Working on a mystery, going where it leads. Into the great wide open under skies of blue. Will you sail into the heavens, constellations in your eyes? A red-winged hawk is circling.
White light cuts a scar in the sky. Take it to the heart; face up to your soul. Stand in the moonlight. You belong somewhere you feel free.
The shape of the mist–
feels like something from a dream–
you’re learning to fly.
Songs quoted: Running Down a Dream, Into the Great Wide Open, The Dark of the Sun, You and I Will Meet Again, Luna, The Waiting, You Can Still Change Your Mind, Only a Broken Heart, Wildflowers, The Waiting, Learning to Fly
Words from Tom Petty and Colleen’s poetry challenge.
Three more netsuke done with 3 more different pens. You can really see the differences when you put them side by side.
The center figure, which shows an old woman holding a hannya mask behind her back, was done with a Pentel RSVP fine pen. It was really easy to draw with, but obviously does not produce darks well. Great flow though. You may recall that hannya is the ghost of a jealous woman. Perhaps this woman wanted to scare someone, although she looks a bit scary even without the mask!
The figure on the left was labeled “Mountain God with a Demonic Aspect”, although I could find no further information about him. He, too, does not look like the pleasantest character. I used a Uniball Gel Impact 1.0, which as you can see, produced very good darks. It was hard to get subtlety with it though. I also got tired of all the detail in this netsuke, which is why the bottom is unfinished.
My favorite of this group is the fox dressed as a nun. There are many aspects of Kitsune, the fox of Japanese mythology, one of which is magical transformation. Supposedly after a fox reaches the age of 100 it can take the shape of a human, although they still seem to retain a fox-shaped shadow. Kitsune like to appear as women, to trick, scare, and seduce men. But they also like to take the form of a nun, and as such are often the subject of netsuke. Would you be fooled by this disguise? Seriously.
This was drawn using a Zebra Sarasa Clip 1.0, a Japanese pen recommended by my daughter. It does produce an expressive line.
You can see the rest of my Japanese netsuke and masks here.
It was a bit chilly down by the river, but we spent some time on a bench in the sun watching the regatta. The leaves have not done much changing there yet either.
We had a good view of the boathouse.
My daughter would not let me draw any part of her but her boots.
…except when she was singing, I managed a small sketch on my program.
And check out this car we saw when coming out of the train station! I was not the only one with a camera out.
Over the years I’ve acquired lots of different inking implements for different purposes, and I’ve also bought a few recently just to draw with. I decided to make a comparison by drawing a netsuke with each one to see what I really liked the best for drawing.
These four were done with Staedtler pigment liners; I bought a set I saw at Staples when I was shopping for printer toner (a reason I stay out of art stores…) and I really like them for drawing.
They range in size from .1 to .7, and the difference is most noticeable when you compare the finest to the thickest. Gama-Sennin, above was drawn with .1. You can get really delicate lines, but no darks. I’ve drawn Gama-Sennin before; he’s the immortal mountain god that can change himself into a toad.
With the thickest pen I drew Skoki, the Demon Queller. A physician who was rejected because he was so ugly (in one legend, anyway), he committed suicide but was honored in death by a remorseful emperor. His spirit then vowed to protect the ruler and his heirs. Depicted in netsuke as a large ugly man who wears a hat with a broad brim, his image is thought to protect against evil and illness and expel demons. This pen provides great darks, but not fine lines.
My favorite, and the one I’ve evidently used the most since it’s starting to run out of ink, is the .5 width. I drew the “Ghost of the Murdered Kasane”, who is a character in a kabuki play. She is one of many vengeful female spirits, caught between life and death.
The .3 pen also gives a good range of line and depth. I drew Kappa, a water deity, who is a trickster but also quite frightening, as he kidnaps and eats children. But he also likes cucumbers, and they are thrown into water in an attempt to appease him. He has webbed hands and feet, a beak, and a turtle shell, and reminds me in some netsukes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If you meet one, bow: he will bow back, and the magic water that gives him his power on the top of his head will spill out, allowing time to escape.
I guess a future project should be one drawing using all 4 pens. Put it on the list. And more samples from my collection of inking implements to come.