Monthly Archives: November 2015

A New Day in Gion

A New Day in Gion Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle paper. 300 x 450 mm. November 2015

A New Day in Gion
Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle paper.
300 x 450 mm. November 2015

While I waited for Katsutomo-san to come out of her okiya on the second day of her Erikae, I took in my surroundings.  Looking north up Hanamikoji dori, I saw the bobbing red lanterns and the red stop sign, itself masquerading as a lantern.

“A New Day in Gion” celebrates this fresh new day.  The sun, still low in the sky, lights up some areas of the street but not yet others, making for a dance of shadows and illuminations.

Each new day is a kind of rebirth; a chance for possibilities and inspiration…especially a new day in Gion.

Being There blog size

A little later I got my inspiration when Katsutomo-san appeared.  It was to be a day celebrating the colour red.

p.s.  technical note:  how to get luminous reds – lay down a light layer of white pencil on the paper before applying the red.

Browse Contents of Posts index

Thinking About Paris

Marais Impression 2011

Marais Impression

Tonight I felt moved to re-watch Woody Allen’s film “Midnight in Paris”.  I was reminded (as if I needed reminding) what a sensationally beautiful city Paris is.  Clearly Allen was as seduced by the city as I (and so many of us) have been – and will continue to be.

Moulin Rouge 2011

Moulin Rouge

After watching the film, I decided to post a few Paris drawings which were made before I had a blog.  I had spent December of 2010 in that city with my family.  What a joy to explore Paris over a whole month and to capture images which I would spend the next three to four years drawing.

Luminous Morning 2011

Luminous Morning

It had been a particularly cold December.  I encountered fog, rain, snow, sleet, hail and just the smallest bit of sunshine.  Most of my drawings contain wet streets.

Place Blanche 2011

Place Blanche

Café on the Left Bank 2011

Café on the Left Bank

The best place I found for getting views above Paris was The Pompidou Centre – at the top of the escalators.  Focussing first on the view and then on the glass pane itself, I got very different effects – all of which I made extremely detailed drawings of.

Snow on Les Halles 2012

Snow on Les Halles

Diffusion 2012


Snow Showers 2012

Snow Showers

Back at street level, I LOVED the novelty of slushy snow – until it soaked through my inadequate footwear.

Tempête de neige 2012

Tempête de neige

Paris en hiver 2011

Paris en hiver

I returned in 2012 and 2013 and made enough drawings for two solo exhibitions.  Those familiar streets became my friends, and remain my friends.

Conversations at Dusk 2012

Conversations at Dusk

Have you visited Paris?  I wonder what your thoughts are?

Le Georges Rose 2012

Le Georges Rose

November 2016:  I never thought, when I wrote this post last November, that I would return to Paris within twelve months.  I was there last month and am now starting a whole new body of work from this mesmerizing city.

"Somewhere" November 2016

November 2016

So much more to follow…

Being There

Being There portrait of Katsutomo-san November 2015 Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle 365 x 510 mm

“Being There”
A portrait of Katsutomo-san
November 2015
Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle
365 x 510 mm

“Being There” refers to the viewer probably more than it does to Katsutomo-san, herself.

During the Kyoto photo-shoot on 15th September 2015, I am inspired by what I see.  I grab the image with a camera click. So quick.  Later on, back in my studio, it takes much time and patience (the painstaking part of the process) to transform a long-ago moment into a state of here-and-now permanence with coloured pencils on a piece of Arches Aquarelle paper.

As you look at the drawing, you become Katsutomo-san’s audience as well.  You and I are both present as Katsutomo-san poses for us on day two of her Erikae.