Only a couple of weeks in between visits this time. Day one we colored in all of the rocks and did the peony on the elbow. I can't really remember how long it all took, but it was a long day.
the flower on the elbow isn't especially big, but it was a challenge. It can be a tricky area to pack it in solid and get things nice and tight. Also not the most pleasant place to get a tattoo like that, but as always he sat like a champ (almost too well...made me feel wimpy for getting a little tired toward the end).
Normally long days can be a bit of a strain on me, and generally I prefer 2-3 hour sessions tops, but that's been changing a bit. It's really the mental strain that gets to me after several hours. Depending on what you're working on and where, it can take all you've got and then some to stay 100% focused and in the zone for 6 plus hours...
I haven't been sleeping too well lately, and the week leading up to this session I was up late watching lots of documentaries on life in Zen monasteries in Japan. Not the most action packed viewing for most, but I really find it relaxing and incredibly interesting. To see the amount of focus and awareness they bring to every single task, not to mention the extremely rigorous zazen practice (seated meditation performed several hours daily), is very inspiring. It serves as a reminder to really shed layers of my self and the world around me and just tattoo, and gives me a high mental standard to aspire to.
Day two was a shorter session. We colored in the top and final peony. It was a perfect and managable session that was a nice follow up to the previous marathon day.
The plan for next time is finish the whole shishi in one go. That would make it a total of seven sessions for this arm...not bad at all. Also, he put down a deposit to start the other arm and we're gonna do another shishi and more peonies. They're often represented in pairs, and to be able to do two matching sleeves of this theme as someone's first ever tattoos is pretty cool in my book...
Bonus inner arm shot: