Sunday, February 26, 2012

Drama of Color and Texture

Mushrooms 2 watercolor on Yupo 5x7"

I loved painting the drama of color and texture of these mushrooms.  I had painted these mushrooms before  - ( reproduced also below) but I wanted to experiment and play with them again from a slightly different angle.  I tried more stylized repetition of shapes  and more intense hues.  Colors on Yupo dry deeper than on regular watercolor papers when the brush is loaded with straight color but not much water. Pressing with crumpled up tissue, misting with water and letting each layer of paint dry thoroughly before coming back with another layer of transparent paints resulted in the different textures. 

Bursting Colors watercolor on Yupo 5x7"

Last fall finding these mushrooms on one of my walks I had held my small camera close to the ground and taken a few photographs.  It was really fun to dramatically transform the already colorful mushrooms even further :)  

Mushrooms digital photography 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Run Me Out In The Cold Rain And Snow

Out in the Cold Rain and Snow Digital Photography 

“It was a rainy night. It was the myth of a rainy night.” 
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

PS: I have tried to take away the two word thing on the comment form.  Please let me know if its working! If it is not working could you tell me what/how to do do it so it doesn't show up anymore?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fascinatingly Beautiful

Orchid  watercolor 5x3" 

As I did a quick sketch of the orchid a few days ago using my water brush pen and sketch kit of limited paints, I vaguely remembered that the orchid varieties in number are almost double that of bird species. I went surfing to see if my recollection was right. 

My memory had served me well and  I also discovered that at 25,000+ species, there are four times more varieties of orchids as that of mammals!  More interesting was that 'the name comes from the Greek ὄρχις (órkhis), literally meaning "testicle", because of the shape of the root.'!  Greeks also thought if would-be fathers ate large new orchid tubers their child would be male and if mothers ate small tubers, the child would be female :)  The flavoring vanilla comes from one genus of Orchid -vanilla(of course). The Aztecs believed vanilla mixed with chocolate gave them great strength. In China however, orchids are a key ingredient in medicines for treating coughs and lung-related illnesses. It is also quite fascinating to read about pollination, propagation and seed production in orchids. Growing up in tropical India, I knew them as beautiful and colorful epiphytes and was fascinated how they grew on trees!  

I have a l wide collection of photos as well as few sketches of orchids and I hope to paint some larger varied flowers soon!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Remembrance, The Lasting Perfume

Memories of a bloom 2 watercolor on Yupo 5x7"

Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume.  ~Jean de Boufflers

I saw these stalks with dried out flower pods, petals, leaves still attached while on a walk couple of years ago in Colorado.  This painting is the second in the series capturing the memories of that cold crisp morning. I used the same techniques in this painting as in the earlier one.  My plan is to  change or add  one color to each of the painting to give each painting its uniqueness as well as making it a part of the series. They are small paintings but take time to complete since each layer has to dry completely before I lay the next one. You may check out the first painting here

Talking about memories I recently came across an article highlighting the fact that memories are not fixed but flexible and can be manipulated very easily: "....memories are surprisingly vulnerable and highly dynamic. In the lab they can be flicked on or dimmed with a simple dose of drugs. “For a hundred years, people thought memory was wired into the brain,” Nader says. “Instead, we find it can be rewired—you can add false information to it, make it stronger, make it weaker, and possibly even make it disappear.” Nader and Brunet are not the only ones to make this observation. One of the scietinsts, Nader further wonders:  "What actually happens when we recall the past? Does the very act of remembering undo what happened? Does a memory have to go through the consolidation process again? " 

A little further the article points out a fascinating point: "While neuroscientists were skeptical of Nader’s findings, cognitive scientists were immediately fascinated that memory might be constantly revamped. It certainly seemed to explain their observations: The home run you hit in Little League? Your first kiss? As you replay these memories, you reawaken and reconsolidate them hundreds of times. Each time, you replace the original with a slightly modified version. Eventually you are not really remembering what happened; you are remembering your story about it. “Reconsolidation suggests that when you use a memory, the one you had originally is no longer valid or maybe no longer accessible,” LeDoux says. “If you take it to the extreme, your memory is only as good as your last memory. The fewer times you use it, the more pristine it is. The more you use it, the more you change it.” We’ve all had the experience of repeating a dramatic story so many times that the events seem dead, as if they came from a novel rather than real life."

So I wonder, how much do I change my memory when I sketch and paint things I encounter?   

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dewy Feathers

Dewy Feathers Digital Photography 

Last week one morning when I went to get the paper, I found these beautiful dewy feathers strewn around  our driveway and lawn. It looked like there was some kind of struggle wherein a few feathers were lost ! I didn't see any other signs or bird parts and am hoping the creature escaped worse fate from whatever that was after it! When something like this happens, I always wonder whether I notice things around me since I took up photography or did I start toting a camera because I see things around me that I want to capture :) 

These beautiful feathers reminded me about something I read a while ago:  'feather money - tevau' from Solomon Islands. We are familiar how Native Americans, Indonesian Islanders, and many many others hold feathers in high regard and use them in rituals. But in Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands,  feather is currency!  As many as 50,000 feathers from smallest scarlet honeyeaterer birds are fashioned into coils and used 'as a form of currency for settling important obligations' .  Check the link to see a photo of the coil in the British Museum website.   In ancient Mayan culture, the quetzal bird's tail feathers were used as currency and hence the Guatemalan currency is known as 'quetzal' ! Its amazing how many little beautiful birds have been sacrificed not for food but for their treasured feathers by various 'collectors' all over the world.  
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