Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Only Different Kinds of Good Weather

India Sketch Journal Page 29 by Meera Rao 

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, 
wind braces us up, 
snow is exhilarating; 
there is really no such thing as bad weather, 
only different kinds of good weather.
John Ruskin

India Sketch Journal Aug 3 by Meera Rao 

The 'windy month' brings out the kites and kids.  The stores stock colorful kites of various sizes. A favorite after school activity for some is making their own kites. Regardless, many spend hours trying to launch their kites- inexperienced as they are-  in hopes of seeing their homemade or store bought kites fly high in the sky. 

India Sketch Journal Aug 2 by Meera Rao 

As the rains continue, and the temperatures dip, the blanket peddlers roam the streets.  I had to peek out of the balcony to figure out what their loud calls were for and what is it that was being sold now! I do appreciate that even now blankets, vegetables, household items, toys are sold by peddlers roaming the street --it is always nice to have the market come to you ! 

For us wind, rain etc are just different kinds of weather but check out this TED talk video on Art made of Storms by Nathalie Miebach   - She  "takes weather data from massive storms and turns it into complex sculptures that embody the forces of nature and time." The talk opens with a sculpture  and musical scores.  It is fascinating to see and hear her explain how science, art and music intersect creatively for her. “Weather is an amalgam of systems that is inherently invisible to most of us, so I use sculpture and music to make it, not just visible, but also tactile and audible.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Home, Work and Play

India Sketch Journal 2013 Page 28 by Meera Rao

I would have to say this is one of my favorite pages from my sketch book.  The scene from the market and the billowing hammock  cradle made from  a saree hanging off a tree in the park really captures the sense of diligence and the extra mile that parents go for the sake of their children. 

India Sketch Journal 2013 July 31 by Meera Rao

I was tickled to see the three children doing homework under their father's vegetable vending cart in the market. The cart also shaded them from the evening sun. It was interesting to see that as the children worked their father was seriously 'studying' his cell phone :)  Parents know that the only way for the children to overcome poverty is  through good education and as this scene shows they make sure their children do their work. 

Just today I came across a fascinating article on Mumbai's  privately owned circulating libraries -mostly in the center of the city in tiny little shops.  Here is an excerpt from that article"Poor Little Rich Boys: The art of the Mumbai Circulating Library'  in 'The Comic Journal' by Ryan Holmberg : "Online searching turned up more than a dozen scattered across Greater Mumbai, some of which are actually in the heart of the city, near railway stations and major intersections. These latter seem to be mainly older businesses, hanging on since the 1950s and 60s. I am also told that, out in the suburbs, a number of “paper marts” – paper recycling shops – have begun doubling as lending libraries, redirecting not only junk books and magazines that come their way, but also cartons of cheap remainder books. "  What follows is an riveting account of a couple of those libraries.  I also loved the photographs that accompany the story. 

India Sketch Journal  2013 Aug 1  by Meera Rao

One day suddenly out of the blue the park near our flat was taken over by squatters from northern India who had journeyed all the way south obviously looking for work.  For a few days no one else could use the park as they had pitched their tents, and had made themselves completely comfortable! The smell of outdoor cooking wafted through the streets. The neighborhood was in a crisis, police were summoned and as suddenly, they pulled up the tents and departed leaving behind much garbage and a park in shambles.  That is when I found this saree hammock cradle that some parent had made for her baby, empty and billowing in the wind.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Five Years!

Just Grass Photography by Meera Rao

Five Years of blogging :)  To each and everyone who has visited or followed my blog, left comments, and given me your support --  a very big heartfelt THANK YOU! As I say in my 'comments' section, viewers complete the cycle of creating art. I am always grateful for your comments, critiques, shout outs or suggestions :) 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Make Mine Decalf

India Sketch Journal 2013 July 29 by Meera Rao 

I always debate whether to add to the stereotype vision of India about 'cows on the street' every time I decide to sketch a cattle or two (actually five out of 78 sketches this year and five out of 124 in last year's journal!). Unlike in western countries the roads are happily shared by different kinds of vehicles, pedestrians, and various animals. This is especially true in the old part of Maisuru where many households still have cows - except they let those cows loose to graze around the neighborhood. Mostly the cows are very calm and mind their own business but every now and then when the streets get busy and there is not much room to share, I get very nervous - be it an autoriksha, bus or a cow coming the opposite way but on the same side of the road as me !!!

India Sketch Journal 2013 July 30 by Meera Rao 

This beautifully battered brass coffee filter pot in a coffee shop at one of the modern malls was almost as tall as me. Coffee powder is packed into the top half of the pot with a filter in the middle. When boiling water is poured over it, thick coffee 'decoction' slowly drips to the bottom part. Add  a couple of tablespoons of this decoction to boiling hot milk, mix in sugar, pour with pizzazz into tiny stainless steel tumblers making sure there is lot of foam on top and you have delicious 'mysore coffee' to savor. Check here for a sketch of steaming cup of Indian filter coffee from my Art House Library Sketchbook Project and here from my India Sketch journal 2013 to know more about coffee history and culture of southern India. 

Here is a look at the page from my sketch book journal:

India Sketch Journal 2013 Page 27 by Meera Rao 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tell Me What you Eat.....

India Sketch Journal 2013 Page 26 By Meera Rao

"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are."
~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, 1825
French gourmet & lawyer (1755 - 1826)

India Sketch Journal 2013 July 27 by Meera Rao

These little fluffy chicks were definitely very new to the world, still wobbly on their legs when I saw them by the roadside.  Mother hen was doing her job well keeping a watchful eye over them.  I enjoyed watching them instinctively scratch the earth looking for something to eat. 

India Sketch Journal 2013 July 28 by Meera Rao

As mangoes start getting scarce and price goes up, the fruit lovers all have a tough time deciding how many to buy and how much to pay! There is also the fact staring right at you that these may be the last of the mangoes until next season and no one wants to say good bye to those fruits yet!  This is where there is huge argument about need and want :)

Speaking of food and art, I am excited that next month while visiting Chicago, I will be able to see Chicago Art Institute exhibit "Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine"  You can check  here for the link from the  Art Institute and  here from the Chicage Sun Times for a preview. When food is such a big part of our lives, it is no surprise that it is a favorite subject for artists, writers and all others as well! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My Bounty is Boundless

India Sketch Journal Page 25 by Meera Rao 

 "My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep. The more I give to thee, the more I have for both are infinite."
Shakespeare~ Romeo and Juliet Act 11 scene ii

India Sketch Journal July 26 by Meera Rao

India sketch Journal Page 25 by Meera Rao

Is that cheesy stretch that I chose to quote the balcony scene for this page ?  I was merely trying to tie the two sketches  together :)
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