Monday, March 28, 2011

Patience and Possibilities

Patient Pelican  Watercolors 6"x7"

I have been rereading  (or rather re-looking at the illustrations/paintings from) Jeanne Dobie's Making Color SingThis was my very first purchase when I started painting in watercolors many years ago. Two days ago, her chapter on 'Mouse Power - achieving luminous grays' prompted me to finally paint the photograph of this pelican I had taken a while back. According to her 'mouse colors are like the bit players who support the stars.' 

I didn't quite follow her instructions or do the exercises,  but selected a transparent red, aureolin yellow, cobalt blue and viridian to make my grays, and used the grays to paint everything but the little yellow and orange patches on the bird :) A smaller brush than I normally use and waiting patiently for the paint to dry between the layers helped too.

Reading parts of the chapter while waiting for the paint to dry showed me the weakness in my  usual method of studying only the pictures in an art book rather than reading the chapters in detail!  I guess I need to change my ways a bit and not try to reinvent the wheel on my own!

I had moved away from her suggested rose madder genuine a few years ago since it had been rated poorly for color fastness in "The Wilcox Guide to the Best Watercolor Paints."   While linking her book to, I noticed that there is a newer edition of her book- hope  she has replacements for the fugitive colors in the new version.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Meandering Lines

A Day in The Life - Rangoli doodle pilot G-2 pen

I am not sure  cleaning up my doodle when I transfered it to the Fiction Project sketchbook was a good idea.  After tearing off a couple of pages (now I have fewer pages to fill!) because my freehand doodle was not going the way I wanted, I realised forced doodling is not going to have a free flowing feeling to it!!! I have a weakness for rangoli doodles so I can free hand a rangoli when I have to and not check any rangoli design books.  Rangoli with these continuous lines are my favorite - I try to see how long I can go on with the line before it meets the starting point.  Some traditional rangoli start with even or odd numbered dots and you weave the lines around it. How you place the dots, how many  dots  in each subsequent rows, and how many rows of dots all lead to different designs. With regard to the sketchbook, I have decided to draw only on the right hand side of the book, not fight the thin papers and just accept imperfections.

Did you know Google has special doodles of its logo to celebrate important dates in a calender year. Check out their Google doodle art! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Signature

Dandelion digital photography

"It's  not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. "
Henry David Thoreau.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Magic of Coffee

A Day in the Life - First Sip colorpencils 

South Indian Kaapi is very special and a matter of pride in that region. I had never known coffee was not native to India until I came across its origins in the menu-card in  an Ethiopian Restaurant in New York many years ago. Imagine my surprise-especially since my grandparents are from Coorg, the coffee capital of India :) I spent many a vacation with them and trips are all full of memories of fragrant white coffee flowers and red berries under a canopy of rubber trees. I often wondered about the coffee's debut in India since then but never pursued it.

Today  I finally went sniffing the coffee trail. I came upon the story of Baba Budan, a Sufi Muslim from India who brought back seven seeds as a souvenir from his trip to Mecca in  1720 and planted them outside his cave in the hills now known as Baba Budan Giri.  The coffee plants and the drink took a foothold in the area. The Coffee plantations soon became an industry under the British. 

I brought with me from India the traditional coffee filter to make the 'kaapi' and for many many years now my day has started with the ritual of drinking coffee in the special stainless steel 'lote'.  My hubby grinds the coffee beans fresh every time just before making the 'decoction' and that adds to the flavor :)  For the curious, check here for  recipe and ritual of south Indian kaapi.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Meditation on Light

A Day In the Life  colorpencils

The Fiction Project, A Day in the Life is slowly taking shape.  I am learning as I sketch and the most important lesson seems to be to keep it simple which obviously is not as easy as it sounds!  The quote in this sketch is an ancient chant "Gayatri mantra" from the Sanskrit Rig Veda to the Sun diety, the giver of light and life. Whenever I see a sunrise, I am moved by the beauty and reminded of this chant.  The English translation reads: We meditate on the beautiful light - may it guide and inspire our intellect in the right direction."  

Friday, March 4, 2011

In Blue Jeans with Gold Embroidery

A day in the life- In blue jeans with Gold Embroidery
color pencils 8"x10"

I have been nervously working on The Fiction Project and it is taking me a lot lot longer to complete each page than I anticipated. When I was testing the paper I was mainly concerned with how much of the work was going to show through on the  reverse side of each (thin) page. I discovered it is much more than  my experiments showed -especially since I find myself  coloring in layers. To my dismay, the colors tend to smudge on this paper and I am spending more time than I care to, cleaning up the mess.  But, as I struggle with the  narration and the illustrations, I have developed an enormous respect for writer-illustrators. What was I thinking when I signed up?  

On a much happier note, I have been tagged by  Sanctified Spaces  with an award and I am deeply touched.  I extend my  heartfelt 'thank you' for the honor :)

The rules of this award consist of revealing 7 things about myself and then passing the award on to seven others.

1. I think I already reveal too much about myself in my blog :)
2. My list of books to read is too long and the stack by my bedside is too high. I know I will never catch up!
3. I have way too many art and craft supplies (and books).
4. I am always in awe of all musicians, artists and dancers.
5. And athletes! 
6. I like to go on walks.
7. Chocolate rules!

And my nominees are :
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