Thursday, January 28, 2016

Traces of History

Water Gate at Tippu's Fort watercolor India sketchbook 2015 by Meera Rao 

This idyllic scene ‘Water Gate’ is at the northern wall of the King Tippu Sultan's Fort in Sri Ranga Pattana near Mysuru, India, The gateway opens to the shallower portion of the river Cauvery. The residents of the fort passed through this gate to fetch water from the river. Back in 1799, this shallow archway with guard houses on either sides and a temple at the right, was the location of a deadly battle with the British (East India Company). Tippu Sultan was killed and it changed the course of history for the British and for the south Indian principality of Mysore. Colonel Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, established his military reputation during this military victory. The gory details of the siege of SriRangapattanam can be found here. 

City of Mysuru, and the surrounding area is full of historical sites and ruins.  It attracts a steady stream of tourists who come to see its gorgeous palaces still in their full glory, the beautiful temples that are artistic and architectural masterpieces and the natural beauty of the area.  Here is a link for virtual tour of the area. 

'Water Gate at Tippu's Fort'  watercolor sketch, India sketchbook/Art Journal 2015 by Meera Rao .  Strathmore Watercolor 140lb Visual Journal

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Thirst Watercolor Pen and Ink sketch  and collage 2015  5.5x7" by Meera Rao

India has made great strides in supplying water to most of her citizens but the population growth, weather patterns and climate change/global warming issues continue to challenge her efforts.  And the thirst among the people also extends to educating the children.  These two issues consume the average Indian.  

When I saw the water pot, with its exaggerated shadows by a wall with  peeling posters on 'coaching' on various subjects, I knew I had to capture the scene.  I enjoyed combining pen and ink with watercolor along with collage of torn ads from the daily newspaper. 

India sketchbook/art Journal 2015,  Strathmore watercolor 140lb Visual Journal 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cool Blue

Cooling Off  Ink and Watercolor sketch 2015 5.5x8" by Meera Rao

Your acts of kindness 
are iridescent wings of
divine love  
which linger and continue 
to uplift others 
long after sharing.

It was one of those very hot summer days.  I was hurrying home to escape the heat from an errand that had taken longer than anticipated. On one of the side streets outside a marble warehouse, I was most impressed by what I saw: someone thoughtful had filled  a big old blue bathtub with water for anyone who wanted to cool off by splashing water on feet or face ! 

Chilling the pulse points by running cold water over the wrist for a minute or so, splashing water on the temples or face are age old ways of combating the tropical heat. The amazing thing is that bath tubs are extremely rare in India but somehow one was out there propped up on old tires, filled with water !  Many men stopped by, scooped out water on their face and feet to cool off before continuing on their way.  Since then I have noticed the bathtub leaning against the wall dry and empty on other days when the temperatures were bearable.  

Sketching it later was very gratifying and even now the memory of the blue bath tub brings a smile to my face. 

India Art Journal 2015- Strathmore Visual Journal, watercolor 140 lbs, 5.5x8"   

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