Sunday, December 30, 2012

Colours in Puri

I have been doing some painting, but have not really posted anything for a will end the year and start the new one with a resolution to be a little more regular on this blog! As usual the garden is in full bloom at Hashimara Hall here in Puri. How the Mali can grow such an amazing assortment of flowers, is beyond me, with the garden facing the sea and a constant wind!! These cannas are outside my window and almost shine in the sun!
We have spent so many great holidays here, while our children were we are here with them as grown women and with their families around them, and one feels blessed for all one has! Its a nostalgic time as Viveck retires next year and I am not sure whether we will come here again, altogether as a family.

Friday, November 2, 2012

My night flowering cactus

I have been away for over 3 weeks, and although I have had  a terrific time, it is always so terrific to come home. I was home late at night and walked into my little verandah garden to say hi to my plants. I was greeted by my cactus plant which had given out this amazing flower. It gives out buds off an on, but I have never managed to see it open before! This was a real miracle and such a wonderful welcome home!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The blue door

Old doors and windows really fascinate me. They conjure up images and stories of all those who passed by or through the doors, the life and times that have drifted past, while the door has stood firm.
This was one such image from a reference picture taken in Portugal!

Monday, October 15, 2012

There is a  small lake bordering one side of the property here! Somehow water has such a calming effect on me. I am quiet and peaceful here.
A tree on a small clump of land!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I am in a naturopathy clinic for 2 weeks.  This is a retreat, a place where one focuses on reconnecting with one’s body and the healing  of it, the experience has been rejuvenating….I want to share this with people, my family and friends, and even just acquaintances who may find my experience something they can connect with!  I wonder whether I should start another blog as this blog is meant for my journey into the world of water colour! But suddenly I realise a simple truth, all my art is linked with my life. It’s my  very  personal impressions and perspective of things and happenings around which colour what I paint and how I paint it! So this is indeed the right place for me to share my thoughts. 

A creeper with bright pink flowers, "rani pink" as Thai called them, grows on a wall across from where I sit and eat my diet of fruit!

For those of you reading who don’t know what Naturopathy is, you can check out the link here ! I am here with Nishka and we are already one week  into our stay and have another few days left. Its good mother – daughter bonding time, which is a huge bonus!  Its been all that one expected….and I’m confident I will go back feeling well and rejuvenated!  It’s such a unique experience to be in a space where everyone is into the business of healing and learning to value and respect one’s body, understand the critical link between one’s mind and body, and how the well  being of one effects the other, and cannot work in isolation! There is such a positive energy around, I feel uplifted.  There are people from all walks of life here, people whom we would possibly never meet in our regular lives…..and yet we strike up conversations and talk about all sorts of things, from cooking to how one prays, if one does! I met a lady who can recite the entire Ramayana in Sanskrit, and she was so proud of it. She is twisted with pain and walks with some difficulty, but is brave enough to attend the 6 am yoga sessions! 
We all seem to instinctively reach out to another person in any kind of discomfort.  The amazing thing is our life here is such that one has the time to notice it, and actually do something. So when Nishka caught a chill and was unwell for a couple of days, so many random people, would stop me to ask whether she was well or not, someone who had been on the next mat during our early morning yoga, or sat next to me while waiting for one of the treatments!Conversations just happen!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Such an amazing variety of colours! A quick sketch sitting on Naomi's backyard in Vancouver!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sketching in Bryant Park in Manhattan

I wish I painted more....even sketched more....thought I would do a whole lot more than I have done during my holiday. Bryant Park was close to the hotel and we went for a walk, sat and ate a sandwich and I sketched this lovely stone pot, full of flowers and greenery! This is a quick we got caught in the rain....and had to rush back to the hotel!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Old brick archway in Portugal

I have put together a whole lot of reference pictures that I want to use as a base for the paintings for my exhibition in March! I am possibly going to focus on boats, old windows and doors and arches! This was a wonderful old fort we visited in Portugal. I loved the red bricks and the picture it made with a bit of the overhanging tree, the sunlit spaces and shadows! The picture is an A4 size and I have used a rough paper! It added to the picture!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Boats in Cochin!

The exciting thing is that I have booked a gallery for my first ever exhibition! I am doing it jointly with Jyoti David. She is a more experienced artist and we try and get together every Saturday to paint! Now that we have committed ourselves I have 8 months to get some decent work done!
An artist friend said that one should only paint something when it moves you and touches your heart! These boats in Kerala certainly did! There is something fascinating about boats, especially the country ones we have in India.... of so many varieties as well! The combination of the water and the boat, the stillness and calm of the moment, filled me with a feeling of wanting to capture the here it is....

Monday, June 11, 2012

Early morning sun

Walking in the Lakes his morning at 5.30 am, the light was great and there was a wonderful breeze! It has been so hot and humid that any kind of physical activity seems to be a herculean task! I see this tree every time I go for a walk, but today I loved the light on it from one side, and the extra plants growing on its outstretched limb, a sure sign that the recent showers that we have had are a precursor to the Monsoons, hence so much greenery has suddenly sprung up....Came home and painted the picture from memory...loved the colours! I seem to have caught the light and for a half hour sketch, it has come out quite well. Once again I didn't think just put down what I felt!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Orchids in Bangkok!

Bangkok is the land of you get off the plane at the airport you are greeted by them and everywhere you go they are there, wonderful blooms in myriad colours!. They bring back memories of my father and my childhood in Burma! He had an amazing love for them and collected plants from all over the country as he traveled in his role as Military Attache. Now My daughter Naeeda seems to be developing the same interest. She has orchids in her home in Bangkok and spends a lot of time worrying about them  and fussing over them!
I have been visiting the kids for a week as David has had to be in hospital for a couple of days....and waiting in his hospital room I painted these in my sketch book!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Nets in Cochin

Practicing my paintings and working towards the exhibition. I did a pencil sketch as a first step towards completing this painting. It helped me get my values sorted! Then I have done a small version of the picture 11"x7 1/2". Now I am ready to do the final version, which will probably be on a half size sheet! I have fiddled with the colours and have chosen the ones I will use. I think this a good way forward really! It gives me space to think through what I want to convey in the picture and  experiment!
The reference pictures are from our trip to Cochin where we saw the Chinese fishing nets! They are only called Chinese fishing nets because they were originally brought from China by the Portuguese who first introduced them to this part of India and now they have become indigenous to the fishermen on this coast!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Out for the day!

I was driving through rural Gujarat! We stopped at a level crossing, it seemed we were waiting forever,  as the train took its own time to amble by!  It was mid day, hot and very dusty and I was definitely feeling a little cross, so I got out of the car to walk around. It was a typical railway crossing, out in the middle of nowhere, with hardly any shade anywhere, miles of barren fields baking in the hot sun. Suddenly I noticed this group of women, who had obviously climbed out of broken down jeep (the only other vehicle there), sitting together, laughing and chatting, dressed in   brightly coloured clothes, bangles jingling, enjoying a wonderful moment. The  heat or dust didn't seem to bother them at all, and seeing their sheer enjoyment of the moment my mood lifted! Thank goodness I carry a sketch pad and paints, so  I did a quick sketch...hoping to capture a moment that was special. I have taken a few reference pictures and am sure will definitely lead to a much larger painting!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Boats on the Hooghly.

I haven't been painting for a while, well not serious painting that is! But have decided to give more time to it now. So I did the woman in Ladakh, and now this one of boats on the Hooghly! The reference pictures are from pictures Viveck took during a weekend visit to a friend's place on the river. I have changed the picture qyite a bit from the reference. I wanted to capture the light of the early morning sun, when it has fully risen and the light is bright, and think I have managed that quite well!
This will definitely go up in my exhibition planned at the end of the year.

Making rotis in Ladakh!

My young friend Shahshank sent me pictures of his trip to Ladakh. This one of a woman making rotis in a little roadside dhaba brought back memories of my own treks and drives into the Himalayas. The picture also moved me as it had captured something special, possibly the resilience of this woman and a calmness of the whole scene while she continued with her cooking under such harsh conditions.
It also made for a great reference picture. I decided to  use it as my last picture for Fiona's online painting course. It has been a real challenge though, and it took me a while to paint it and be happy with the result. I thought it would allow me to practice all that I had learnt. So far I have been doing small paintings, but decided would like to make a larger version of the picture so have painted it on a half sheet. Fiona also felt I was ready for it! I first did a pencil sketch of the picture, just to make sure I got the perspective right and also that I had had understood the lights and darks, and where they should be in the picture. I have found that this is a very useful exercise.

I then painted the picture. It has come out much better than I expected, as the darks were really difficult to do'. I now feel that maybe this was not the best subject for a water colour, as getting solid darks is really difficult to do, especially if one wants to maintain the translucency of the medium.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Another learning point

I have been going to a weekly painting class. This time I was encouraged to take a pencil sketch  and looking at the values and tones paint the picture in colour. I chose this picture of a horse. I loved the sketch, as it had caught the movement of the animal, and the grace as well! I enjoyed the experience and see the value of actually sketching a picture in pencil, working out the lights and darks, the values  and tones and then paint it in colour.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The golden rickshaw!

Sometimes you paint a picture and it makes your heart sing, as it is exactly how you wanted it to be. That's how I feel about my recent picture of the rickshaw. I loved the colours the rickshaw took on, bathed in the light of the afternoon sun, a  golden glow....and I have managed to catch YIPPPPeeee! I am thrilled with this! It did not take too much time....Around a couple of hours from start to finish, and this time I just let my feelings take over, not try and be too accurate with the details.....and here it golden rickshaw! The interesting thing also was that I just used a very limited palette, just 3 colours, gamboge yellow, burnt sienna, burnt umber and a tiny bit of crimson!

I wish I painted more! I make these many resolutions to paint EVERY day or almost everyday, and  they fall by the wayside as life just takes over! Maybe the trick is to not make any resolutions but just do it....and not necessarily feel terribly guilty if I dont'!

Monday, February 6, 2012

More Pictures!

More pictures, just sketches really, basically time spent in my art class. These are really experiments and practices with colour palettes and none of it takes too much time. I just don't seem to have the time to sit down and concentrate on some serious painting. Life just  takes over sometimes and at the moment that's what seems to be happening to me and I seem to be constantly running to catch up. Anyway I'm pleased that I am doing a little something almost every day,  and keeping up my resolution for the year! Once Naeeda's wedding is over this month, hopefully I will have some quiet time to catch up.

Friday, February 3, 2012

WC Jan Challenge!

One of my resolutions this year is to try and participate in the monthly WC challenge! I managed to finish this by the skin of my teeth on the 31st itself, but have only managed to post it today! I tried to remember the importance of the COI in a picture,  that Ona had taught me and made the boats my COI! I didn't give too much detail on the houses, but tried to get the blue of the water and the mixture of sand and sea!
This is the reference picture

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A sketch on my birthday!

I painted this today, sitting in the sun, looking out at the hills and just being content. We are in Coonoor, up in the Nilgiri Mountains, the blue mountains as the name suggests! Viveck planned this as a birthday treat  and I am really happy that we took this time out. Trees fascinate me, and I can never have enough of looking at them, there is so much strength in them, and for me a they create a sense of continuity, of history and of course beauty! This tree stood at the edge of the lawn, the trunk in interesting shapes and I have tried to capture the wonderful lights of a winter sun! I think I should have painted the hills at the back a little bit darker!

There is no pollution here, so I guess the sun shines brighter. We went for  long walk up to Sims Park, full of a wonderful variety of trees, the oldest being 150 years old, the sunlight peeping in and out among the trees, creating interesting colours, lights and shadows! New leaves have begun to sprout, and the colours are amazing, from lime greens to translucent pinks and reds! I have taken a lot of reference pictures and hope some more sketches will come from this wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The beetlenut tree

I created this picture from a number of different pictures. Its not my usual style and preference of using a loose wet technique, but I thought I would push myself outside the box a little!. I remembered Ona's lesson about focusing on the COI, and thus have exaggerated the beetle nut tree a little as it has an interesting bark. I have also put more detail in the mustard fields in the background and used a fine brush to do so. Certainly a first for me as I much prefer a broader brush and a looser style. This is a very typical scene in rural Bengal!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

More Practice!

What with going to work,  trying to finish bits of needlework I have started, and just regular everyday responsibilities, I never seem to get enough time to paint. However my new year resolution has been to paint a little bit everyday if I can. That one has already been broken as I don't seem to be able to do a painting everyday, but certainly some amount of regular painting is happening.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year!

We're already into the 6th of January and I have only just had the time to look into my blog! So before anything else....a very very Happy New Year to everyone! I sketched this on a recent visit to Kalinpong. I was looking after Sufi as she slept and looking out of the window was thinking of yet another year ending and a new one starting, how I felt peaceful and content in this continuity, especially as I looked at our little grand daughter so fast asleep, another generation growing up! The view outside framed by the old wooden window made a lovely picture, and seemed apt and suited  my contemplative mood. So I post it here to say 'all the very best for a wonderful and fulfilling New Year!

The girls and their hubbies/ to be hubby and Sufi were all here for over 10 days! What a magical time it has been! So much laughter and fun and such precious memories! So although I have been doing some painting have not really had any time to post anything!

The following pictures were part of art class in early December. Finally I have a tutor who seems to understand what I want to do so has been encouraging me to practice practice practice!!!! I am beginning to realise this is the best way to get a better control of the medium and understand how to work with varying values of colour! These are just quick pictures, each has taken about a half hour, and the ideas were taken from pictures by other water colour artists.

The next 3 pictures were done in plein aire. The first is a tiny temple in the resort Anantara in Hua Hein in Thailand where we had gone for a few days to finalise Naeeda's wedding plans! The poinsettias  were painted during our recent visit to Kalinpong. Their colours were so bright that I tried to capture that brightness!