Speed of Life
For the past fortnight I have been working on “Speed of Life” – a title I borrowed from David Bowie’s album “Low”. (Thanks again, David Bowie.)
I caught this magical moment when Satsuki dashed across Shijo-dori with a big smile (as she recognised a friend) on the night of her Erikae last year. I wanted to show Satsuki’s energy, vibrancy and speed. (Maiko and geiko are ALWAYS rushing!)
I had wanted to draw this for months but the original source photo had so much road surface in it that it put me off. Also, the light behind Satsuki cut off part of her nose. It was only recently I realised that I had other profile photos of her which I could refer to, enabling me to give her a nose. And then – those lights behind … I complained to Matthew, “You won’t be able to see her face because of those bright lights”. We had a discussion. He convinced me that the viewer wouldn’t really have to see her face as the title (which I’d already come up with) suggested to the viewer that he/she was looking at the whole figure moving at speed. OK. Matthew convinced me so I was prepared to give it a go. (Thanks again, Matthew.) In the end, you can see the face pretty well after all!
Even though I cropped the composition so that I didn’t have too much road surface to cover, it was still a considerable amount. The first layer of colour I put on the paper was with Caran d’Ache Neocolor II. Having this crayon as a base then made it much easier and faster to cover and build the road surface with pencils.
Not all maiko and geiko are as great as Satsuki. No wonder I want to keep drawing her!
Below are the other drawings of Satsuki which will be included in my September 2016 exhibition.
Finally, a photo of the night I gave Satsuki her portrait. This was taken 48 hours before I took the photo which I used for “Speed of Life”.