Monday, March 29, 2010


It has been gloomy and dark even during day time and raining relentlessly for the past couple days. I was unable to photograph the two paintings I just completed. Mangalore Beach is a watercolor, color pencil and graphite piece that I did in a class several years ago when I was first trying out my hand in art. Looking at it now, I was reminded of a remark by one wise old artist friend who once insisted that 'How innocent' is what I will find my early paintings :) What a beautiful way of looking - no judgement, no regrets, and no harsh self-criticism - just full acceptance.

That is what I discovered when I was demonstrating drawing last week at the 'Festival of Arts' arranged by the local Elementary School. Most of the children were thrilled to try 'upside down drawing' and were very pleased with their 'masterpieces.' Once again, I was made aware to 'be in the now' - to get excited about creating and enjoy the process fully.

Mangalore Beach Watercolor, color pencils and graphite. 11x9"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Colors of the Imagination

This past weekend afternoon as we were ducking from one store into another trying not to get wet from the rain, we were treated to this beautiful rainbow. The scene was captured quickly with my cell phone. Rainbows may be formed by the refraction of the visible spectrum through the drops of rain, but I like its Kannada (my mother tongue) name : Kaamana billu - Cupid's Bow, which conjures up mysterious romantic plot that just may be happening right around the bend any minute now :)

Kaamana Billu digital photography

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Language of Art

In painting Serenity, I combined several elements of the garden from the Colonial Williamsburg Nursery to come up with this composition. I loved the red water pump, the hose, the wooden buckets, the wall, and the vines scattered around the garden and clicked away merrily with my camera. Drawing and painting this piece was a pleasant challenge. My goal was to convey the sun dappled busy corner of the garden.

I have been reading "Watercolor Wisdom - Lessons From a Lifetime of Painting and Teaching" by Jo Taylor, AWS . In the introduction she writes : In music there are the notes, keys, and chords with which to compose. In the visual arts there are the elements and principles of design. This language of art is applicable to any style of work, whether absolute realism, abstraction, or non-representation.

I hope one day 'fusing technique, style and design' will become second nature to me.

Serenity watercolor 18"x12"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Fever

Spring is in the air. The daffodil plants are poking through in the yard. I see gardeners excitedly spending time clearing winter debris and getting the garden ready for spring planting. Ducks are frantically looking for a place to nest and lay eggs. During my walk in the local fitness trail last saturday I saw patches of beautiful tiny blue flowers whose name unfortunately I haven't learnt yet. And, I came across a fascinating article "Breezy Love or Sacking of the Bees" by Olivia Judson in New York Times.

The flower power was indeed strong. I pushed aside the two paintings I was working on and decided to do a quick small color pencil flower sketch. The simple flower took longer than I anticipated. I got carried away, covering the paper with design and color!

Red Beauty color pencils 6x6"

Friday, March 5, 2010

Masterful Storytelling

Kathakali is a beautiful form of dance-drama from the state of Kerala in India. In very expressive body language and precise hand movements called mudras, with extremely elaborate costumes and make up that enhances facial expressions, tales from the great Indian epics are told to melodious music and spirited percussion beats. For years these were usually all night performances, with the exciting climax coming at the wee hours of the morning.

I painted this face using some photographs and lots of memories as reference on a sheet of cold press watercolor paper on which I had done some calligraphy and rangoli painting. The colored words in this blog entry are links to various picture galleries and more information on Kathakali.

Face of a story watermedia 12x9"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Distortions and Reality

I deliberately set about sketching and painting this scene in a distorted way but I think I was still too rigid and careful. It is funny how distortions creep in when I don't want to in my regular sketching and how I had to struggle to make it happen this time! And it is deeply tragic when the disastrous earthquakes in Haiti and Chile are not anyone's imagination. I worked on this painting long before the earthquakes just as an exercise but now I feel quite rattled and shaken as I see the destruction and read about the struggles of the people there.

watercolor 24x18"
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