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.
The water meter for this house is out front, underground, beneath a kind of manhole. Whoever installed the cover thought that plywood would be a good support for cast iron. Eventually, of course the plywood rotted away and the cover assembly fell into the hole. Last year, I replaced what was left of the plywood with some leftover Trex decking, but then I had this circle of Trex cut out from the middle, and a hillside full of pavers in back of the house…
It could probably use some more work on the stones, and maybe some iron banding across the front, but for now at least it is out of the garage.
I built this Tachi Kake sword stand back in July, but I only got as far as putting a few coats of black finish on it before winter settled in. In early Spring of this year, I added embellishment to the Tachi Kake in the form of karakusa vinework in gold paint. I did all the painting by hand, because it is fun and I have started to get good at it. I then put several coats of clear shellac over the gold paint so that it will not rub off at the slightest touch.
I now have two pieces of furniture embellished with gold karakusa. There is this and the kyousoku armrest that I suppose I never formally posted about. One day I suppose I will have a full set of fancy gentleman’s accessories. Anyway, here is what the Tachi Kake looks like with my Tachi sword in it.
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.
After I made the two Kaminari kataginu last year as prototypes, I ordered a whole roll of red linen so I could make more. This linen sat in the closet for basically a whole year while I worked on other stuff. With the news that there might be some SCA activities in the medium-future, I realized that I had to get started on this project.
So, I made six more kataginu and embroidered them with the Yama Kaminari clan mon. They are the six you see on the left in this picture. The two to the right are the prototypes from last year.
The ones that look smaller folded up are 36 inches from shoulder to hem. The larger ones are 48 inches to accommodate those who are taller or otherwise larger. I seem to remember that the prototypes used 54-inch wide fabric, so the panels are 18 inches wide on those two. The new ones are constructed from 45-inch fabric, so they use 15 inch panels.
I can’t wait to seem them adorning my firends in some kind of procession!
If I want to be able to take the Hitomaro Kakejiku with us when we go camping or whatnot, it is going to need a storage box to protect it in transit. Such things exist in the Japanese tradition, so I made one.
It’s made mostly of poplar. I had an abundance of quart-inch poplar in my stock of surplus wood, so this was an easy choice. The top of the lid is actually 3/4″ poplar, to give the whole thing a little heft. I rabbeted the top so that it would fit inside the walls of the lid, and not appear thicker from outside.The inside is unfinished.
There are small blocks of cedar at either end of the box that cradle the ends of the scroll rod and keep it centered in the box. You can see the rabbet for the lid top and the interior blocks in this process photo.
The outside is finished with several layers of garnet shellac with a black dye added. That’s what gives the final finish that deep mahogany color. I was hoping this mixture might be a good substitute for black lacquer. It is not, but as its own thing it is very nice.
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.
When you receive an award in the SCA, you usually receive a scroll to hang on your wall, and a medallion or other favor to wear on your person. Many of my braids are donated to the Barony or Kingdom to become cords for medallions. It is quite a treat for me to walk around at events and see my cords worn by some of the SCA’s most talented and dedicated members. I have done a number of embroidered “belt favors” for awards, but a long time ago I bought a few packages of “frame charms” on clearance at the craft store, and I have been meaning to make some medallions ever since.
I tried making a medallion for the Aethelmearc‘s “Order of the Sycamore” using actual sycamore leaves, but even though I used the tiniest leaves I could find they were still too big for the charms. Recently, I sat down to hand paint some paper inserts for the charms, and I am pretty happy with the results. At some point I will donate these to the Kingdom and I hope they will be bestowed on some talented artisan.
The Order of the Sycamore is our Kingdom’s order of merit for the Arts and Sciences. These medallions are hand painted using Japanese watercolors on Hosho paper. The frame charms are “antique brass”, but the crystals on the front are just plastic.
Each painting is only an inch in diameter, so it is difficult to get enough detail on the leaves to identify them as sycamore leaves. I have some digital scans of an actual sycamore leaf that I was able to shrink down, print out, and trace so that at least the shape would be vaguely accurate.
I usually try to make at least one of the gifts that I give to Sharon for our winter holiday celebrations. Often, this is a sewing project because it’s easy to keep those a secret. I was kind of at a loss this past year regarding what to make, because we don’t spend much time out of the house. So, I decided that since the Gray Smock that I made for her last year was a success, and since I found some knit fabric in a bright robin’s-egg blue that is near to her favorite color, I would just do another poncho smock.
It came out pretty good. I managed to get an actual narrow collar band in there instead of a facing, so I am pretty proud of myself. Of course, I couldn’t post about it before late December, and then I totally forgot to get a picture of her wearing it until recently.