Friday, July 31, 2009


Over the years, I always admired the photos I saw in National Geographic and other nature magazines. Yesterday, when I managed to capture this bee in our garden I was ecstatic, to say the least! I am so very happy to have been at the right place, at the right time with the right equipment.

Happiness digital Photography.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Butterfly Kiss

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever - Carl Sagan

I watched this butterfly less than an hour ago kissing flowers right outside my kitchen window and shot this picture through the glass pane since I didn't want to disturb its morning dance. I love these butterflies even as they lay eggs on my favorite dill and parsley plants in the herb patch and the resulting caterpillars get good and fat as they gorge on them!!! I am in awe as I witness the cycle of change.

Butterfly Kiss Digital photography

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mystical Dance

Daylight, full of small dancing particles
and the one great turning, our souls
are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?
- Rumi

The Dervishes, followers of the Melvana Rumi, a 13th century mystic, Sufi poet and philosopher perform a 'Sema' ceremony where they whirl and dance (check this video for a glimpse of the ceremony) as they aim towards spiritual perfection. The whirling dance and accompanying Sufi music is quite mesmerizing and transfixes everyone in the vicinity. All over Turkey, there are performances of whirling dervishes most evenings for the tourists - done very respectfully. The ceremony ends with a quote from Quran: "Unto God belong the East and the West, and wither over ye turn, you are faced with Him. He is All-Embracing, All-Knowing"

Whirling Dervishes color pencils 12x9"

Monday, July 27, 2009

Where the East and West Meet

Merhaba! We just returned from a week long trip to Turkey - spending the bulk of our vacation in Istanbul, the city of two continents. The minarets and the domes telegraph the exotic and the excitement that is buzzing just beneath the skyline. The digital photograph above is of the view from our hotel, taken at sunset the day we landed. Over the week, we soaked in the long history, the amazing architectural splendors, the vibrant culture and the beauty of the place. We spent the bulk of our time in the 'Old Istanbul' a UNESCO designated World Heritage site packed with so many layers of wonderful things that we barely scratched the surface. A copy of Lonely Planet Turkey and Noble Prize winning Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk's Istanbul -Memories of a City helped me get better acquainted with the place.

View of Blue Mosque digital photography

Friday, July 17, 2009

Color More than Skin Deep

I recently read two very interesting articles in 'Science Daily' about colors in bird feathers. According to Yale university researchers 'some of the brightest colors in nature are created by tiny nanostructures with a structure similar to beer foam or a sponge.' One of the paper's authors also explained that better plumage meant better mate :) In the second article " Birds: Feather color more than skin deep" a team from Spain reported on how the red feathers get their color: " the red carotenoids that give the common crossbill its red coloration are produced in the liver, not the skin, as previously thought " Even though I don't need to know these facts at all, I appreciate nature's ingenuity as I try to reproduce on paper the beauty of the birds, the flowers and other wonders.

In "tourist attraction" done in watercolors (15x12"), I tried wet on wet for textures and color variations and changes. I choose some colors from references and others from my imagination. The colorful birds and the flower needed the dark background to shine and that only came about after many days of pondering! My apologies for the reflection in the photograph - I didn't notice it until I posted it on the blog.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

No direction But Beauty

Today's 'Writer's Almanac' listed among the day's birthdays Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda and Thoreau. I love their writings. When I was photographing this painting this morning, that bit of information I had read earlier triggered the memory of a poem 'Water' by Nerudo. Below are the last few lines from it :

Water is different,
has no direction but beauty,
runs through all dreams of color,
Takes bright lessons
from the rock
and in those occupations work out
the unbroken duties of the foam.

I painted "Golden Beach" (watercolor, 9x12") on Fredrix pre-stretched watercolor canvas. I ordered the canvas from Cheap Joe's. It is a 100% cotton artist canvas already coated with gesso for water-based paints. I found it a bit difficult to work on that surface even though or may be because it was very easy to take the paint off. I tried the canvas to see if I could get away from framing expenses but I think the painting still needs to be sealed since I found the watercolor paints on it comes off too easily when it is not sealed or under glass. I have not tried any spray sealants yet as I don't feel confident about spraying it evenly without any pooling or dripping since that would defeat the purpose! So, it is waiting to be resolved and I welcome any advice or suggestions :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Another Season

This is a small (5x9") painting I did on a whim couple of days ago on a piece of leftover paper. I used watercolors and watercolor pencils dipped in water to paint it. Because of the size of the paper, I had to simplify the scene, be selective and put in just enough elements to capture the essence of the landscape that is a familiar sight in rural India. I can see a lot of things I should /could have done differently but I think I also see a simple, quiet solitude in the scene.

I went in search of information and tips on landscape painting today and came across a good article in the Smithsonian Education web site. I will be going back there for more reading and learning. And, of course, I will keep on sketching and painting. Its comforting to know that even Paul Cezanne felt "Painting is damned difficult- you always think you've got it, but you haven't."

Another Season watercolors and watercolor pencil 5x9"

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Declaration!

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness."

Happy Fourth!

Boston, MA. Digital photography

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Over the past few years, one of the things I have been really amazed by, is the dramatic colors of the water and sky during sunrise and sunset. It is a most wondrous sight - and changing every second with no two ever alike. Sometimes they look so surreal, I feel no one will believe it unless they see it with their own eyes! This scene 'Fishing' (watercolor, 12x16") is from a vacation by the sea sometime time ago. I never saw these people actually catching anything and I think this was morning meditation in disguise.

Speaking of colorful and dramatic, Artist David Lobenberg has created a blog dedicated to what he calls "Self Portrait Global Love In." He issued a challenge to artists to share their self portraits in that blog. Its packed with wonderfully creative self portraits by artists from all corners of the world. He has generously given his time and efforts to put up the site. My painting from the post "One of Many Faces" is one of self portraits in that collection. The self portraits are dramatic, colorful and wonderful as, I am assuming, the artists themselves :)

Fishing Watercolor 12x16"
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