Another fanart piece for Ayezur's lovely Rurouni Kenshin fanfiction Vaster than Empires. The fanfiction can be found here: [link]
The story is set in the year 1601 in Japan, the beginning days of Tokugawa regime. Kenshin is the Lord Himura, and he has been given his own lands - coincidentally they just happen to be Kaoru's family's lands. And Kaoru has been given to Kenshin, as his bride to smooth the transition of the region to their new ruler. To put it mildly, Kaoru is not happy about the situation and neither is Kenshin.. but he is very fast becoming smitten. Kaoru though.. well. This scene is set in chapter 3, near to the very end when Kaoru voluntarily takes an attempt to spent time with Kenshin for the second time by bringing tea to Kenshin:
"Honored wife. Please. One would be delighted to have your company, that I would."
He bowed slightly as he said it, an invitation and an apology. She was still for a heartbeat, then turned.
"As you wish, honored husband," she said, and went to sit beside him.
The day was drawing to a close. The dying light cast the garden in muted tones: soft purples and greys, and shadows black as charcoal. They knelt side-by-side, watching the flowers grow, and above their heads the night bled ink into the lingering sunset. He could feel her warmth, even across the gap between them: only a few inches, but it might as well have been miles. Kenshin studied her profile in the dying light, all his unvoiced wishes yearning towards her, and refused to put words around his desires. Even in the silence of his heart."
Unlike my other pieces, this is not exatly a described scene in the story - but instead the waiting moment when they just sit together and watch the last rays of setting sun bathe the garden in colors. As this particular piece was supposed to be relaxing, fast and easy... an attempt at speed painting... I used a bit more dramatic color setting than what was described in the description of the scene. However... well. You can see how my attemp at speedpainting went. I destroyed it totally by getting hooked to details. Again. And it really is not on purpose. I just can't help myself. However I did cut corners with this one by using material from the work files of "The Garden" - in particular the wisterias and hydrangeas are copied and refitted to this picture. On the other hand... here we get the see the famed garden from another perspective and direction!
Another thing that is not exatly according to the descriptions is Kenshin's kimono design. In the story Kenshin wears simple and brigthly colored clothing on home, and when he must don the mask of "Lord Himura" he has to use elaborate patterned and darker shaded clothing. In this piece I opted a fusion. After all, he is on a short visit to his own province but he is not yet relaxed, and do not yet feel at home - so he uses elaborate patterned clothing. On the other hand, there is the beloved magenta kimono! *muahahahahahaaa* I have been wanting to introduce the magenta on him so much. You cannot even know how much I love the pinks and magenta on him! And note: his hair is tied down. That is on purpose. Another good thing with these choises is that Kenshin is very recognizable, I think. Eventhough we can see only his back. Same with Kaoru - the hairstyle and ribbon in the hair help a lot. Kaoru's clothing is very simple, but classy as was described in the scene - and very similar that I have grown to like on her.
I did use 3 textures on this: the oak, the shoji screen and tatami textures. However, the clothing designs are this time all me. (The dragon on Kenshin's kimono is yet again from Himura family crest that I designed for Shogun's demon.) I did use one base picture for seiza pose from behind, but I had to adapt the bodytype a lot for both Kenshin and Kaoru.. and the clothing I drew on that pose according to how I thought it would go. The rest - well whatever mistakes you find in perspective and background... that's all me.
The total work time clocked on around 11 hours. And whatever mistakes and blurs and pixel mess there is - well. I just got home and tackled on this while I was bone deep weary and exhausted from my trip to London.
Again thanks for the wonderfull Ayezur for being an inspiration and kicking me back to arts. I have drawn this year more than I have since 2006. That just shows what a good inspiration can do to a person! I thought that I would never come back to arts, but here I am!
If you are interested in the WIP story of this picture, it can be found in my tumblr blogpost: [link]