Friday, April 26, 2013

Surreal Sights in the City

No comment, Washington DC  Photography by Meera Rao 

you got mail, NYC  Photography by Meera Rao 

Top Down Legs Up Washington DC  Photography by Meera Rao 

Catching colorful Quotes Washington DC Photography by Meera Rao

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sketching Life

 Construction sketch  watercolor by Meera Rao 

There was much traveling in the past few days.  And unfortunately I also sprained my leg while walking around and had to spend some time looking out of my hotel window.  One morning I sketched the hard hat wearing construction workers across the road from my 9th floor room window.  

When in NYC I got a chance to visit my sketch book "A Day In The Life"  at the Brooklyn Art Library :)  I spent the morning there looking through many of the sketchbooks in the library -- what an inspiration! The library has beautiful, very creative and completely unique sketch books  from all over the world! 

Brooklyn Art Library  Photography by Meera Rao

Visiting My Sketch Book  "A Day In the Life"  at Brooklyn Art Library 
iPhotography by Meera Rao

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Laughter of Pomegranates

Pomegranate  watercolor on Yupo by Meera Rao  9x8.5"

We have a small pomegranate plant in our back yard.  The flowers and fruits are bright red and beautiful. Unfortunately, the fruit from our tree though is not sweet and last year I juiced some and froze them in ice cubes. I use a cube or two when I want to add some sourness to dishes. The juice is a beautiful red but when cooked doesn't retain the luscious color turning rather drab. We don't put any pesticides on the plant and  the fruits ripen naturally so have lots of texture on them! 

Pomegranate is considered to have lots of medicinal values. Everyone knows it to be an anti-oxidant. I am most familiar with a preparation of the dried skin cooked, and ground into a paste with a little bit of coconut and buttermilk used as remedy for diarrhea and other stomach ailments.  Of course Grenadine syrup used in cocktails is from pomegranate :)  Check here for more on the wonderful fruit. 

The references in art and literature are plenty too, full of symbolism as well -- one quick Google search for images in art came up with wonderful selection too! 

Its not pomegranate season yet -- the plant is only now slowly and barely coming back to life after a long cold winter.  I used a few photographs from last season and my memory of handling them while juicing.  Also I buy the fruits often - love peeling the it slowly, loosening the seeds with its juicy red pulps and eating them fresh or using them in salads etc. I Love the red stains on my hand from the squirting juice too :)

I was happy to see that Yupo was the right surface to bring out the textured red on the fruit. I really enjoyed painting the sun dappled fruit free and loose, full of texture :) 

Here is a poem by Rumi to savor:

The Laughter of the Pomegranates:

If you buy a pomegranate,
buy one whose ripeness 
has caused it to be cleft open
with a seed-revealing smile.

Its laughter is a blessing,
for through its wide open mouth
it shows its heart,
like a pearl in the jewel box of spirit.
The red anemone laughs, too
but through its mouth you glimpse a blackness.

A laughing pomegranate 
brings the whole garden to life.
keeping the company of the holy
makes you one of them
Whether you are stone or marble
you will become a jewel
when you reach a human being of heart.

Plant the love of the holy ones within your spirit;
don't give your hear to anything
but the love of those whose hearts are glad.
don't go to the neighborhood of despair:
there is hope.
Don't go in the direction of darkness:
suns exist.

The heart guides you to the neighborhood of the
the body takes you to the prison of water and earth.
Give your heart the food of holy friends;
Seek maturity from those who have matured.

~Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sin or Crime?

Garland weaver in Reverie mixed media by Meera Rao 

The fear of messing up so often means I think a painting is complete before it really is!  Couple of months ago I was surveying my paintings to pick one to submit to the local art league members open show.  One of the paintings  that I had thought was finished, signed, framed and blogged  about suddenly felt incomplete.  I pulled it out of the frame, and added some darks here and there. Satisfied, happily I put it back in the frame and took it to the show.  And here it is on my blog once again. 

Since then I have been mulling  over  how to know when a painting is finished?  Is it "A painting is always finished before the artist thinks it is" (Harley Brown) ? Or is Eugene Delacroix right  when he whispers in my ears :" One always has to spoil a picture a little bit in order to finish it."  Alas there is much truth in what D.H . Harding had to say : " The important thing is not what the author, or any artist, had in mind to begin with but at what point he decided to stop."  Then there is Claude Monet who proclaimed : "I say that whoever claims to have finished a canvas is terribly arrogant."  What did Picasso have to say about all this? : "Woe to you the day it is said that you are finished! To finish a work? To finish a picture? What nonsense! To finish it means to be through with it, to kill it, to rid it of its soul – to give it its final blow; the most unfortunate one for the painter as well as for the picture." 

May be it is as Ted Goodwin says: "A painting is finished when to have done less would be considered a sin and more a crime!  "  The trouble is I am not a good judge when it comes to sin or crime ;)
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