If you say ‘I’m in Kyoto’ to somebody, chances are that they’ll most likely ask back, ‘Wonderful! Have you met the Geishas?’ And to be honest with you, they’re the very people I’d like to paint (I find this sentence weird) upon my arrival in Kyoto.
Well, not that easy. The best way to draw a maiko is by their photograph. Although there are tons of their photos in the net (actually, most of those are photos of maiko, or apprentice geishas), in real life, they’re highly elusive. The most persistent photographer usually have to spend their time waiting around 5pm, hoping to catch some photograph of real maiko (as there is such thing as stand-in maiko arranged by the tourist board to amuse the crowd) walking briskly to the teahouse.
However, being fellow Asian, I’m not that determined. Instead, I decided to make some rough sketches of them, since that would be more unintrusive, and use it as some kind of notes for the actual painting in my studio. I’ll search the details later in the internet, just to make my painting more accurate. So here it is.
It took 3 days to ‘premeditate’ the painting, but only 6 hours from start to finish. ‘Premeditate’ thing is required when you work with watercolor; it’s kind of a mental rehearsal in which you’re doing the painting process in your mind, up to the final finish. Some people do this very spontaneously; others, like me, are that not lucky.
Shimogamo Shrine, Take 1
This is my first watercolor painting in three weeks. I know it sounds like a procrastination, but I was really overwhelmed by the splendid scenes of Kyoto and simply didn’t know where to begin. So I started by painting this shrine nearest to my place.
Done in 3 hours at 17.30. It’s dark, but I prefer to paint at late afternoon because I like this angle and I want to avoid the sunlight from backlighting the building. It’s kinda difficult to see all those intricate details in the dimming light, though. I have a plan to make another watercolor painting of this shrine in this autumn/winter, as there’s a beautiful forest adjacent to it.