Monthly Archives: January 2016


Fascination Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle smooth 300 gsm 200 x 265 mm. January 2016

Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle smooth 300 gsm
200 x 265 mm.
January 2016

What was I doing when I found out about David Bowie’s death three days ago?  I was drawing this.  So when it came time to give the drawing a name, I wanted to use a title of one of Bowie’s songs.  That way, the drawing would be my private homage to him.  The song “Fascination” from the album “Young Americans” fitted the bill perfectly.

What is my fascination here?  Kyoto, sakura, geisha, illumination, dusk, transience.  The Japanese admire sakura (cherry blossom) because it represents the beautiful fragility of life.  It bursts into flower and gives people tremendous pleasure, but it lasts such a very short time.  Soon the ground is carpeted with fallen petals.  It reminds them (and us) of how fleeting life is.

“Spent some time in old Kyoto/Sleeping on the matted ground”.*  David Bowie.

*Lines from “Move On” from the album “Lodger”.


Transition coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle 300 gsm smooth January 2016

  217 x 425 mm
January 2016

“Transition” is the second drawing (just finished) from a source photo I took back in 2013. It is the transition; the half-light, between day and evening.  As the natural light fades over Pontocho, so the artificial lights in that narrow lane pop on.  I drew from a smaller section of the composition just a couple of weeks ago and called it “Love Story”.

Love Story 200 x 230 mm 2015

Love Story
200 x 230 mm

This brings me to a chicken and egg story.  Which came first?  I originally thought there was a similarity in spirit between Kyoto and Paris when I did an early drawing of Pontocho back in 2006.  I used to look at “Illuminating Dusk” on my wall and think of Paris.

Illuminating Dusk Drawn in 2006.

Illuminating Dusk
Drawn in 2006.

From 2010 to 2014 I visited Paris several times and drew many Paris drawings which were sometimes out-of-focus and usually emphasizing quality of light.  It was during this period when I visited Kyoto (March 2013).  Because I had light and blurriness on my mind, I took deliberate out-of-focus photos of Kyoto urbanscapes during my stay.

Recently (late 2015) after the terrorist attacks took place in Paris, I looked at images of my French drawings and posted a blog about them.  In light of the attacks, I was reminiscing about my time in that gorgeous city.

Marais Impression 2011

Marais Impression

Scarlet Pigalle 2011

Scarlet Pigalle

Revisiting the Paris drawings answered my what to draw next question last month.  I found myself being irresistibly drawn to the set of blurry Kyoto urbanscapes I had taken in 2013.

Kyoto lights/Paris lights/Kyoto lights.  “What goes around, comes around”.  How often I quote that saying and how relevant it is to my art practice.

Transition small size

To have a look at some of my other out-of-focus drawings, I invite you to view the page “Subject 3: Lights and Blur”  Among other things,  there is a short explanation on how I take out-of-focus photos in case you would like to try taking your own.  Also relevant to today’s post is Subject 1: Kyoto to Paris .