This is the second of a pair of recent replications of images from the Nanajuichiban Shokunin Uta-awaseemaki, a medieval Japanese scroll that depicts an imaginary poetry competition between artisans and artists of various types.
This emaki (illustrated scroll) depicts a poetry competition (uta-awase) among people of various occupations. The competition has 71 rounds, and 142 different kinds of craftspeople (shokunin) are depicted, each with their own poem. This image depicts a musician playing a small drum called a “ko-tzuzumi”, The heads of the drum are tensioned with rope. As she is depicted with a walking stick and zori sandals, she is most likely an itinerant musician.
I’m happier with the second copy, though realistic depictis of the drum appear to be somewhat beyond me. I’m intrigued by the thing where both this lady and the biwa player thread the walking stick through the straps of their sandals.
This is the first of a pair of recent replications of images from the Nanajuichiban Shokunin Uta-awaseemaki, a medieval Japanese scroll that depicts an imaginary poetry competition between artisans and artists of various types.
This emaki (illustrated scroll) depicts a poetry competition (uta-awase) among people of various occupations. The competition has 71 rounds, and 142 different kinds of craftspeople (shokunin) are depicted, each with their own poem. This image depicts a musician playing a stringed instrument called a “Biwa”, the strings are plucked with a fan-shaped plectrum. As he is depicted with a walking stick and geta sandals, he is most likely an itinerant musician.
You can see that I did a little bit of playing with color and composition, particularly the arrangement of the musician’s accoutrement. The first one is most true to the original scroll, but I like the way the green coloring came out on the second copy.
I just realized that I never posted about the first set of pelican brushwork, but here is the second set of pelican images. The story here is that the “Order of the Pelican” is the SCA peerage order, much like a Knighthood is for fighting, but for service to the society. I saw a terrific photograph of a pelican in a page about “best wildlife photographs of 2021”, and I realized that the image would make a great Yamato-e scroll blank. Maybe not for a peerage, but maybe for a “writ”, an invitation to consider entry into the order. I thought that image came out OK, but I hunted down another image because I wanted one in flight …and here it is!
My paintings are derived from a photograph posted to Awesome Sasquatch in 2013 by Ken Chan. All credit, any vibrancy and splendor in my image is entirely based on his image.
Choju squiga? A few weeks ago, there was a news story about a town in Japan that is attempting to kickstart tourism after the pandemic by installing a statue of a giant squid. Awesome, huh? I wanted to be able to use the image of the giant squid for my own purposes (porpoises?), so a quick trip to the paintbox later…
I’m happier with the tentacles on the second one, but I’m not completely happy with the shading on it.
I want to get better at creating traditional-looking artwork from photographs. I had a couple of photos from our trip to Japan for the 2019 braiding conference, so I decided to try tracing them and making some Sesshu-inspired scroll blanks.
This first one is actually a composite of two photos. I had one photo of the ducks, and another of the distant shore of the pond. I combined these to create a little bit of perspective. I’m really happy with the way this one turned out. The ducks are attractive, and I was able to show the reflection of the shoreline in the water nicely.
I’m somewhat less happy with this one. The turtle and the rock just are not very interesting, and the rocky shoreline at the top is just a bunch of gray blobs. Maybe with some color it could be nice, but maybe not. They can’t all be winners.
I tried doing this one as a gray wash only artwork, but the tree came out looking like a big gray blob on a stick, so I added a myriad of little daubs in four different colors of green. I kind of like it now. The bird is very visible.
I should note that I have expanded my “SCA Emaki” page to include most of my more recent explorations of Yamato-e brushwork.
I did these two paintings more than a year ago (possibly two), but never even scanned them in, much less posted about them. They are more explorations of the artwork of Sesshu, the late-period painter who blended Chinese and Japanese art styles in sweeping landscape paintings. They are both copies of a panel in “The Autumn and Winter Landscapes”, a pair of hanging scrolls from late in Sesshu’s working life.
This first copy, as usual is an attempt to be faithful to the mostly monochrome style. I may have used a gray paint for the shading instead of a dilute ink, because it is way more predictable. I also left out most of the background of the original image, in an attempt to leave space for scroll wording. This image is nearly the full height and width of the paper!
This second painting is an attempt to add a little more color, mostly muted. I put much of the background back in, leaving out the sailboat on the water, but re-adding the hill (island?) beyond and its village. I think the leaves on the pine trees came out terrific, and the stippling for the fields is very good. I’m very happy with the way the dry-brushing for the rocky hillside worked out.
More Choju Jinbutsu Giga copies, this time with a fox carrying food and a rabbit carrying a musical instrument. I did a number of variations on this one, with different arrangements of the elements, including some of the greenery that is all over the historical scroll.
I tired coloring in the outlines again, and I think it worked out much better this time than last time.
Here’s one with color outlines, and I think this came out great! It’s basically the effect I’ve been trying to achieve.
Continuing in my project to work my way through the lesser-known images from the Choju Jinbutsu Giga, we come to this image of two rabbit washing a deer. This is probably a ritual bath for the animal, preparatory to a blessing by a priest.
This first one is a traditional ink-only rendition in the hakubyo style of the original.
This one I got a little ambitious with the color, I think. These hues are way too saturated.
This one I just did the outlines, but with colored paints instead of just ink. This is not as dark as the second one, but it’s maybe too light. The deer is like a ghost deer.
I did a third portrait of Hitomaro while doing the ones described in Poetic Brushwork. I did this one on larger paper, with the intention of mounting it as a kakejiku hanging scroll. There was a lot of work involved in that, but I’m happy to say that this is now complete.
In addition to mounting the painting on more paper, the fabric all had to be backed with paper and attached around the outside of the painting. Then, the oak rod and half-rod had to be cut and added. Following that, I had to braid the suspensory cords and figure out how to mount them to the upper rod. I made the weighted ends for the lower rod and finished them with tinted shellac.
When I started doing research on kakejiku, the advice from most sites was to leave it to professionals. You can see pretty clearly that this advice was sound. I never really did get the painting flat, and there are a host of other minor problems with this. Now I have a portrait of Hitomaro that I am not afraid to take camping, though!
The Chōjū Jinbutsu Giga emaki is an ancient wordless scroll of “frolicking animals”. It is generally considered to be a satire of the habits and behavior of the nobility. There are four scrolls in the collection, which does get displayed occasionally. The first scroll is the most well know, and the most popular images from the scroll are available as all kinds of merchandise. I bought some postcards and rubber stamps when I was at the Tokyo National Museum in 2016.
This image is one of the less popular ones from right near the beginning of the first scroll. It shows what is probably a ritual bath before the day’s activities.
Yes, I got the image backwards in this first one. My process involves scanning an image, darkening the primary lines on a printout with a marker, and then tracing from the modified image. I use a light panel for all this, and I usually darken the back of the printout. This makes the primary lines easier to see when it’s time to trace in ink onto the final paper. I forgot to flip the printout before starting on the ink tracing. Oops.
I think I got the facial expression on the seated monkey much better in this version. I also did a third copy, but this one is larger and does not leave much room on the paper for the words of a scroll, so it will probably just go into my portfolio.
As pre-elevation ritual for a Knighthood in the SCA involves a ritual bath, maybe this would be a good image for a writ scroll? /shrug
One of my secret plans is to eventually reproduce the Choju Giga (at least the first scroll) in its entirety. It may take a team of people to do it. I need a lot more practice on these less-popular sections, though.