bookmark_borderArtisanal Brushwork Five

This is the second of a pair of recent replications of images from the Nanajuichiban Shokunin Uta-awase emaki, a medieval Japanese scroll that depicts an imaginary poetry competition between artisans and artists of various types.

Nanjuichiban Taiko Shokunin 01

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.

Nanjuichiban Taiko Shokunin 02

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.

[Ishiyama‘s Yamato-e page has been updated to include all the paintings to date.]

bookmark_borderArtisanal Brushwork Four

This is the first of a pair of recent replications of images from the Nanajuichiban Shokunin Uta-awase emaki, a medieval Japanese scroll that depicts an imaginary poetry competition between artisans and artists of various types.

Nanjuichiban Biwa Shokunin 01

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.

Nanjuichiban Biwa Shokunin 02

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.

bookmark_borderHere’s That Pelican Brushwork

Here we go with that first pelican image I was talking about last week. I did four copies of this one. The first one is quite large, occupying most of a sheet of 9″x12″ paper.

Pelican 01 01

The others are smaller, to leave more room on the page for writing.

Pelican 01 03
Pelican 01 04

This last one I rotated a bit to make it occupy even less of the page.

Pelican 01 02

Traced from “Pelikan” by Christoph Schaarschmidt (2021). This photo was one of the top 50 photos in the CEWE photo awards competition of 2021. I saw this photograph of a pelican, and just thought it would make a good writ scroll or other recognition of service. The dignity of this noble bird shows through, as does the dignity of those who perform service in the society. I traced the photo and colored it in the “tsukuri-e” (built up paint) style.

bookmark_borderMore Pelican Brushwork

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!

Pelican 02 01
Pelican 02 02
Pelican 02 03

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.

bookmark_borderGiant Squid Brushwork

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…

Giant Squid (01)
Giant Squid (02)

I’m happier with the tentacles on the second one, but I’m not completely happy with the shading on it.

bookmark_borderPhoto-tracing Brushwork

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.

Duck Pond (01)

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.

Turtle Rock (01)

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.

Bird Tree (01)

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.

bookmark_borderAutumn 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.

bookmark_borderMusical Brushwork

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.

bookmark_borderDiseased Brushwork

The paintings are not actually diseased, of course. The original scroll is called the Yamai no Soshi emaki, which is “Scroll of Diseases and Afflictions”. This is a pretty unpleasant scroll overall, but there are some nice details. I particularly like this image of a calm maidservant carrying her mistress’ burden.

I’m clearly back into the swing of painting by now. The inking is smooth, the color is even, and the shading is good. I even put little escarbuncles on the package.

One of my favorite comic books is Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai. Even when he’s working in black and white, he usually adds graphic interest to the clothing of characters by embellishing the fabric with repeating graphics. I decided to use this effect, adding little cherry blossoms to the maid’s kosode.

Here I added little ikat patterns to the kosode, and gave the package a tie-dye coloring. This started when some of the blue from the robe ran over into the wrapping cloth, then I tried to cover it up with some red, which just made it look like whatever was in the package was leaking blood. So, I had to do still more work.

This one got a reasonably smooth gradient coloring, made by mixing up some yellow paint, then adding orange, then adding red. I’m happy with how this turned out. The coloring is pretty smooth, too.

bookmark_border36 Immortals Brushwork

When Sharon and I went to Iga, Japan for the braiding conference in 2019, after the conference was over we spent a few days in Kyoto to see the sights. One of those days we walked over to the Kyoto National Museum. They were having an exhibition of most of the panels that used to be part of the Satake family version of the “36 Immortal Poets” scroll. this scroll was infamously broken up into individual hanging scrolls about a hundred years ago, and this was the most complete exhibition since that time.

Since I knew that eventually I would want to get back into scroll painting, I bought the book of the exhibit. This is first of my copies from this book, a portrait of Yamabe no Akihito. He is considered to be a poet only slightly less great than the famous Hitomaro.

This one is OK, but not great. The coloring is uneven and the shading is not very good. The original has terrific shading. I wish I’d thought about all the little details in his writing box (suzuribako) before I got started.

This one is much better. The coloring is almost completely even, and the shading is great. I even added the “medallions” to his hitoe underlayer that are visible in the original. Although, I seem to have forgotten the brush next to his foot.

This one I colored in red, and made the medallions into escarbuncles in honor of my home kingdom of Aethelmearc. The coloring and shading are good, and I like the way the escarbuncles came out.