Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Marvels of the Daily Life

India Art Journal Sept 24-27 2012 by Meera Rao

"The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you see on the street"
~Robert Dosineau

India Art Journal Sept 24 2012 By Meera Rao

This is the beautiful old house in the neighbourhood that I had sketched before but on this particular day the  shadows cast by decorative decaying windows just added to the mystery of the place!

India Art Journal Sept 25 2012 by Meera Rao

How nostalgic I was to see a couple of those ancient antique sewing machines in this tinly little shop stuffed and stacked floor to ceiling with machines and parts! I remembered my Mom sewing me beautiful dresses pedaling, running the machine by hand and foot when I was a young school girl! The interesting thing I noticed in India on this trip is that some things are still repaired & repaired again and never discarded while some others that used to be fixed readily ( notably flip flops) are now impossible to get repaired!  

India Art Journal Sept 26 2012 by Meera Rao
I knew when I saw this man at the tribal arts show weaving a basket that I wanted to sketch him! He was completely engrossed in creating and I really loved capturing his concentration.

India Art Journal Sept 27 2012 by Meera Rao.

As I had mentioned before, catching people reading became one of my interests while I was out  running errands. I aways was richly awarded! This old man was reading the paper while his wife was selling a small basket of flowers by the sidewalk. He opted to squat and lean against a shuttered store and enjoy the paper!   

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks and Counting Blessings

India Art Journal  Sept 20-23 2012 By Meera Rao 

On this Thanksgiving Day, I am excited that I have been able to blog for four years now! My blog anniversary was on Nov 17th and I almost forgot about it :)   I also noticed this is my 302nd post! I am grateful for all my readers for your support and encouragement! A huge heartfelt 'Thank you' to all :)

India Art Journal Sept 20 2012 By Meera Rao

This sketch was one I wanted to do for a while  but I avoided going down this particular street that sold live poultry and fresh meat etc. It was difficult for me to see them in the cages and I always wonder if they are aware what fate awaits them! Finally I managed to walk by hurriedly to take a couple of photos as references! What will I do without my little camera? 

India Art Journal Sept. 21 2012 by Meera Rao

New vehicles soon after they are purchased are usually taken directly to a Ganesha Temple and 'blessed' before they are driven anywhere else.  On this particular day there was a line of Auto-rickshas, a few cars and motorcycles fully decorated with colorful flower garlands waiting for the priest to bless them. The priest says a prayer of safety for all, chants blessings in sanskrit, a coconut is broken open, vehicle is sprinkled with holy water, and then anointed with red kumkuma and yellow turmeric.  A lemon is placed under each tire and the vehicle is driven over and off by the proud new owners!  

  Indian Art Journal Sept 22 2012 by Meera Rao

I regularly bought bananas from this lady.  She would decide for her customers what kind and how much they should buy!!!!  She was very particular about what she sold and made sure I tried a variety :) And she carried a variety of delicious bananas! I had to stand my ground sometimes and insist on what I would rather buy! As I became a regular customer she started putting a few extra bananas into my bag after she had weighed  and  I had paid her.  In the beginning she was quite gruff  and I was quite weary of her but as the days rolled by her attitude softened a bit.  Her whole family pitched in at the banana stall on evenings and sundays and I would see her very smart and sharp grand-daughters and their Dad working by her side.  I hope I have captured her proud strong personality in my sketch. 

India Art Journal Sept 23 2012 by Meera Rao 

From my balcony, I had a great view of this family's front porch and they did spend a lot of time there. Every morning I saw the grandmother sweep the front yard, decorate it with a beautiful white rice powder rangoli design, gather the jasmine flowers from a big bush in the yard for the morning puja, and a little later comb her grand-daughter's hair as she got ready for school.  The young girl stood very patiently with her eyes closed and seemed to enjoy the attention :) There was such tenderness in the way her grandmother combed her hair and I feel happy to record it. 

Below are the sketches posted individually from my post  Honest Work and Steadfast Faith.

 India Art Journal July 26 2012 by Meera Rao
 India Art Journal July 27 2012 By Meera Rao
 India Art Journal July 28 2012 By Meera Rao
 India Art Journal July 29 2012 By Meera Rao 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Keys to happiness

India Art Journal Sept.16 2012 by Meera Rao

One exciting news that I missed mentioning here on my blog is that my India Art journal and I were  featured on Strathmore Art Papers Facebook page about three weeks ago :)  It happened during my last week in India and I guess it is understandable that I shared it only on my Facebook page in all the rush and excitement! Thank you Strathmore !

I noticed around our neighborhood  in the narrow alleyways tucked here and there, how people find creative ways to hang the laundry!  The colorful clothes draped around brighten the drab dusty streets. 

 India Art Journal Sept. 17 2012 by Meera Rao

Everyday I passed by this tailor shop and I felt seeing him sitting in front of his sewing machine day in and day out that he embodied the phrase -nose to the grinding stone! His cluttered shop was tiny with fabric strewn, stuffed and hung everywhere. I wondered if and how he was able to keep up with all the different clients' items! 
India Art Journal Sept 18 2012 by Meera Rao

One of the side streets has shop after shop, and also little 'kiosks' (really a small table or a bench) on the sidewalks exclusively specializing in making keys!  A few of them have computers to assist them but most use old fashioned metal files and muscle power to make copies of keys! It was interesting to see all kinds of key skeletons hanging in bunches and glistening in the sun. 

 India Art Journal Sept 19 2012 by Meera Rao

September 19th was Ganesha Chathurthy, festival of the god with an elephant head, remover of all obstacles in life.  Streets were filled with all different size statues of the Lord for puja/worship which are then taken in a procession and immersed in a body of water. This year there was much awareness of environmental impact of the ritual and there were many more statues in just clay with minimal colored paint on them. 

Below is the full page view of the four sketches all together. Each sketch is 2.5x4" on Strathmore Mixed media visual Journal 5.5x8" and 90lbs wt. 

India Art journal Sept 16-19 2012 by Meera Rao

Once again, sharing the sketches individually from the post Sketching the Spirit of a Place from July. 

 India Art Journal July 22 2012 Meera Rao
 India Art Journal July23 2012 By Meera Rao
 India Art Journal July24 2012 by Meera Rao
India Art Journal July 25 2012 by Meera Rao

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Color of Life

 India Art Journal Sept 12 2012 by Meera Rao 

  To search for the good and make it matter: this is the challenge for the artist. 
~Estella Conwill Majozo~

Advantage of jet lag is that even though I went to bed at 8PM in the evening, I was up around 11PM and happily watched the returns and the acceptance speech by President Obama.  I was glad to be back in the country in time (planned that way!) to do my little bit for the campaign ( made a few phone calls earlier in the day at the local center for Obama) and of course cast my vote!  

The other celebration is a personal one - I am excited to have three pieces in the exhibit Small Works: Miniatures by Hampton  Roads Artists at the Hampton Arts' The Charles Taylor Arts Center in Hampton, VA.  The exhibit will run from Oct 20- Dec 2.  I posted the paintings earlier under Moment of Miracle,  Awesome light, and Memories of a Bloom2 in Art is a Verb

The journal sketches for Sept 12-15 are all street scenes I encountered on my daily errands and walks.  A majestic old building with colorful window panels is now home for the birds that dart in and out of the broken window panes.  

The three wheel auto-rikshas can be seen parked around almost every corner waiting for customers. The drivers can be seen either taking naps in their vehicles during the mid-day heat, reading papers, or doing some repairs under the shade of the huge African-tulip trees in full bloom.  

 India Art journal Sept 13 2012 by Meera Rao

 The shops selling material for ladies dresses with colorful cloth draped mannequins (no heads!) line  most streets.  It is wonderful to check out the latest designs, prints and possibilities in fashion as you walk past the stores. Often, I stopped and touched a fabric or looked at a design with interest but unfortunately never had enough time to go in to make a purchase. 

India Art Journal Sept 14 2012 By Meera Rao

Along with color one gets assaulted with various aromas as we walk the streets in India.  The best of the smells are the hot 'pakoras' being fried right on the sidewalk. A bench, a simple stove and a couple of pans are all that are needed for brisk business in mouthwatering snacks!

India Art Journal Sept 15 2012 by Meera Rao

 India Art Journal Sept 12-15 2012 by Meera Rao

 Below are four more sketches from July in spotlight from the post Subtle Joys    Now that I am back, I am really thinking about what to do next - feeling a little lost! I have not really painted since I landed and feeling very guilty for not continuing to keep a daily art journal. I hope to expand a few sketches to full size paintings soon and would  love to hear any bit of advice and suggestions ! 

India Art Journal July 18 2012 by Meera Rao
India Art Journal  July 18 2012 by Meera Rao
 India Art Journal July 20 2012 by Meera Rao
India Art Journal July 21 2012 by Meera Rao

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Artful Lives

India Art Journal Sept 8 2012 by Meera Rao
There is something about buying fruits and vegetables from the street side vendors, from farmer's markets etc rather than from a supermarket! I really enjoyed the daily marketing in India and loved the different ways the sellers arranged their wares on various carts or stands to make them attractive for the buyers. And it is very impressive to see them calculate the prices and totaling the sale without ever resorting to calculators  or even paper and a pencil! 
India Art Journal Sept 9 2012 by Meera Rao 
This beautiful 'tent' was erected by the roadside on a grassy patch right outside a building gate. It was made by skillfully weaving palm fonds and decorated with orange marigolds and some purple flowers that I couldn't identify.  I am not sure what the tent was used for but I passed it on my walks for a few days wondering about the celebration that must have taken place there! 

India Art Journal Sept 10 2012 by Meera Rao

Just about anything can be bought or sold in the tiny stores on various streets and this particular store sold colorful bedding rolls and pillows. As always,  I admire the creative ways the store owners arrange and display their stock!

India Art journal Sept 11 2012 By Meera Rao
I watched  this construction worker as she worked for a couple of days - her movements were really delicate like a dancer even as she scooped sand into bags and carried the heavy load over towards the building site.
Below is the full page with the four sketches  altogether:
 India Art journal Sept 8-11 2012 By Meera Rao
Once again these sketches are from july when I was posting only the pages and not individual sketches.  I wrote about these on my post An Eclectic Mix
 India Art journal July 14 2012 by Meera Rao
India Art Journal July 16 2012 by Meera Rao
India Art Journal July 16 2012 by Meera Rao
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