New piece: "16 - 鎌倉権五郎景政 -" (Kamakura Gongoro Kagemasa)

"16 - 鎌倉権五郎景政 -"
Watercolor, colored pencil, Japanese paper, and gold leaf on wood
24 x 24"
Close-up of the face and Japanese paper collage on the helmet
Close-up of the figure... strangely I like this crop
My stamp, after a long process. DONE!
 Wow, it's been a long few months to complete this piece, but I'm pretty thrilled at the finished piece and the curiously muted (for me) color scheme. Read the story of this mysterious warrior boy below.


+++

2/20/15

Goryo Shrine in Kamakura, Japan. Photo by Tokyobling. Check out this beautiful photo blog!

I saw this post by my favorite Tokyo-based photo blogger, Tokyobling! It's a shrine dedicated to a courageous 16 year old samurai named Kamakura Gongoro Kagemasa (born 1069 AD) who fought an entire battle with an arrow lodged in his left eye. What, a, total, badass! I LOVE reading stories of unlikely warriors, so of course I knew I had to paint him as soon as I read his tale.

I almost immediately thought of the scene in the movie 300 when young King Leonidas is learning to fight. I love the intensely ferocious look of the young actor who plays him (who turns out to be Zack Snyder's child. Thank you IMDB) Even though this kid is probably 7-8, not 16, I was still drawn to the image of such amazing strength and determination in the form of a young boy. Fierceness that would put grown men to shame!

Eli Snyder, who plays young King Leonidas in a scene from the movie 300

And the face I thought of from the beginning was a young Japanese actor named Taiga (太賀) whom I first saw playing the historical character Hideyori in NHK's drama, "Gō: Hime-tachi no Sengoku" (江〜姫たちの戦国〜) I think he has the type of youth + uncommonly strong look I was thinking of.

Japanese actor Taiga (太賀)

Japanese actor Taiga (太賀)

Japanese actor Taiga (太賀)

Soooooooo, here are my initial sketches. Kamakura Kagemasa is also depicted in the famous Kabuki play "Shibaraku." That's him in the middle looking extremely scary. My friend also told me that the iconic type of face painting is supposed to suggest the blood streaming down his face. LOVE.

JUURI making a sketch of a young warrior from various reference photos.

Symbolic arrow through the eye... will be done in gold leaf.

I also decided that instead of actually drawing an arrow stuck through someone's eye, which seems a little too gross and distracting, to use gold leaf in a straight line as more of a symbolic arrow. I've tried to loosely follow the iconic kabuki makeup lines with the spatter of blood.

The finished sketch of the body. Now on to the helmet or headpiece.

There, his body is finished. I tried to keep the youthfulness from the Eli Snyder reference. I think you get "youth" from the stomach sticking out a little bit toward the bottom, and a little narrower shoulders. I want people to feel "Oh this young boy looks way too young to be in a battle! But goodness, he looks like he could beat me up!"

Now I have to decide whether to make him wear the headpiece from his character in the Kabuki play, or a historically accurate kabuto (samurai helmet). Hmmm.....



++++

3/1/15

Aaaaaaand more than a week later, I'm back to work on this. I decided to draw the kabuto instead of the kabuki headpiece. You just can't beat the war-ishness of that iconic helmet. However I've decided to make half of it broken off to reveal more of his face. Here I've worked out the little issues in Photoshop, as I always do.


As for color scheme, I am dying to use the hues I found in this gorgeously lush Kabuki ad I found. I am so lucky to have found this! Is not it the most gorgeous color scheme you've ever seen combined?! The grey background, the blinding oranges, the purples, the fuchsias... unusual combo but a totally LUSH. I am so freaking excited to paint this... oh look it's 12:43 AM. I suppose I should sleep and do it tomorrow. UAH! Why I always get so worked up at night!


++++

5/25/15 

Transferring the lines from the big print-out of my sketch to big watercolor paper
I wonder if my doggy thinks this is good or lame?
Light watercolor layers. The piece looks like a gorgeous blob at this point.
+++

7/27/15

After another eternity, here are the WIPs I've got to show for my work! Trying to decide whether to make a WIP video for this piece. Nearly done.

Lines all blocked in. Minimal colors at this stage.
Details and shading on the face and body. Drawing in the lines for the flowers
Finishing the flowers... they are too pinkish at the moment. I will tone them down
Gold leafing, wheee~~~
Using pieces of Japanese paper for the kabuto (helmet)
Spraying some clear coat in an appropriate environment.
C'est Fini
Hope you enjoyed the tale of how he came to be! Thank you for taking the time to read his tale!

<3 JUURI

#kabuki #art #japanese #historical #traditional #culture #popsurrealism #lowbrowart #mixedmedia #fairytales #legend #asian #war #battle #hero #samurai #kamakura #gongoro #kagemasa #watercolor #wip #artistblog #stepbystep