"The good drawings I do are hardly mine. Only the bad ones are mine for they are the ones where I can't let go, am caught in the Me-cramp"
~Frederick Franck in 'The Zen of Seeing - seeing/drawing as meditation' ~
I came across the book "The Zen of Seeing" a few days ago in an used book shop in DC. I sat and read it for a while at the store totally fascinated by how he saw drawing as meditation and ended up buying it so I could read it slowly and digest the philosophy. The book published in 1973 is handwritten "....because in a way it is a love letter, and love letters should not be typt- set by compositors or computers. It may be a little slower to read, but there is no hurry, for what I want to share with you took a long time to experience." I needed to hear that "A drawing is not a thing but an act." - especially when a sketch or two or more in my journal seem to taunt me with its misread proportions and perspective!
India Art Journal Oct 6 2012 by Meera Rao
There are vendors walking the streets calling and selling any number of things in the course of a day -every day. This particular vendor definitely was special in the way he balanced a wedge of watermelon on top a whole round one ! There is a sense of zen in the scene.
India Art Journal Oct 7 2012 by Meera Rao
This huge water tank is right around the corner and I passed this everyday running my errands. When I finished the sketch I realized that lopsidedness in a way shows how I saw it -looking up, my head tilted as I sketched :) Somewhere in the book Frederick Franck says : In seeing/drawing that which matters can be perceived through the senses, not denied but maximally affirmed."
India Art Journal Oct 8 2012 by Meera Rao
Coral wood or Manjhati tree (Adenanthera pavonina)is spectacular whether it is laden with the yellow delicate blooms or the curved spiraly split open hanging pods with its bright beautiful shiny red bead like seeds. Being in the presence of these magnificent trees brings to mind a line from Tagore poem : "Be still my heart, these great trees are prayers."
India Art Journal Oct 9 2012 by Meera Rao
The last sketch in this page from my journal celebrates life! I was fortunate to participate in the joyous occasion of 'cradling ceremony' of my cousin's 10 day old grand daughter. The cradle was decorated with gorgeous bright beautiful silk and gold brocade sarees and colorful flowers. The ladies sang melodious songs, made sure to ward off all evil eyes and everyone gathered showered blessings on the baby who slept peacefully through the noisy bustling ceremony!
The following are sketches from the page that were done aug 7-10. As in the beginning I was posting only the full page and not individual sketches, I am here giving them the attention they deserve :) I wrote about them on sept 1 2012 in the post : Vibrant and Compelling.
December Artist of the Month at Poquson Public Library - Meera Rao
I am very grateful for a chance to display my paintings like this at our library - it always validates my journey as an artist.
India Art Journal Oct 2-5 by Meera Rao
On Oct 5, I did my 100th sketch in the India Art Journal :) The whole week before and after I felt a real sense of accomplishment for having sketched every day for one hundred days in a row!!! By then, it had definitely gotten easier to sketch each day once I figured out what to sketch! In a way I am also glad that dividing the paper into four and sticking to the pre-determined size also made it simple decision for me to just find time to squeeze in sketching in my tight schedule each day. At times I felt disappointed that I hadn't thought of a more creative way to sketch each day -- but it sure helped me stay with my goal of sketch a day for the four months in India! As the Indian philosopher poet Aurobindo remarked : "Consistent practice of an art in the end constitutes a kind of Yoga "
India Art Journal Oct 2 2012 by Meera Rao
"There is no higher god than Truth"
Mahatma Gandhiji died before I was born and the only photos I have seen are black and white. So I decided to honor him on his birthday which is a national holiday in India with a graphite sketch. His teachings on truth, non-violence and love are universal. I especially feel the need for this message to be heard loud and clear today as we mourn the terrible tragedy in Connecticut.
India Art Journal Oct 3 2012 by Meera Rao
I often walked past this tiny little store grandly named 'Classic Electricals' with the colorful 'mixies' hanging or on a table on the sidewalk advertising the owner's proficiency in 'fixing the mixies' :) I heard from my neighbors that he was indeed skilled in doing the repairs.
India Art Journal Oct 4 2012 by Meera Rao
Everyday from my balcony I saw the ladies combing hair - each others or their own on their porch right across the street. The privacy of my higher up third floor apartment balcony emboldened me to sketch their various activities and I still feel somewhat guilty for recording their everyday acts.
India Art Journal Oct 5 2012 by Meera Rao
Drum roll please... here is my 100th sketch! The night before there was a terrible storm and as I went on my morning marketing I came across these two men using a simple saw to cut the downed tree limbs right by the road. I captured the scene on my camera and sketched them later in the day.
The following are four sketches from my earlier post Bases for a sketch getting their individual time in the limelight :)
The riot of colors at every turn is something that can only be experienced and I felt compelled to record them in my sketch book!
India art Journal Sept 28 2012 by Meera Rao
People can say what they like about the eternal verities, love and truth and so on, but nothing is as eternal as the dishes!
The beauty of stainless steel pots, pans, plates and utensils gleaming in the sunlight as they are drying on an old orange rack by the sink in the kitchen balcony more than makes up for the chore of washing the dishes. Most days I quite agreed with Margaret Mahy's great quote wholeheartedly!
India Art Journal Sept 29 2012 by Meera Rao
When the flaming orange African Tulip tree right by my bedroom windows was in full bloom, I spent hours watching the little Mynah birds hopping from flower to flower to sip the nectar. They danced about the flowers so delicately that the flowers barely moved or registered the bird's weight or intrusion. It was funny to see the bird's beak, head and neck disappear into the flower with only the tail end poking up and out! I noticed that after a couple of days they moved away to other African tulip trees in search of fresh nectar :). The Mynahs usually were active in the early morning hours as the flowers opened, and I loved to wake up listening to them, the parrots (Check below for sketch from Aug 1), the Koyal(nightingale) and few other kinds chirp and tweet and sing merrily.
India Art Journal Sept 30 2012 by Meera Rao
This blue building with its sagging but still classic red tile roof, interesting door, an old orange and white poster remnants peeling off its wall, always had a bicycle leaning against it. Who can resist such a scene? The four months I was in India was supposed to be peak of monsoon season - but unfortunately, the rains were very late even though the sky was mostly overcast. I was able to walk about, do my marketing and errands without getting drenched but missed seeing the play of light and shadows all around.
India Art journal oct 1 2012 by Meera Rao
The gorgeous blossoms are 'mussaenda' - only the actual flower is tiny and yellow and the 'sepals' are bright pink or sometimes white.
Below are once again four sketches from my earlier post A Slice of life enjoying individual attention!
I enjoy painting in watercolors, color pencils, graphite and mixed media. I like to paint everyday things, scenes, ideas that capturen my imaginations, explore them through realistic, expressive, impressionistic or abstract styles. I also enjoy photography. I try to bring to my art the philosophy, heritage and the tropical colors of India and the spirit of adventure and experimentation I find in my now home here in the USA. My goal is to paint often and have my blog as a place to share my adventures.