Coloured pencil drawing of Katsutomo. 370 x 460 mm. June 2017
“Entrance 1. the act or an instance of going or coming in; a door, passage etc. by which one enters; right of admission; the coming of an actor on stage.” “Entrance 2. enchant, delight; put into a trance; overwhelm with strong feeling.” (The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary)
In September 2015 I took many photos of Katsutomo during her erikae (when she become a Geiko). This month, June 2017, I have made my third drawing from this auspicious occasion.
Two previous drawings of Katsutomo …
A Reflective Moment
330 x 490 mm, 2015
365 x 510 mm, 2015
and when she was still a Maiko…
Here she is in my drawing “The Art of Elegance”, 2014
I have recently been invited to exhibit my drawings at Kidogo Arthouse – 7th to 20th September 2017 – hence a return to memories – and new drawings – of Kyoto. My co-exhibitor will be Ceramicist, Stewart Scambler. This is a Gallery East exhibition.
Kimihiro and Kimitoyo
A touch of Gustav Klimt; surely the obi on the right was influenced by his art.
Three weeks ago today I happened across the Erikae of Kimihiro of Miyagawa-cho. Here are eight of my favourite photos from this most fortunate of spontaneous photo-shoots.
I took the top photo during the Erikae walk. I was one of a hoard of photographers. But then it was all over. The photographers dispersed. Half a dozen of us remained, chatting, deciding what to do next – when Kimihiro surprised us by coming back out of her okiya.
Kimihiro’s sister, Kimitoyo, appeared; I don’t even remember where she came from. Perhaps she also came out of the okiya. It is all a blur in my mind. They delighted us by posing with a baby. Possibly the baby was related to them or she could have been the neighbour’s baby. (Yes, the baby’s mother was there too, standing to one side.)
Kimihiro, Kimitoyo and the baby.
Kimitoyo and the baby.
It was such a happy time of posing. How often have I seen a maiko holding a baby? Never – until that moment.
Kimihiro outside her okiya.
Three is a GOOD crowd – Kimihiro and Kimitoyo are joined by Fukutomo.
Fukutama can’t help but smile at the celebrations as she passes by.
I like this photo because of the delicate hand position of Kimitoyo, reminding us that these young women are custodians of traditional Japanese PERFORMING ARTS.
I was over-the-moon to be able to photograph the small ‘happening’ after the erikae walk. Occasionally I will know in advance that an erikae or misedashi will be on while I am in Kyoto but I didn’t know about this one. What a gift!
Related post: Sisters (my first post about Kimihiro and Kimitoyo)
I made a spontaneous visit to Kyoto last week. As far as I knew nothing was happening; no erikae or misedashi (debuts). I planned to walk and photograph for three days and hoped that I would find some good material for drawing. Imagine my surprise when on the second day I walked into an erikae! It was the erikae of Kimihiro of Miyagawa-cho. I was incredulous and gobsmacked! But there was no time to be a stunned mullet. I gathered up my wits and got straight to work with my camera.
Today I have been sifting through 800+ images from my three Kyoto days and printing a great many of them. The top photo moved me to stop what I was doing and quickly write a blog post. The photo is of Kimihiro and her younger sister, Kimitoyo. I don’t mean just geiko/maiko sisters but REAL sisters. Kimitoyo looks so proud of her big sister. You can see there is love, respect and admiration between these two girls.
This interaction came when the official erikae walk was over. Kimihiro went inside her okiya and at that point most of the photographers left. I was chatting to a friend when, surprisingly, Kimihiro came back outside with Kimitoyo. Only a handful of people witnessed this sisterly scene. There was much posing, chatting and laughing – and happily for me, tolerance of the photographers.
Related post: Kimihiro and Kimitoyo more photos from the Erikae of Kimihiro
Speed of Life
“Speed of Life”
Neocolor II and coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle smooth.
285 x 415 mm. June 2016
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!
The original source photo.
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.
Oh! You Pretty Things
(Satsuki on the left)
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”.
Artist and her muse
A portrait of Katsutomo-san
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.
A Reflective Moment
“A Reflective Moment” coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle hot-pressed paper, 356 gsm.
When I started to draw “A Reflective Moment” on October 15th, I was full of trepidation. My previous drawing on Velin BFK Rives had fallen through so my confidence was at an all-time low. For this new drawing I was trying a paper for the first time called Arches Aquarelle (a hot-pressed watercolour paper). I’m never good at trying new things so it is not surprising that I was out of my comfort zone. Alarm bells were ringing and I had to stop myself from ripping up the drawing in a fit of pique – “It’ll never work out!” Fortunately a calm inner voice held steady and stopped me from wreaking havoc.
Surreptitiously as I worked, a small something started to make its presence felt; enjoyment. ‘Perhaps this paper was going to be okay after all. Perhaps I hadn’t forgotten how to draw.’ I started with the face and hair and before long they were looking acceptable. Once I could see the direction the drawing was taking, I relaxed. The tide of doubt went out, to be replaced by an incoming tide of optimism.
The drawing in its early stage.
I called the drawing “A Reflective Moment” with Katsutomo-san’s introspective demeanour in mind. There are reflections throughout the drawing too; in the hair, obi and kimono as well as in the vertical panes of glass behind her. In fact the reflection of part of my hat and arm are in the glass panes; you’d never know it was me but I know I’m there. (I had a blue shirt on.)
In the end, this time at least, I have triumphed over my doubts. I have found a paper which suits me. It is like acquiring a new friend. I remember why I draw; for the sheer love of it. When I misplaced that love recently, drawing seemed pointless, therefore I didn’t want to partake in it. But I guided myself out of that empty place and here I am, back in a haven where creativity is possible.
Out of reflective moments come clarity of vision.
Go Around Again
15th September 2015 was second day of Katsutomo-san’s Erikae. A few photographers and I accompanied her on ’round 2′ as she paid her respects around Gion.
Just like coming out on stage; but the stage was the street.
Here she was; relaxed and happy.
For a while Katsutomo-san stood in front of her Okiya posing for photos.
We followed Katsutomo-san and her Otokoshi as they did the rounds.
This was a pleasant stroll with a few photographers (both amateur and professional) – as opposed to a mob of paparazzi.
Tsurui Okiya is at the end of this tiny lane.
This is the café where there is always a break in proceedings for refreshments. My reflection selfie made it into this photo.
I forgot to say that Otokoshi nipped into the Okiya to get a wahigasa for Katsutomo-san. I was delighted as this is a very photogenic accessory. (ps a parasol)
Wahigasa and lantern juxtaposition. Nice.
Another ‘selfie’ reflection sidled in to the photo. (I never notice these things until later.)
Circle and partially folded circle.
Crossing Shirakawa stream.
Through traditional Gion streets…
Circle with globe
This was a very hot day like the first day of the Erikae walk. The wahigasa was very much appreciated by its owner.
Composition with red circles and yellow rectangles.
Back on Shijo-dori. Passers-by were happy to see such a lovely Geiko.
Katsutomo-san folded and unfolded her wahigasa a few times just here to give us photographic opportunities.
Thank you, Katsutomo-san, for a wonderful two hours. I wish you every success as Geiko-san.
To view the photos from the day before, see A Walk with Katsutomo-san
I hope you clicked on the photos to enlarge them.