Tuesday, May 31, 2011


This is a sad time for us. We are here for Ian's funeral. After the shock of such a sudden passing, I guess there is some solace in the fact that he wont suffer any more. The house is full of flowers as is the custom here in England. These are wonderful yellow tulips in a blue vase that sat on Seetha's dining table. They were the right flowers for Ian, he was so full of life and so very happy.  So I thought I would do a 20 min challenge and keep it as a reminder of Ian! I painted quickly, and challenged myself even further, by trying to get in as much detail as I could!

Friday, May 20, 2011


I did this on my flight to UK yesterday. 7 hours from Dubai to Manchester through the night was really something. I was looking through the inflight magazine and came across a picture of this little African girl from an advert from a funding agency, and was touched with her smile. It reminded me of the grand daughter of the lady I stayed with in Jamaica during one of my work trips so many years ago. She was always grinning, in and out of my room and fascinated that my hair was straight!!!! So I decided to paint the picture. Its the first time I have painted a portrait as well. I can see some of the flaws in this picture....for example the eyes are not quite at the same level....but as a first its not bad! I wasn't thinking too much as I painted, just kept the feeling alive. I see how crucial memories are to the success of a painting. if you don't get a strong feeling for the subject, the painting will possibly never come alive, no matter how skilled you are as a painter!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Learning about Values and Colour

I have never really been to any painting class as such and have painted what I see the best way I see it. But I was feeling the need to understand things about colour, how to get perspective in my water colours and such likes! So I signed up for Fiona Kingdon's online class. Fiona is a tremendous artist whom I met through Wet Canvas and I feel privileged to learn from her (http://www.emotiveexpressions.com/). Bless the net, as it has made these classes so real and so immediate! I have an independent learning plan based on my needs and we have started with a bang.
The first thing I have learnt is about colour and value. First I had to practice a great deal on understanding colour value. Below is an example:
It was really quite difficult to grade a colour from its deepest shade down to almost white on a scale of 10. Once I was able to do that with some degree of proficiency (I still have to practice a huge amount) we moved to my first picture.  The aim was to learn to identify the center of interest (COI) in a picture and then paint that. The picture Ona chose  is one that we took on our trip to Roopkund and is given here:
In the first picture the COI was the door frame and the door and it came out like this:
I used the darkest  colour, and the brightest and the most contrasts on the door way high lighting the carvings of the door posts. I left the inside with almost no detail and Ona told me about giving it ultramarine blue washes so that it receded....and it did!
In the next picture the COI was the inside of the house. This time I kept the colours and values of the door frame light with little contrast in values. I added detail to the insideof the house, focusing on the sack at the top of the stairs, the wood panel on the walls and the stairs it self. The picture changed totally!
I am really excited about being able to create the difference, and realise how important it is, and what a difference it makes to a painting!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I have a clear memory of sitting on a rock at Wan, just before we started the first day of our trek to Roopkund, and sketching this path and these houses at the beginning of the village. I remember the amazing greens of the trees and how the sun light shone through the trees and the play of light and shadow. There is something really special about a clear sunny day at 11 thousand feet!!!! I remember the day so well, we were up really early and woke up to hot tea and biscuits brought by our ghursavar while the excitement of starting my first serious trek into the Himalayas built up. We had to wait while our pack ponies were arranged and walked up a little to take pictures and sketch a little.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yellow flowers!

These trees are in full bloom and just keep popping up. It sheds its flowers a lot so there is a carpet of flowers under it! The sky was beginning to get dark as a nor'wester storm was obviously building up slowly. I was driving to office and just saw the tree, the yellow flowers were almost shining they were so bright! So I did a quick sketch for the 20 min challenge! I didn't have time to actually do much to the background, only got the mauveish grey of the sky in the distance!