Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Frustrations for the Day

Today has been met with frustration. The newest piece I wanted to tackle was to be a portrait of a Geisha, but I am starting to think it is beyond my means to portray. The problems arose in the simple, yet important step of collecting reference.

I knew from previous looks into Japanese culture that most traditions are very particular and have elborate details that are best no overlooked; the Geisha is no exception. From the placements of the ornaments in their hair to the way she ties her obi (sash or belt), everything has a very specific place and look. It took hours of research just learn how to differentiate between a full fledged Geisha and the trainees known as a Meiko. To top it off, in the end, it turned out their apprentices were the more elaborately dressed and ornate of the two.

Realizing this truth, I still spurred myself on to set up for an authentic looking Geisha. Somewhere along the lines I had to submit to the idea that I would have to copy an entire outfit, right down to the patterns in her kimono, from a single photograph. I simply lacked the time to learn how to match accessories' and obi's colours to a kimono, not to mention decorations and colours closely coincide with seasons and events so misplacing one object could make the whole picture inaccurate or confusing to someone who knows the culture better. These continual sacrifices for accuracy only seemed to suffocate the inspiration I had inside when I was initially thinking up the idea.

I currently find myself lost and lacking the resolve to finish or even start this piece.

In a culture so steeped in traditional etique, where does the artist draw this line between making something beautiful and creative and honouring the culture with accuracy to their art?

About Me

An animator who loves drawing. Feel free to contact me. See more art at