This is a shrine at Dewa Sanzan in Yamagata prefecture, one of a group of shrines near the base of the trail to Mt. Haguro. This was meant as a quick-ish study, thinking about using this in a watercolour when I get back into that medium again. I messed up with this, there are some issues with the perspective on the wall of the shrine nearest the viewer. By the time I noticed there was a problem it was too late but I decided to try and at least progress it to a more complete state.
The Enoshima Electric Railway or the Enoden as it more commonly referred to is a small railway line in Kanagawa prefecture that runs between Fujisawa and Kamakura, the latter being the location of a giant Amida Buddha statue. This sketch is from the entrance to the Goryo-jinja shrine, in Hase, just two or three stops before Kamakura. Here there is a railroad crossing just before the entrance. I think it makes for an interesting contrast.
These are from a trip a while back to the areas of Gokayama-go and Shirakawa-go. They are a UNESCO world heritage site famous for their traditional architecture, the steep-sided thatched gassho-zukuri houses.
For these sketches, however, instead of the houses I concentrated on a shrine in Gokayama.
I also tried using a paper which I purchased recently and had never used before, Bee Paper, advertised as a 100% cotton watercolour paper. I bought the paper after watching Teoh Yi Chie’s review. Having used it now, my impression of it is that it is useful for practice pieces but nothing more than that.
In the first sketch, I applied masking fluid, on the torii, only too late realising that I hadn’t tested the paper to see whether it would handle masking fluid well. It doesn’t! Some of the masking fluid pulled off the paper surface with it. And then I went and repeated exactly the same mistake on the second sketch, thinking that the first time it happened was just because I had left the masking fluid on too long!
Another thing I noticed was that the paint seemed to behave oddly or at least not in ways that I am used to. After applying a wash for instance the paper seemed to take an inordinately long time to dry.
And then there’s the surface texture. The paper is cold-pressed so it has a slight texture to it but the texture has a regular, uniform, machine-like appearance to it which seems less than ideal.
So, all-in-all, not terribly impressed with the paper but I’ll continue to use it for practice and testing ideas.
So, the sketches turned out sort of okay. Not exactly what I was looking for, but I think this is a scene that I will return to again.
This is the first version; you can probably see the marks on the paper where I tore the surface when taking off the masking fluid!
This is my initial, quick pencil sketch of the scene.
There is a massive metal utility pole in front of this shrine, literally a couple of feet in front of it, which I’ve removed from the sketch – I was thinking of including it but in the end decided against it.
I used this sketch as an opportunity to try out my Derwent waterbrushes, which I’ve had for a while but haven’t really used them. This is my second sketch using those brushes – I feel I still have some way to go before I feel entirely comfortable with them. Various things went wrong while painting this, the intended result was different to what it is but in spite of my clumsiness I think it still came out sort of okay. Maybe I’ll redo this at some point.
Below the watercolour sketch is an earlier ink sketch I made of the shrine with my micron pens.
One sees stone-water basins (temizuya) like these at the entrance to every shrine in Japan. This is one I spotted at Chuson-ji temple in Hiraizumi. It is the first stage of the process in visitng a shrine, a ritual purification, using the long handled ladles to cleanse the hands and the mouth. This one is quite plain, many have their own pavilions.
As an exercise I drew it again with my Pigma Micron pens, which I started using only recently.