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.

bookmark_borderRedux of the Brushwork

When I started tracing emaki images for scroll blanks, the very first one I did was from the Eshi Zoshi emaki. This emaki recounts the rise and fall of a young poet appointed to the court. I decided to do some “back to the well” blanks as part of my current work, just to see if I’d gotten any better over time.

The outlines are good, but clearly, I had forgotten everything I ever learned about coloring this image. This one went straight into the “scrap” folder as soon as the paint was dry.

That’s better.

This one’s OK, although the skin tone came out a bit dark. I added some Hojo mon to the zabuton pillow for some reason.

Now I’m back in the swing of things! Good inking, good coloring, and I even added some light shading to give it a bit more dimensionality and texture. I’m pretty happy with this one.