Passage Coloured pencils, Caran d'Ache Neocolor and Neopastels. 360 x 460 cm. March 2015

Coloured pencils, Caran d’Ache Neocolor and Neopastels. 360 x 460 cm. March 2015

On the first day that I was in Kyoto in February, I stood at the threshold of this Gion passage.  I waited.  Perhaps if I stood long enough and hoped intensely enough, a person would emerge from one of the doorways.  Especially if that person was wearing kimono, what a wonderful picture it would make.  The dark wood and its shadows in the stone path would create a compositional frame within a frame.  All eyes would travel the length of the passage to the figure carrying her load.

So much of my subject-search involves an idea and then patience.  This was no exception.  (“Please please come along somebody!”)

And suddenly there she was; a waitress perhaps – carrying out chores before the patrons arrived.  I had my subject.

The passage was probably built in the 19th century.  Pipes and wires tell us that times are modern however for the most part, it is a timeless scene.  When I was working on the drawing earlier in the week I took a ‘hand selfie’ and put it on Facebook.  A friend perceptively wrote “[It is] like you are reaching into another world”.  Exactly!

work in progress earlier this week

9 thoughts on “Passage

  1. occasionalartist

    What a wonderful composition Julie, there are so many cleaver things going on it this picture. The dark start of the alleyway to the light ending, a tunnel into a new world, I like the double flash of yellow with the plants and the lantern? At the end. But my very favourite are the cobblestones, these are stunning. Only you can make an alley such a vibrant composition. You are back with a vengeance after your wonderful trips. Karen

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Thanks Karen, I guess I was soaking up the atmosphere of history when I stood in front of the passage. Imagine all the people and their stories in 200 years of walking on those flagstones. I do love mystery. I like to ponder on questions even when I don’t necessarily want to know the answers. What I mean is, if I don’t find out the answers, then I can keep enjoying a sense of unsolved mystery.

  2. Ann Kullberg

    I do that same thing…that’s why I’m a horrible person to go to a history museum with. I stand and look at an item forever, wondering who held it in the past? Who shaped it? How often was it used? How long did they live. What kind of life did they have? Oh, it’s gruesome for anyone accompanying me, as you can imagine how slow I am. Drives my daughter nuts because these aren’t even actually THOUGHTS…I have to conjure up PICTURES for all these random questions!

    Love this piece, Julie…and really LOVE what your friend said about the selfie!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Some things you just have to do by yourself, Ann. I am best in a gallery by myself too for the same reason as you say. And as for photographing on the streets of Kyoto, any person accompanying me would very soon suggest we go our separate ways and meet later for coffee. (Fine with me.)

  3. anna warren portfolio

    This drawing really captures me Julie, not sure why. The sense of being drawn in, and the mystery of the girl, busy in her work, carrying a mysterious box, and the light coming in at the end of the alleyway – what is just around the corner? Where is she going? It also has the sense of peeping into someone else’s world, that tantalising back view again. The colours are warm, welcoming with a sense of settled antiquity that persists in the present. And, it is your photorealist style, yet it is so NOT a photo. Wonderful. I think this is an absolute favourite.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Panels, Anna, Panels – just like in your work! It is just a set of interrelated rectangles – all speaking to one another. The panel of the obi ‘speaks’ to those panels of paving stones. That’s how I see it. And the tight spaces make for a sort of intimacy. Glad you like it – so do I!

  4. Camilla Loveridge

    What a moment in time, Julie!!…I’m currently drawing a 94 year old lady, I’ve entitled “In Her Presence”…as I feel all her facial furrows lead to this moment in time, the time of her sitting in front of me as I draw her. Exciting concept, isn’t it!

    Camilla x

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Time – something which is often an element in my subject matter. Time and timelessness. “In Her Presence” – for Black Swan? Is your subject telling you stories from her past as you draw her?


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