Heavy snow at Kurama
“Heavy Snow at Kurama” (2012). Watercolor on paper, 38x57cm. Done in 1 day using fieldnotes and photographs. Kurama Village, North of Kyoto, is among photographer’s favourite for taking snowy scenes. This small village is also the site for the Kurama Fire Festival in summer; at that nightly event, thousands of tourists flock into the village’s only road, making it virtually impossible to get a good vantage point or even to move.
“Philosophical Cat”. There are plenty of them along the Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto. Those cats surely did something good in their previous life, cause all that they’re doing everytime we come to visit them is frolicking and sunbathing.
“Along the Ebisumizu-cho road, Kyoto” (2011). Watercolor on paper, 38x57cm. Being located right across the Higashi-Honganji (the largest Buddhist temple in Kyoto), the road is famous for buddhism-related souvenirs such as praying beads, scrolls, and small Buddha statues.
Yasaka Tower, en route to Kiyomizudera Temple, in early winter. Kiyomizudera is the most famous tourists attraction in Kyoto. This is an alternative approach to the Temple; another picturesque street of Kyoto, featured in numerous postcards and even television dramas. I find all the clutters (signage, wires etc) quite interesting, adding textures to this otherwise plain-looking narrow street. Watercolor on paper, 40X60cm, done in 2 days.
‘The Path not Taken’
The entrance to the Bamboo Forest at Arashiyama, Kyoto, during winter. I deliberately paint the bamboo background to a nice blur using the wet-paper approach not unlike Japanese painting technique. The idea came upon me after I saw some nice paintings on washi (Japanese rice paper) in an artist’s studio at Yoshino. It seems washi is a very porous media to work on; it absorbs water very quickly, blurring any definite edges. This particular work of mine, however, was done on my usual watercolor paper, pre-soaked. Watercolor, 40x60cm. Approx. 6 effective hours in studio.
Morning at Shijo St.
Shijo Street, on approach to Yasaka Shrine. This is my old approach: layered wash, with diluted colors and carefully worked-on details. Compare it with my recent approach in ‘The Sentinel’, also features the same street. Using the previous drawing as a base to capture the ambience, and lots of photographs for details. Watercolor, 40x60cm, 1 days entirely in studio.Watercolor, 40x60cm. Approx. 6 effective hours in studio.
Another dark, dramatic scene inspired by Alvaro Castagnet’s style. It was heavy snowing at Katabirano-Tsuji, Randen tram station to Arashiyama on the morning of the 1st day of 2011. After an all-out, all-night party, most local people prefer to stay at home until the January 3th. And there was a snow blizzard that morning. The sober me, with nothing to do, decided to go to mountainous Arashiyama for a walk and photo-hunting. Watercolor on Paper, 40x60cm. Done in 2 days at studio.
Shijo Street, Kyoto, at dusk, viewed from the entrance of Yasaka Shrine (thus the bronze dog-like creature); apparently this is my favourite street. The moment was perfect: the light snow has just stopped, when suddenly the dying sunlight bursts through the haze and bathe the buildings in a warm, golden glow.
Kitchen of Kyoto
Nishiki Market, the most famous (and touristy) of all traditional market in Kyoto (Watercolor on paper, 40x60cm). Almost everything can be found in this particular market: fresh vegetables, colorful pickles, fresh fish, shoes, garments, hanko (Japanese-style seal stamp), craft shops, to groceries and even restaurants.
Kiyamachi at Night
Kiyamachi St. at night (Watercolor on paper, 40x60cm). The Kiyamachi street was constructed in Edo period (17-19th century CE) along with the construction of man-made Takase river, built to facilitate the logging industry. Kiyamachi is currently among the ‘hippest’ entertainment street for the young Kyoto-ites, lined by pubs, cafes, and nightclubs (although, compared to other city, are rather modest). Note: I tried a different (and more difficult) approach for this painting. The different colors and directions of light sources, as well as complex reflections and numerous objects in this painting demand a more loose, expressive approach; otherwise, the painting will have an ‘overdone’ look to it.
Into the Light
A back alley near Kitano-Tenmangu shrine. Kyoto is criss-crossed with numerous narrow, dark, winding alley that sometimes convey a sense of mysterious, ancient air, lined with century-old workshops, restaurants and inns that define the ‘true heart of Kyoto’. Watercolor on Paper, 38X57 cm.
Hanamikoji dori is the most famous entertainment street in Kyoto, as it is where most geiko and maiko of Kyoto entertain their upper-class guests at those expensive restaurants and exclusive teahouses lining the street. A prime destination for tourists, it is thus a rare occasion to find this street rather deserted in the daylight, except during a cold, damp autumn morning such as this one. Watercolor on Paper, 38x57cm.
Hanami dori is the most famous entertainment street in Kyoto, as it is where most geiko and maiko of Kyoto entertain their upper-class guests at those expensive restaurants and exclusive teahouses lining the street. A prime destination for tourists, it is thus a rare occasion to find this street rather deserted in the daylight, except during a cold, damp autumn morning such as this one. Watercolor on Paper, 38x57cm.
This narrow alley __popular among photographers__ connects Gion’s famous Hanami-koji dori with the preserved area of Shirakawa-minami dori to the north. It was a rainy morning during the Kanikakuni Event; I did remember the golden sunlight reflected along its walls and the slightly wet pavement, but forgot to take some photographs for the reference. I tried to recreate that moment in this painting. Watercolor on Paper, 38x57cm.
‘Rainy Pontocho’. My first shot at night scene. Spent a whole tube of lamp black pigment for this one. My camera, however, just couldn’t reproduce the whole range of dark and bright colors of the original painting. Hope you all like it. Watercolor on paper, 38x57cm. Done entirely at my ‘studio’ in 2 days (effective time).
I really captivated by this particular bridge, with its copper rail post. I exaggerated the bridge’s curve a little bit, to make it more ‘ancient’. The girl in yukata is purely ‘fictional’, although one can find groups of them during summer at the bridge. 38x57cm, watercolor on paper. 1 1/2 days.