Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Thrill of the Search

This past week when I was in New York city, I was constantly scanning for things to photograph or sketch. I get excited just anticipating a scene that may capture my fancy. The only risk is I will drain the battery in my camera clicking away constantly! But mostly when I am least expecting, an interesting subject unfolds. I have discovered that being present in the moment opens up so many possibilities. I was listening to the guide inside the Radio City Hall when I unexpectedly caught another tour participant silhouetted against the window. Opportunities are endless and all I need to do is look.

Silhouette Digital Photography

Monday, August 24, 2009

Music in the City

Washington Square Park in New York city is lively and vibrant especially in summer. I am enjoying a few days here in the city and was able to sketch this musician while listening to the wonderful music he was playing along with his two fellow musicians. It was a treat! Hope to visit a couple of museums and also sketch some more before I head back home tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Small Wonders

The close up photographs of the bees and butterflies that I clicked in the past few days got me wondering how and what do they really see in a flower. So I googled and discovered that "The worker bee's eye is a very complex organ with 6,900 facets, known as ommatidia each carrying out separate visual processes. Each one of these acts like an individual eye, and they stand aligned together, rather like straws in a bucket. Each one ends in a small convex, transparent lens. These lenses form the outer, glassy and oval-shaped surface of the eye. As well as the two compound eyes on either side of their head, a bee also has three simple eyes atop its head. Its estimated that these latter three are used to measure the strength of the light. The bee's eye is superior to the human eye in two respects: it can see ultraviolet light and perceive the plane of light polarization." The miracle of nature - the smaller the creature, the more complex its anatomy and structure!!!

"Just because you can't see something doesn't mean its not there" -So started an inspirational TED talk by Willard Wigan who creates art so elaborate, so tiny and so unique that they are mounted on pin heads or the eye of a needle and you have to see them through a microscope. Check his amazing video here as he explains that since his sculpture is so small he has to work between his heartbeats!

Up-close and Personal color pencils on 11x14" on hot press paper.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Invocation by Design

This week it was my turn with the 'painted prayers.' I made simple and small 'rangoli' for friends who are getting ready for pooja celebrations. The first photograph shows three made on plates using different lentils/dals etc. The other two are on wooden boards. I roughly sketched the designs with a erasable marker on the plates. My friend Sudha helped me fill in with the grains and lentils. The designs on the wooden boards were done the traditional way using dots to plot out and then painted with white acrylic (the middle two) and chalk (last one). The links for my other posts on the age old custom of rangoli, mandala and explanations can be reached by clicking on the title of this post.

Traditionally, Rangolis are created in color or with just white rice powder as invocations to deities for protection and blessings. The rice powder also stops the ants etc by the door too! They vary in designs, form and style from region to region. They are painted daily or on special occasions by the alters, by the front door or gate, or anyplace a ceremony is to be held. Stephen H. Huyler's books Painted Prayers: Women's Art in Village India and Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion are good references on rangoli. I embroidered a rangoli to hang in my living room when we first purchased our house - my way of having a rangoli in the house all the time :). I feel blessed to be a part of the sacred ritual that brings balance to the daily existence.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Flying Colors

This painting is an experiment I tried last week. As I was rearranging my art papers and paints, I came across a sheet of landscape painting where I had been experimenting with pouring the paints a couple of years ago. I remember well that I was trying a lake scene and was no way close to getting it right! I never like to throw away anything and visit the stack of 'unfinished' paintings when I want to just play around.

As I stood staring at it I realized the white patch in the paper would work well as the beak of this toucan -photographed by Roy Taft in Honduras and on the cover of march april issue of Audubon magazine I was getting ready to recycle. I had some acrylic paints I wanted to try and this seemed like a good way to use it on top of the watercolors. I embellished the background from the original painting adding leaves and branches and used watercolors, acrylics and color pencils to paint the toucan. I always use my own photographs and sketches but decided to do this exercise as an experiment in working out problems in a painting. In the end, yellow is the only acrylic paint I used -it covered the blue of the lake from the watercolors and helped define the feathers on the toucan's body. I really enjoyed converting the old painting and gained new confidence in experimenting and not giving up. And, some day I would like to visit Honduras and see the wild flying colors!

Wild colors mixed media 11x 15"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Painting A Prayer

To witness the concentration, reverence and the skill with which the Buddhist monks construct a Mandala is a mystical experience. For the past ten years, every summer, we have had the privilege of looking into the Tibetan Buddhism and culture as the Monks spend a week paint and then ritually deconstruct a mandala. 'Rangoli' from India, Buddhist Mandala, Native American sand paintings all speak of yearning of the soul for enlightenment and I feel, are really painted prayers. Mandala Meditation is one of my attempts to capture that spiritual language. I originally posted this as one of the paintings in a slide show of my paintings last November, but decided this week, in honor of the Monks who are back in town, to post it by itself. You may check my other posts and paintings on this topic here. I am looking forward to watching the prayers unfold this week all over again.

Mandala Meditation, color pencils 11x14"
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...