Monday, July 30, 2012

The Kitchen Is A Country

India Art Journal, July 10,11,12,13

Soon after I arrived my MIL gave me a tube of 'odomus' as a weapon against mosquitos, this being the monsoon season! But I have not had to use it at all.  Sadly, the monsoons are very late this year and reports of draught, spoiled crops fills the newspapers :(  
Since most of my time is spent in the kitchen, I think its no wonder rest of the sketches in this page are all about the most important room in the house :)  The kitchen in the house has the bare minimum essestials but fresh ingredients and vegetables from daily marketing means very tasty meals!  It has given me a new perspective of minimalism. As a quote from Grimod de la Reynière says so eloquently,  “The kitchen is a country in which there are always discoveries to be made. 
watercolors and Pilot G-2 Pen

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Consuming Passions

India art Journal July 6,7,8,& 9  By Meera Rao 
"Food to a large extent is what holds a society together and eating is closely linked to deep spiritual experiences." Peter Farb and George Armelagos
'Consuming Passions: The Anthropology of Eating'

The first few days (and actually throughout the stay!) in India are always about eating and enjoying the delicasies. The food seems to taste different and of course better - especially when my family cooks special dishes for me :)

My Uncle and his family came to visit me soon after I left my parents' place and went to stay with my M-I-L.  Being very generous and extremely considerate, he came with catered food for all ! The food was even served traditional style- on banana leaves - again environmentally friendly with no dishes to wash! And let me tell you, everything tastes superb when served that way :) The next day I had to sketch the tiffin carriers and pails as they sat empty and shiny in the hallway waiting for the caterer. So much variety and leftovers that suffice it to say I did not have to cook for almost a week! The Jackfruit was also one of the many things he brought from his farm :)

Sketches in watercolor and Pilot G-2 pen

Friday, July 20, 2012

Blessing A Day

India Art Journal July3,4,5 By Meera Rao

One of the first things I always do when I get to India is to visit the Ganesha Temple right across from my parents' house and give my thanks for  having had a safe journey over seas and continents :)  At the temple there is always tasty 'prasada' that is distributed to the devotees. In most of the temples, leaf bowls are used to make it easier for all to either consume it right there or take it home while also being environmental fiendly- a practice that is actually very ancient.

Most all Hindu household yards have a little special 'pot' where 'tulasi' plant is grown. Tulasi is considered as sacred, used in religious services and worshipped every day. It also is proven to have potent medicinal qualities and used in traditional treatments.

The lady in the last skectch is decorating the temple entrance with rangoli - elaborate designs that are drawn free hand with rice powder. While chatting with her I found out that she does this almost every morning as a volunteer 'seva' to the Lord. I definitely did not do justice to her beautiful 'rangoli' design.

I would like to end with a quote by Mark Twain from an account of his trip to India:

"In religion, India is the only millionaire....the One land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for all the shows of all the rest of the globe combined."
~Mark Twain.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Daily Vignettes

India Art Journal June 30-July 2 by Meera Rao

"Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day,  for no matter how little it is, it will be well worthwhile, and it will do you a world of good."
~ Cennini

I am in India for next several months to take care of my M-I-L. I have decided to keep an art journal of sorts doing a vignette a day of my impressions/experience/observation etc during my time in India to force myself to set aside some painting/sketching time every day.

I have a Stathmore mixed media 5.5x8"  34 page 90 lb spiral bound visual journal. I am using Koi water color pocket field sketch box with a waterbrush, prismacolor fine line 8 marker set, pilot G-2 07 black pen and a #2 pencil for my sketching.  Dividing the paper into 4 sections and using a section a day (painting on one side only) has worked well for the past fifteen days. This way, if I keep up with my sketching I should have atleast one hundred little sketches  :)  I already feel a sense of freedom in my sketching. I am not going for perection, finished compositions, nor worry much about values.  The idea is to have a simple record of my time here, get some sketching practice and develop some discipline to sketch, draw and paint each day atleast for fifteen minutes! I hope to be able to do a few larger pieces too --please, wish me luck :)

The first page documents our dinner at the airport - vegetarian sushi, different documents used, an air line employee and finally our first happy purchase soon after reaching our destination - Fresh divine Mangoes :) I have to relearn the PC here and hope to post better photographs soon!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Surprising Beauty

Digital Photography by Meera Rao
Digitial Photography by Meera Rao

Everything is transformed in the loveliness of glorious sunrise!  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Awesome Light

Window Light watercolor 2.5x3.5" by Meera Rao
The buzz over 'Higgs boson' god particle in the past few days has been exciting. And to discover that in 1924, Satyendra Nath Bose from India sent a paper to Einstein which lead to Bose-Einstein statistics, Bose-Einstein condensate, Bose-Fermi mixtures and then to the much talked about 'god particle' was pretty amazing! I have been poring over stuff from all over the web trying to understand how physics and god particle came to be talked about in the same breath!

Turns out, the light that we artists so love to paint is also behind these amazing discoveries. It's awe inspiring to realize the mystery that is all around us!
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