The idea behind this article is one that has been rattling around in my planned posts pool for quite some time. Every single time I grab the pencils, inks or paints, I simultaneously select a podcast to listen to while I work and get settled into the process.
Podcast statistics show that in 2020 there were over 850,000 active podcasts and over 30 million individual episodes, that statistic tells us that there is a lot of choice. In fact, in preparation for this post I ended up going down a vast network of rabbit holes and diving into some powerful podcast statistics.
Now you might be looking for a great podcast to listen to while you’re at work or being creative and have different tastes to mine, I have prepared this piece to appeal to a few different subjects; after all chances are that if you have ended up on my website, we have some shared interests. I’ve diligently filtered the over 850,000 active podcasts down to four of my favourite go to listens.
I decided to kick this new year off by diving straight back into the Geisha theme that I’ve been working around over the past year. The first UK lockdown gave me the chance to really delve into Japanese culture and pore over various books, articles, blogs, etc. Studying the art, culture and history of Japan and much of Asia has well and truly captured my attention, and my imagination.
In light of getting myself stuck into Japanese culture and history as of late, working on my Geisha art project and working part time as a Sushi chef; I decided to venture into another area of Japanese tradition.
Sumi-e is the name given to a style of East Asian brush painting that uses black ink; this method was commonly employed by the master artists of the past in East Asian traditions to create calligraphy and landscapes drawings/paintings.
I absolutely love the look and feel of sumi-e landscape paintings and the atmosphere they evoke; I also love working with charcoal. That was enough reason for me to fuse the two things and work at creating a Japanese landscape piece that has a sumi-e look to it but the smoky, soft magic of a charcoal drawing.
So in my cultural explorations and world travels via my drawing materials I found myself on a brief visit to the Indonesian island of Bali. The Balinese are fascinating people to study and learn about and although there have been many cultural changes to the island in the past century, there is also a strong presence of the ancestral forefathers of the island.
One industry that is a great platform for cultural exploration anywhere in the world is farming. Farming is an industry that despite the invent of machinery and industrial growth, still holds many roots in the distant past, whether you are in the rice paddies of Vietnam or the corn fields of Indiana.
Whilst it’s true that there are no ochaya (tea houses) underwater that are operating and hiring Geisha, there is always room in the imagination to invent some. I’ve been working on a series of Geisha artworks and then suddenly, Mermay 2020 was upon me.
Mermay is described by its founders as a month-long celebration of creativity, community and above all… MERMAIDS. People use this month to create a variety of Mermaid illustrations, many people creating one for each day of the event. I’ve never partook in this particular ‘drawing challenge’ so this time around, I made a point to throw out at least one piece.
Continuing on with my Legend of Zelda miniseries, I decided to add a piece into the mix with more of a fine art vibe to it. So far I’ve worked up a few ink and watercolour illustrations with a few more planned, this piece however is a charcoal drawing; with the intention of later being an oil painting.
Every now and then I am suddenly and unexpectedly hit with surges of nostalgia, and having art and illustration as my choice medium of outlet, this usually always results in artwork. Sometimes just a doodle of scribble, sometimes a painting; and occasionally a series.
This is the case with this miniseries, I also will be adding a few more pieces to this set as well using different media; as I have been accepted into the upcoming Zelda Creator Con by Linktober!
Anyway, before I keep rambling on like the Great Deku Tree, let’s see some art…
Art depicting Geisha and Maiko is something that has drawn me in from the bustling county of Essex on the outskirts of London in the UK to explore the historical traditions of South-east Asia, Kyoto in Japan in particular. This oil painting is testament to that exploration and shows a rear-view portrait of a Maiko with emphasis on the hair and make-up.
For this portrait I looked at a different point of view –
My Geisha series is still growing into a beautiful collection of portraits and gestural sketches and drawings now; with a lot more piece still in the bag and ready to be brought to life.
This portrait has served as a preliminary drawing to use as a reference to inform an oil painting that I just wrapped up today and will be posting here next week; however if you want to see the painting now you can, on my Instagram – @JGloverArt