I started “Jewel” three times on three different papers. Talk about obstinate; I wouldn’t give up. The first attempt was on a paper which I thought was Stonehenge but it turned out not to be. The second attempt was on Fabriano Artistico. Horrors. I couldn’t layer the way I wanted and I ended up chucking it. Third time (I had to be pretty sure I wanted to draw this by now) was on Velin BFK Rives. After the Artistico it was such a relief to be back on the Rives even though it was only my second drawing using it.
What do I think of Rives? I feel that it is a more challenging paper to work on than Pescia. However it is worth the extra effort. Colours and textures both seem richer on Rives than on Pescia. I miss the ease of Pescia however I admire the Rives look. It is a paper that refuses to be merely a passive support. It demands to actively participate, its heavy texture bosses the pencil around. “Here I am!” states Velin BFK Rives (how French).
When I showed daughter, Lucy, this drawing she said, “It’s a jewel”. As I had been playing with the word as a title anyway, at that moment “Jewel” was set in stone. My aim had been to convey Satsuki-san as a jewel in her red, black and gold sakko outfit. I also wanted the illuminations in the plate glass windows across the road to play their part – to add to the warmth and drama of Satsuki-san’s ensemble.
So what is sakko? It is a period (about a fortnight) of transition between being a maiko and becoming a geiko. I quote Komomo-san from her book “A Geisha’s Journey: My Life as a Kyoto Apprentice”- “A maiko is supposed to look cute and childish, whereas a geiko should look elegant and grown-up, and the sakko is the period during which we make that change.”
I travelled to Kyoto in February just to see Satsuki-san’s debut as geiko. There will, without doubt, be more drawings of her yet. She is a muse to many photographers as well as to this Australasian artist.
The images below show the progress of the drawing. The first three are taken with my I-phone and the last with my Nikon D90 – which explains the difference in image quality.
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