Sunday, May 29, 2016

Water for Today

Water for Today watercolor and ink by Meera Rao
India Art Journal 2015

When you see water in a stream
you say: oh, this is stream
When you see water in the river
you say: oh, this is water
of the river; 
When you see ocean
you say: This is the ocean's
But actually water is always
only itself
and does not belong
to any of these containers
though it creates them.
And so it is with you. 

Alice Walker

Water for Today 5.5x8" watercolor and ink on 140 lb Strathmore visual Journal

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Colorful Cover-up

A Colorful Cover-up watercolor and ink by Meera Rao
India Art Journal 2015

It looked like a giant colorful caterpillar from a distance making me stop in my tracks. A long multicolored striped cotton floor mat (jamkane in local Kannada language) covering a vehicle protecting it from the hot sun and any mess dropped by birds sitting in the near by tree! It was by the front door of a school and my guess is that the car belonged to some 'important' visitor.  A dog was happily lying down by it too. 

I had sketched those mats a few times before - it was covering the stage platform and risers in a 'Yakshagana' performance  where the musicians were seated. Those mats come in different sizes and are workhorses - spread on the floor at functions for people to sit on, at many homes and on most train journeys they are the base layer for bedding for people to sleep on, for covering a pile of boxes or suitcases to keep dust away in some homes, as yoga mats etc.. 

A Colorful Cover-up, 5.5x8" watercolor and ink on 140 lb Strathmore visual Journal

Monday, May 16, 2016

Evening Shadows

Evening Shadows watercolor and ink by Meera Rao
India Art Journal 2015 

Sunday evenings the roads are relatively empty and I was fortunate to come across this scene on my daily walk.  The beauty of this play of light and shadow will remain etched in my memory even if I may not have done justice to the original scenery.   

I have realized over the years that, my vision is always ahead of what really ends up on the paper ! Here is a story from the book Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland :  More often, though, fears rise in those entirely appropriate (and frequently recurring) moments when vision races ahead of execution. Consider the story of the young student – well, David Bayles, to be exact – who began piano studies with a Master. After a few months’ practice, David lamented to his teacher, “But I can hear the music so much better in my head than I can get out of my fingers.”

To which the Master replied, “What makes you think that ever changes?”

That’s why they’re called Masters. When he raised David’s discovery from an expression of self-doubt to a simple observation of reality, uncertainty became an asset. Lesson for the day: vision is always ahead of execution — and it should be. Vision, Uncertainty, and Knowledge of Materials are inevitabilities that all artists must acknowledge and learn from: vision is always ahead of execution, knowledge of materials is your contact with reality, and uncertainty is a virtue.

To quote Ira Glass about the 'gap' in taste and skill:  It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. 

So on to marching towards my 10,000 sketches...... 

Evening Shadows 5.5x8" watercolor and ink on 140 lb Strathmore visual Journal

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Ironing The Wrinkles Out

Ironing the Wrinkles Out watercolor and ink by Meera Rao
India Art Journal 2015 

I have sketched a neighbourhood ironing lady before in 2013 and a young boy ironing in 2012.  This man had his 'shop' in a tiny little structure with a board to iron on and a shelf to stack up the finished items. There was a small tin box outside the shack where he was tending coals for the iron. All are enterprising people who fill a heavy iron with hot coals and iron out the wrinkles from shirts, pants, kids uniforms and ladies sarees to make a living. They pick up the laundered clothes from their customers and drop them off later crisply ironed, folded and ready to wear. Most of the vendors keep a rotating schedule of certain days and times during the week in a couple different neighborhoods. They have bare bones set up and work diligently. The young lady had proudly told me how careful she is to avoid any burn holes from hot coals in the clothes she is ironing.   

For many among us ironing is a dreaded chore but it is 'work' for these people. And to Pablo Naruda, it is poetry  :

In Praise of Ironing

by Pablo Neruda
translated by Alastair Reid

Poetry is pure white.
It emerges from water covered with drops,
is wrinkled, all in a heap.
It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet,
has to be ironed out, the sea's whiteness;
and the hands keep moving, moving,
the holy surfaces are smoothed out,
and that is how things are accomplished.
Every day, hands are creating the world,
fire is married to steel,
and canvas, linen, and cotton come back
from the skirmishings of the laundries,
and out of light a dove is born -
pure innocence returns out of the swirl.

Ironing the Wrinkles Out 5.5x8" watercolor and ink on 140 lb Strathmore visual Journal

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Daily Chores

Daily Chore  watercolor and ink by Meera Rao
India Art Journal 2015 

This is the story of many women all around the world - gathering water is a daily chore.  The technological advances are in the background but have not fully touched the daily life yet for these two girls. They are part of migrant worker families that lived by the street in illegally propped up tents. To get a candid shot I photographed this from a distance when I happened on the scene while out on my daily errands.  I liked how the streaming light and bright colors highlight the beauty in this mundane activity. I loved the movement of the fabric  billowing in the wind, the motorcycles zooming away as ladies carefully made their way across the street. 

I got curious as to how much water do we need to survive and how much water we actually use. Here are some facts I discovered in my search :

From : Three-quarters of the Earth's surface is covered with water, yet 98 percent is salt water and not fit for consumption.
Less than one percent of all the water on Earth is freshwater available for human consumption.
The human body is more than 60 percent water. Blood is 92 percent water, the brain and muscles are 75 percent water, and bones are about 22 percent water.
A human can survive for a month or more without eating food, but only a week or so without drinking water.

From : An average person in US uses about 80-100 gallons a day, largest use is for flushing the toilets!  On average a bath can use around 36 gallons while showers need 2-5 gallons/minute. So showers are better only if you take short ones!  Please check out the table in the link to see the water consumption for daily chores like brushing teeth, washing dishes, clothes, and watering lawns etc and tips for water conservation.  This website WECalc, has a Water-Energy-Climate Calculator that you can check out to estimate your average consumption. 

Daily Chores 5.5x8" watercolor and ink on 140 lb Strathmore visual Journal
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...