Saturday, August 29, 2009


SAHMET is organising an exhibition of 8"x10" paintings by artists known and unknown. This is for M.F. Hussain, whose 94th birthday is on the 17th of September. I got to know of this very late, but just had to paint something because I love M.F. Hussain.

I thought I'd mimic his way of abstracting personality through details of dress or appearance, minus the features. Therefore the white hair, and the glasses. Then, I wanted to bring in his film poster painting. Finally, I thought I'd put in these lyrics because they capture exactly what I feel very often: Ik khwab se dekha hoon, tabeer nahin banti... tasveer nahin banti. (I keep trying to paint a picture, and the picture doesn't get painted. I have this vision, but it refuses to be put down on paper.)

For Hussain, in exile in a faraway country, with love.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Celestial Critters

I love the ideas people come up with for swap-themes. This one was about "animal guides/power animals". I thought that mooshikan would fit the description: just think of the poor fellow having to carry that elephant-headed tub of motichoor laddus about. Then I thought, hey, let me do the vahanas of the gods and goddesses. I wrote the slokas with my Micron pen, and the pictures are watercolours. Couldn't find a good sloka for Yama's buffalo, though. The elephant is supposed to be Airavat, by the way. The first case of a white mammal growing colourful in his old age.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I, Me, Myself

Here are some self-portraits I did recently. Watercolours on handmade paper, the first from an old photograph of how I used to be fifteen years ago, and the other two painted from the mirror. They were both painted at the same table, lit by the same window, just a couple of days apart. I swear. Maybe the brown portrait is the true one, because it shows my inner self: a self well-hidden under ten extra kilos.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Peter Max Inspired

I discovered Peter Max through this swap in his honour. Most of Max's bright and colourful work was evidently done in the 70s and 80s. Maybe Max' childhood in Shangai was what whooshed his work with colour. He uses lots and lots of pure colour; no blending, no mixing, absolutely no limits on the palette.

Here are my paintings, all in watercolour. I was apologetic about them being in watercolour and therefore not quite as bright as these photos show them to be... the max that wasn't possible, was the way I put it, and I love my dreadful pun, so there. However, after looking at some of the artist's watercolour work, I think I haven't done too badly with the colour. Only acrylics could be really truly gaudy.


Lotsapotsaluv (Yesssssss!!!)

The Oranges Swimming

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monochromatic Women

I could have gone on painting more of these women, but I've got to catch the deadline. All of these are watercolours. The green one is a bit of an experiment. The sepia lady has gone through innumerable versions: I just love the solid seated firgure in a sari. Always have. The red one is copied from a sketch by William Frost. The blue girl is my favourite.

Say, any of you ladies and gentlemen willing to pose in the buff for me?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lammas Animals

Looks like I'm stuck in an animal groove... little Indian animals, creatures of the rainforest, and now, the animals of the harvest. And, in case they seem to be just a set of animals, I've chucked in some oats and paddy and pearl-millet and wheat... for good measure. Heh-heh. Note those bright colours, too.

One of the things that struck me when I was reading up on Lammas, was that the boar is connected with the earth, fertility and the harvest in the West too. In India, the wild boar is the animal associated with Bhoo Devi, the Earth Goddess. Interesting, or no?
All of them are in watercolours. There are little lines and dashes of bronze acrylic too, though they don't show up in the photos.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Rainforest Creatures

I'm absolutely pleased at the way these paintings have turned out. All the creatures are from the forests of India and Srilanka. They've been painted in watercolours, with Micron pen outlining. What I like about them is the grey and black and white background which sets off the main subject.
Grey does indeed make colour sing.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cat-Mauled Doll

She was lying around, her hair all frizzed out in a fine fuzzy cloud stuck to her green hat. The hat itself had come off her wee bald head, just managing to hang on by a fibre. I thought she was begging to be drawn, my friend's little daughter's forgotten doll. So I rummaged about in my son's cupboard and came up with the ideal prop to set her off: a little ceramic teapot that he used to play with before he learnt that he was living in a gendered world.

I think that it makes a charming picture, the detritus of two childhoods... three, if you count the kitten's. Done in watercolours and Micron pen on handmade paper.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Little Indian Animals

That's what she wanted, this artist from New Zealand. So I painted a slow loris, and a squirrel with five stripes, a bit of timeless primitive art, finger-painting by the Lord you might say.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dark Goddesses

Painted four of them. Here are the two I like best: a version of Kali, and Nyx, the Greek Goddess of the Night. Actually, Nyx hardly looks mysterious or as if she is capable of begetting Desire (as she did in the Greek myths); but she's turned out to be a favourite with everybody else. So, looking at my creation through the eyes of others, I've come to see her attractiveness too.

These have been done with graphite, watercolours (pencilled in and then washed) and pen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Games People Play

Loteria. I only heard of it because we had to come up with four cards each. It's a card-game that's played in Mexico, apparently. I don't know how they play it, I only know that the deck contains 54 cards, each different, and numbered one to fifty-four. The images range from the abstract, like El Diablito (the Devil) and La Muerte (Death) to solid, clunky ones, like El Cazo (the Saucepan) and La Bota (the Boot).
I chose to do the ones below because they are all connected with water. I almost did them all in blue too, but then I overthrew my prissy, orderly self and here are the results. Orderly, but pretty? Or just pretty orderly?

All my references were taken from Flickr CC.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


There was a stick-figure swap posted, and I thought why not. I did these, though I started out intending to paint some Warli-style stick people. I'm so pleased with these (and so are a lot of other people) that I'm thinking of doing a series on classic Indian movies.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Twenty Minutes, All Told

We were to spend thirteen minutes on one ATC, and get four of them ready in 52 minutes. I laid out the paints, paper, brushes and water, getting this whole lot finished in twenty minutes, including drying time. One thing I'm still not done with however: patting myself on the back. Heh-heh.

Oh, and I have to confess that I spent a lot of time planning the entire thing... but nobody said to include think-time in the final figures presented. I call this set Primaries, not only because those are the colours used.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Blue and One Other Colour

That was the challenge, to use just shades of blue, with one other colour. I didn't think that white was a colour, but apparently it is. These half-faces were painted using Winsor Blue and Prussian Green, which is actually a shade of blue.

Monday, May 25, 2009


May the doors open, may there be a lovely kiddie book to illustrate, not, NOT, oh never, an English textbook! I've been harking back to the days when I painted for kiddie books and magazines. So, when there was this swap of characters from Harry Potter, to be interpreted just as the artist pleased, I jumped at the opportunity. At last, some illustration.
I used the books for reference, not the movies. And, I chose four of the staff at Hogwart's for a portrait session. Here they are: Trelawney and Lockhart and Umbridge and Moody. All these teachers have been painted in watercolours.
My scanner's acting weird, so these have been photographed. That's why the tilt.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I've been painting ATCs on a new site, not WetCanvas. The swaps are more manageable here, for you only have to do sets of three/six paintings upon any theme. The tough part is that you get negative trading points if you don't send your art within the stated time. Oh I love the pressure... or do I hate it? Difficult to describe the feeling.

Anyway, one of the themes was It's a Hard-Knock Life: Gypsies and Vagabonds. Here are my Banjaran. The moustachiod gent is from a photo by MeanestIndian on Flickr CC.

All these cards are in watercolour, on watercolour paper from Auroville. I've made a special attempt to paint them in muted tones, especially after getting drunk on colour with the Solstice paintings.