‘Serenity’ is my latest coloured pencil painting and is of a Maiko I was fortunate to meet whilst in Japan last year.
Throughout Japan I had lots of opportunity to see people, men, women and children in traditional costume and to take photographs but it was in Kyoto that I had the pleasure of meeting the Maiko who became the subject of ‘Serenity’.
A Maiko is a young woman who is training to be a Geisha, a journey which is both long and gruelling. As part of their training Maiko learn to become accomplished musicians, singers, dancers and conversationalists. When travelling in a group, as I was, it is sometimes possible to attend as dinner where a Maiko performs for the group, otherwise attendance at such a performance would be by invitation only.
The Maiko who performed for us was very young, graceful and unusually happy to talk with us, answering our questions and allowing us to take photographs. Many such photographs are carefully posed, with hands and head held in specific positions but with such amazing access it was possible to catch off guard moments too. It was such photographs that I chose to use for this work.
Having met the Maiko it was important for me not just to capture her likeness but something of her essence, the way she held herself and the sense of peace she carried with her.
The following work in progress pictures show how the image came to life, as usual by slowly building up layers of colour to create depth and texture. Clicking on the photos will bring up larger images.