Friday, May 29, 2009

Process and Product

My son directed me to  an article in New York Times on cover art created for the June 1st issue of  New Yorker magazine using iPhone Brushes application by artist Jorge Columbo! I don't know if I will be able to master the application or it will make me a better artist to have a sketch book so handy but I liked what  Mr. Columbo said in the article  that no one notices he is drawing. And that would be a big plus for me because I am not comfortable drawing in public and I have not been good about keeping my resolve to sketch something everyday.  So I have one more reason to justify my newest  'want' -to switch to the latest handy dandy cell phone :) 

Reading the article reminded me about my experience with painting in public.  Rhododendrons in watercolor (24"x14") has a story attached to it. In painting this still life set up, I used the basic watercolor brushwork, with minimal pencil sketching.  I enjoyed painting the flowers and the leaves but didn't get to finish the painting for sundry reasons. And as it sat on my desk waiting,  a guest  made a very critical remark about the still 'under construction' painting. I felt crushed. Meanwhile the set up didn't last, of course, and I hadn't taken any photographs of it either.  Couple of years later, trying to conjure up a vase, with the stinging remark still lurking in my memory, very hesitatingly I added a few strokes and washes, and was pleasantly surprised at the end result. Its been framed and hanging since then reminding me to enjoy the process and be true to my instincts in my art. 

Monday, May 25, 2009


I painted this bright eyed boy from a series of photographs taken by my daughter during the Chinese New Year parade (watch her video here) in New York city.  I combined elements from three different photographs, even flipping the shadows in the background from one to match the direction of the sun on the boy. I glazed the background of painting with a light wash of purple to bring out the young wide eyed parade participant.  

Today is my special 'photographer's' birthday and I wish her a wonderful, bright eyed fun ride in her life's parade :) 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Flower Power

Today I stumbled upon an interesting article on Van Gogh's art and some scientific experiments in the archives of Discovery Magazine website. Apparently 'honey bees that had never encountered real flowers favored Van Gogh's sunflowers over floral works of other well known artists.' That is impressive! The BBC piece that sited the study further elaborates that ' A bee's favourite colour is blue, he (Professor Lars Chittka) added, which is associated with high-nectar flowers. This could be why the bees were strongly drawn to the blue "Vincent" signature in Van Gogh's painting, as well as the blue blooms in A Vase of Flowers, and a light blue square in Still Life with a Beer Mug.'

I don't think my flower paintings have that power to attract the bees but I still enjoy painting them. In this piece, I used permanant masking fluid to show the bright Indian sun shining on the flowers.

Flowers in the Sun watercolor 14x11"

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rain or Sunshine?

I captured this scene last month in Boston.  I had walked about a mile or so from our hotel to the Museum of Fine Arts and arrived a few minutes before the doors had opened for the day. While waiting outside I caught the flags fluttering in the wind high above  with the bright morning sun shining behind it.  The past few days its been raining heavily here and the only sunshine I saw was in the photographs! I echoed the away message from my niece in London : 'who stole my sunshine?'  Our garden of course, looks very lush, green and happy and even though blooms on the Azalea plants have  lost all the petals due to the heavy rainfall, the roses are in full glory.  I was reminded of a saying: Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Best Buddy

Mr. Bones, as his blog (here) shows is very special. I have been working on his portrait for a while now, trying to figure out how to paint his black shiny coat and those soulful eyes. I did a light underpainting with different colors -peacock green and  ultramarine blue on his body and touches of pumpkin orange on his face before using black grape. I am very happy with the final piece and I hope Mr. Bone's best buddy will also think so because his birthday is very special to me too :).

Mr.Bones color pencils 12x9"

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Six Degrees of Separation

We have a patch of cactus growing by the bedroom window.  It usually gives a spectacular show of yellow flowers after a good rainfall in spring.  We have been having monsoon like rains this week and I see the buds popping up all over the patch.  As I was researching  the name and variety that was growing in our yard, I discovered that cacti are part of the plant order Caryophyllales which also includes plants like beets, baby's breath, spinach, amaranth, tumbleweeds, carnations, rhubarb, bougainvillea, buckwheat, chickweed, knotgrass etc. I still don't know the name but I full of wonder and amazement at the nature's bounty. 

After the Rainfall  watercolor on hot press paper. 15x11"

Monday, May 4, 2009

Windows to the World

I have been sketching animal eyes the past couple of days and its been really helpful. My resolve about drawing something in my sketchbook everyday, I am sorry to note,  does need a good shot in the arm.  But right now, I have a sneaking suspicion that  I am not making up lost time, rather using sketching as an excuse to avoid starting my next project!  I have the outline done but still debating if it should be watercolors or color pencils.  I know that rather than procrastinating, I should just plunge in and get my stuff done
'Windows to the World'  graphite 7x9"

Friday, May 1, 2009

To Life!

As this photograph shows, Boston this past week was a reminder how life itself is mix of old and new. Blooming flowers were shaded by just budding  bare trees. Cool evenings reminded us of the traces of winter still lingering. I walked everywhere, even sketched a bit, soaked in the beauty of spring and also reconnected with a couple of friends.  It was somehow fitting that the one play we watched   'The Buddha, In His Own words'  conceived and brilliantly performed as a one man show by Evan Brenner spoke of  change as the only constant and the impermanence of everything. 

When we returned home two days ago, for about half an hour I was frantic looking for my house keys, imagining them to be left behind somewhere in Boston! Fortunately they were buried deep in my suitcase while I and searched for them in my purse.  Today I stumbled upon a wonderful story in New York Times (via about a couple who found a camera while traveling in Scotland and with online tools and cyber sleuthing found its rightful owners. Its really heartwarming to know that good samaritans are sill around! To Life! 
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