Girls Keep Drinking

I started this one in December 2021, thinking it was going to be easy-peasy. Six small canvases with simple story and color palette I can do in no time – took me five months. On this one I started wearing glasses, my eyesight deteriorated after Covid, and it took me six months to accept that it was not getting better. So I had to get accustomed to wearing glasses, and not forgetting them at home.

The Story

I had this idea of girls having hanami at Japodian islands at Una river. Just six girls (7 in final composition) enjoying spring and sakura in full bloom, eating, drinking and jammin´. Partially based on Keisai Eisen´s triptych “Courtesans from Shin-Yoshiwara District Playing Music on Upper Floor of Restaurant Overlooking Sumida River” and Kikukawa Eizan´s triptych “Fashionable South Station at Ebb Tide” I wanted to convey a feeling of girls enjoying themselves with no special meaning. I enjoy spending a day with my friends at the Una river bank having a BBQ, listening to music, having a good time. I added location Japodian islands since it vibrates with Japan and also because Japodes (Lapydes) were ancient tribes who lived in this region at around 4th century BC. I assume they also enjoyed beauty of the river Una.  But I didn´t want to place girls in “ancient” times. It is Yukata day in 2022. With BT and battery powered amps it is easy nowadays to have full band outside.


Palette is based on rainbow colors, and looking left to right you can easily spot red, orange, yellow (gold), green, light cyan, indigo (dark blue) and variations of violet. I wanted to add each one an individual touch by making each yukata color palette to contrast the previous one. I clashed pastel with metallic and neon colors. Also, each decorative pattern hasn´t been preplanned, and I went with the flow of the painting.  So the first girl from the left has black and red marking end of winter and dark nights, with obi having early spring vibe, her hair color is dark red with silver kanzashi (hair ornamets) and she plays beige white bass guitar. The second girl has orange hair color and neon orange yukata with metallic light turquoise parts. The patterns should present water flowers and grass in the morning sun. Her obi has simple water pattern on blue, and lower parts of yukata should present hanabi on a starry night.  Kanzashi is gold one, and she is smoking long kiseru used by kabuki actors.  The third girl wears gold. She is blonde with dark metallic turquoise kanzashi, with the pearl obi. I didn´t do any additional decoration because she is presenting Amaterasu in a way, therefore I only drew small sun mon on the sleeves. She is playing keyboards. The fourth girl has this spring/summer green yukata with my take on wheat floral pattern. The upper part of yukata is decorated with the mountains pattern with Fuji peak on each sleeve. The obi is decorated with my take on hemp leaves pattern.  Obviously, she already had a little bit too much of hemp and sake.  The fifth girl has a turquoise yukata with the mountains pattern in the upper part and the wave pattern in the lower part. She should present long humid summer days in Japan.  For the sixth girl I went with hard-working, every-day girl, and her yukata is indigo blue. It would be made of denim, she is wearing Rasta hat that covers her dreadlocks, her obi is green with the gold lion pattern. She is drinking local shochu and having trout from the river. She is taking well-deserved break. The seventh one is bringing drums – in this case I chose tarabuka over taiko since it is more common here. Her yukata is a wild one, resembles a rainy, cloudy day and a stormy night. I used tomoe of taiko to connect sound of a thunder with drums She is just entering the scenery.

Now who is looking where?

The second and the third girl are looking at the first girl, the fourth one could be dazing at the river, while the fifth one is looking at the approaching seventh one. The sixth one is not looking at anyone, she is just drinking. Now, the first one and the seventh one, are not looking at you, they are observing sakura in full bloom. So maybe, the first girl stopped playing and that is why the second one and the third one are looking at her?

In the end, I used very simple one-point-linear depth of field technique on the fence and wood padded floor so it would be easier to connect visually each panel together.  Don´t try to check perspective, it is all wrong and that’s why I love Ukiyo-e. Each panel can be enjoyed individually but the painting really shines out when all panels are placed together.  The painting is named after dEUS song Girls Keep Drinking. Lyrics go well with the painting. The song itself could be in the aftermath of this gathering.

Technique: acrylic on canvas

Size: polyptych 60 x 180 cm (23.62 x 70.86 inch)
Canvases 6x 60x30cm (23,62 x 11.81 inch)

Year: May 2022

Availability: In Private Collection

Bijin-ga (Paintings of the Beautiful Person)

When you have a friend like Nana Monda, it is hard not to enjoy bijin-ga. Her paintings have been constantly influencing my work. For me she is a truly living master of bijin-ga. Next in line is my friend Nataša Konjević, whose fantastic mixture of magic and portraits never fail to amaze me.

Bijin-ga is commonly translated as Portraits of beautiful women but it should be translated as Portraits of beautiful person, an individual, something that reflects inner beauty, gender is not specified at all. This leaves opening to gender fluidity in my future paintings from this series.

In my bijin-ga I will try to grasp iki – いき feeling, a beautiful sensual situation or a personal charm, where a viewer is a discreet witness to this moment.