conversation of shapes!

The source photo

The source photo

I made many changes from the source photo to the drawing; cancelling unnecessary shapes and people plus pushing and pulling colours around to emphasize or minimize areas as required.  The whole process was a joy, from start to finish.

May 15th, 2015.  “Diamonds” was awarded the ‘Works on Paper Commendation’ at City of Wanneroo Art Awards.  The judges comments are as follows: This work on paper is created in coloured pencil.  The technical use of the medium is unsurpassed.  The softness of shading and capturing of light and shade is excellent.  There is a wonder to the geisha walking through the modern landscape.”

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Hello Introvert Self

work in progress on the slab

work in progress on the slab

It was fun to air Extrovert Self for three weeks during the art exhibition.  Every two years I take Extrovert Self out of the cupboard, hose her down and trot her out.   For the duration of the show I have to keep her scrupulously clean and think about what she will wear each day.  She has to sparkle as much as it is possible for her to do.  She enjoys herself but gets tired with the socializing nonetheless.

At the end of the exhibition it takes a period of transition (a couple of weeks) to deflate herself enough to fit back into the cupboard.  She kind of hangs around for a bit, wondering if she is still required or not.  Eventually she understands that her biannual outing is over and goes back in without a struggle.

Hello Introvert Self.  You’re back.  So good to have you back.  Introvert Self likes nothing better than to sit alone in a room for hours at a time and draw.  Listening to good old New Zealand music (The Chills) she feels completely at peace with the world.

She is wearing the same daggy clothes day after day.  Her hair is unwashed.  She is a sight! But she doesn’t care; in fact, revels in it.   Introvert Self doesn’t talk much.  She immerses herself in her subject matter.   She goes for a walk each day and she draws.  (And she thinks of Matthew.)

Life is Beautiful!

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