Tag Archives: Katsutomo

Entrance

“Entrance”
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

Being There
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.

 

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.

A Reflective Moment

"A Reflective Moment" coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle hot-pressed paper, 356 gsm.

“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.

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 another walk.

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.

Katsutomo-san emerges for the second day of her Erikae walk. 15 September, 2015.

Just like coming out on stage; but the stage was the street.

Here she is. Relaxed and happy.

Here she was; relaxed and happy.

For a while Katsutomo-san stands in front of her okiya, posing for photos.

For a while Katsutomo-san stood in front of her Okiya posing for photos.

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We follow Katsutomo-san and Otokoshi as they pay their respects to the Gion establishments.

We followed Katsutomo-san and her Otokoshi as they did the rounds.

A pleasant stroll with a few keen photographers - as opposed to a mob of paparazzi.

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. Abbesses French Restaurant is here too, always reminding me of Paris.

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 made it into this photo.

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)

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)

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Wahigasa and lantern juxtaposition. Nice.

Wahigasa and lantern juxtaposition. Nice.

Another 'selfie' reflection sneaks in.

Another ‘selfie’ reflection sidled in to the photo.  (I never notice these things until later.)

Circle and partially folded circle.

Circle and partially folded circle.

A bridge across Gion waters.

Crossing Shirakawa stream.

Through traditional Gion streets...

Through traditional Gion streets…

Circle with sphere

Circle with globe

This was a very hot day like the first day of the Erikae walk. This wahigasa was very much appreciated by its owner.

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 and yellow.

Composition with red circles and yellow rectangles.

Framed

Framed

Back on Shijo-dori. Passers-by show their delight.

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.

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.

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.

A Walk with Katsutomo-san

It just so happened that the day I arrived in Kyoto was also the day Katsutomo-san made her debut as Geiko.  What fantastic fortune for me!  I was ready.  The following photos document my walk with Katsutomo-san.   (Please click on the photos to enlarge them so that they can be fully appreciated.)

I waited for one and a half hours across from the door of the okiya so that I would get this first view. I was surrounded by many other photographers - some of whom pushed in front of me!

I waited for one and a half hours across from the door of the okiya so that I would get this first view. I was surrounded by many other photographers – some of whom pushed in front of me!  This was the moment people saw Katsutomo-san for the first time as Geiko.

Katsutomo-san looked serious most of the time...I might even say, tense.

Katsutomo-san looked serious most of the time…I might even say, tense.  I love the textures captured here.

While I was waiting I decided to try an unusual viewpoint for this photo.

While I was waiting I decided to try an unusual viewpoint for this photo.

Here is a good look at the pattern on her obi.

Here you can see the pattern on Katsutomo-san’s obi.

I like the movements of Katsutomo-san and her Otokoshi here - almost like a dance.

I like the movements of Katsutomo-san and her Otokoshi here – almost like a dance.  He looks like he is pulling her along with invisible thread.

Here is an idea of the difficulty of getting photos. One really had to work HARD to get views: walk very fast and always try to be in the right place at the right time. Impossible of course.

Here is an idea of the difficulty of getting photos. One really had to work HARD to get into position: walk very fast and always try to be in the right place at the right time. Impossible of course.

Canine observes human.

Canine observed human.  This is Chiro at Nishimura Okiya.  I have been seeing him from time to time since he was a puppy.

I was trying to photograph this exit over a sea of heads , arms and cameras.

I was trying to photograph this exit over a sea of heads , arms and cameras.

Not all of Gion is made up of historic wooden tea houses. The convenience store is ubiquitous in Japan.

Not all of Gion is made up of historic wooden tea houses. The convenience store is ubiquitous in Japan; Gion is no exception.

Now we are back to romantic Gion; Shinbashi.

We arrived at one of the most beautiful areas of Gion – Shinbashi.

Double portrait in Shinbashi.

Double portrait in idyllic Shinbashi.  I think Katsutomo-san realised she was over half way now.  Not much longer to go.

Katsutomo-san paused for a couple of minutes to give photographers time for portraits. But this was a classic case of me NOT being there. I was waiting further up the road. I had to rush back when I realised that this opportunity was being missed by me.

Katsutomo-san paused for a couple of minutes to give photographers time for portraits. But this was a classic case of me NOT being there. I was waiting further up the road. I had to rush back when I realised that this opportunity was being missed by me.

Perhaps this photo gives a hint of the intense heat and humidity. Just briefly Katsutomo-san shows us how she was feeling.

Perhaps this photo gives a hint of the intense heat and humidity. Just briefly Katsutomo-san shows us how she was feeling.

This is the gorgeous bridge which is a photographer's delight. Trouble is, ALL the photographers were delighting there already - which means they became part of my photo.

This is the gorgeous bridge which is a photographer’s delight. Trouble is, ALL the photographers were delighting there already – which means they became part of my photo.  (And I’m probably part of theirs!)

Juxtaposition between tradition and modern.

Juxtaposition between tradition and modern.

I was waiting outside Katsutomo-san’s okiya from 10 a.m.  She came out around 11.40 and we didn’t finish until nearly 15:00.  It was hot and exhausting but also exciting.

Later that night as I stalked the streets I saw Katsutomo-san flit by.

Later that night as I walked around I saw Katsutomo-san flit by.

Tourists catch a glimpse...

Tourists caught a glimpse…

...and she disappears into the Gion night...

…and she disappeared into the Gion night…

In my next post I will present my photos from day 2 of the Erikae walk.  Katsutomo-san was so much more relaxed and there were way less photographers than day 1 (as always).

ps.  Katsutomo-san has already appeared in two of my drawings, both done within the last year.

In "Diamonds" Katsutomo-san was the Maiko in the middle.

In the drawing “Diamonds” Katsutomo-san was the Maiko in the middle.

Here she is in my drawing "The Art of Elegance"

Here she is in my drawing “The Art of Elegance”

For photos of the second day, please click on Go Around Again

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Diamonds

Diamonds 410 x 410 mm. 14th October 2014 Coloured pencil drawing by Julie Podstolski

Diamonds
410 x 410 mm.
14th October 2014
Coloured pencil drawing by Julie Podstolski

The title of my drawing “Diamonds” refers to the diamond shapes in the footpath and also to the three maiko who walk upon them.  The elegance and grace of Satsuki, Katsutomo and Mameroku, coupled with their rich fabric ensembles, make them a vision to behold.  Even a thoroughly urban Kyoto street is transformed by their presence.  They glow.

When looking at the source photo, the diamond-shaped paving stones caught my eye first and – as chance would have it -the almost diamond-shaped grouping of the three maiko which “spoke” to those stones.  What a lovely conversation of shapes!

The source photo

The source photo

I made many changes from the source photo to the drawing; cancelling unnecessary shapes and people plus pushing and pulling colours around to emphasize or minimize areas as required.  The whole process was a joy, from start to finish.

May 15th, 2015.  “Diamonds” was awarded the ‘Works on Paper Commendation’ at City of Wanneroo Art Awards.  The judges comments are as follows: This work on paper is created in coloured pencil.  The technical use of the medium is unsurpassed.  The softness of shading and capturing of light and shade is excellent.  There is a wonder to the geisha walking through the modern landscape.”

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The Art of Elegance

The Art of Elegance My drawing of Katsutomo with lanterns.

The Art of Elegance
My drawing of Katsutomo with lanterns.

For the past several weeks while I have been stressing about my upcoming exhibition, I have also been working on this drawing which I finally finished yesterday.  I took the photo for this drawing in Kyoto about two months ago.  The source photo was a candid shot of Katsutomo taken ‘on the run’ so to speak -point and shoot – no time to do more than that. As luck would have it, I caught exactly what I wanted.  I have written several times in the past how I enjoy playing the game of chance.  I like to photograph in the street as I never know what to expect and what riches I might find.

Katsutomo was returning from a dance performance (called Gokagai) hence the white gloves. With these gloves, Katsutomo’s outfit reminds me of gorgeous 1950s fashions and I particularly think of Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

Maiko and geiko are a favourite subject of mine, as are lanterns.  How pleased I was to have both Katsutomo and lanterns together in one frame!

The source photo

The source photo

Maybe you would like to see the original photo so that you can compare with the drawing.   I do not try to ‘copy’ a photo but to make something completely new and better.  The photo is simply the (very important) starting point.

It occurs to me that as maiko and geiko personify art – (they BECOME art when they dress as they do and perform the traditional Japanese arts) – the drawing could just as easily have been called “The Elegance of Art” as “The Art of Elegance”.    Here is a drawing with an interchangeable title!

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