Friday, April 30, 2010


An art-historian friend of mine gave me a stack of cards measuring 13x18 cm. They're rather interesting to work on, because the thin paper that's stuck on them is very absorbent. Just touch the brush to it and I swear you can hear it go SSHHHLOOOOP as it sucks in the paint. I thought I'd paint these quick heads... just features and expressions straight from the brush.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

All Sort of Windows

More postcard-sized watercolours on handmade paper. These pooches going on a drive were done from emdot's photograph on Flickr.

I painted these brushes in a milk-jug from 1Happysnapper's Flickr upload.

Here's the greatest erection any man ever got up for a woman, the Tajmahal, seen from the Red Fort in Agra, where Shahjahan spent his final years in imprisonment. This is the view of the Taj I like the best, and I always wonder how it must have felt for a king to view his creation from prison. Thanks to rednivaram for the reference.

Another Islamic window, this time from the Charminar in my city. This was painted from a photograph I took when I went on a photo-walk with the Hyderabad Photography Society. The burqa clad girl in the picture actually ran back to the window and briefly opened her veil for me to photograph her.

From elNico's photograph on Flickr, this one shows a sunset bringing back some dreary windows to life.

This time the colours are more or less true to the paintings, but these images are not clear at all. I have to get me a scanner, a refrain I've been whining for awhile now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Travel Windows

The 'new' exchange at WetCanvas is getting old, and I still have many more windows to paint. I thought I might do a little cut-and-paste, taking out pictures from my journal and sticking them on postcards. Here are four pictures that I'm thinking of cutting up.

This first one shows the view from my sixth floor window at Hotel avenue Regent in Kochi. It looks better than it does here, but unfortunately it takes up all of the page, and cutting it to postcard size would mean leaving out the drapery or the sunlight on the wooden floor. Let's see what can be done...

This one is the scene through the windshield of a Meru Cab, with the driver frowning in concentration as he makes his way through the chaotic traffic of my city. No problems with cutting this one to size.

Here's one of a plane seen through the large windows at Kochi airport. I always reach there much ahead of time, and always draw the scene outside. I have more aeroplanes, and am thinking of painting window frames on them.

Here's my favourite, that I'm finding very hard to tear out from my journal. Kochi airport again, with this little French boy looking out the window.

All of them are on handmade paper which has a generous sprinkling of dried petals. I used my Gioconda charcoal pencil, watercolours, and my trusty Sakura brush pen that gets past all airport security. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Pretty Town of Winchester

I went to visit Dinah in Winchester, a really pretty place, with the houses straight out of Dennis the Menace or Archie's Riverdale: made of wood, set in open yards, kiddie toys and Halloween corn dollies left outside. Fall must have been spectacular, because the town is bordered by woods. The occasional little red-clothed tree, like this one, was beautiful enough for me, though I do wish I could have made it to Winchester in the Fall.

The day after Thanksgiving was a day misted by rain. Dinah and I walked through the town, just catching up on things. Also, taking photographs to paint from. This painting has come out better than it appears here... looks like my scanner is once again settling in for a long sulk.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Friends Abroad

One of the reasons why I loved my New York trip so much was because of the friends who gave me such a good time. Here are three of them, painted without any preliminary pencil lines,

I met Shekhar for the first time outside the UN building where he works. I was taking him a package of cigarettes from India, given to me by his brother who is my close friend. Now this is not exactly how Shekhar looks... call it a close likeness, except for that strange right eye I've given him.

This is my friend Dinah, who lives in Winchester these days. We've been friends for decades now, but she no longer lives in India. She took time out to visit me in Manhattan, though this painting shows her in her kitchen. Painted from a photograph I took when I went to her place for a day.

And here's my virtual pal turned real-life friend, Joan. Joan made a long trip to Manhattan THREE times, just to meet up with me and take me out. Her amazing Paris sketch book inspired me to start a New York sketch diary.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Art on the City Streets

One of the things I loved about New York was the way there was art everywhere. Coming from a country where all public spaces are reserved for unwanted statues of politicians, dead or alive, it took my breath away to see these.

The Wall Street Bull, or the Bowling Green Bull as he is also sometimes called, is a 3,200 kg bronze sculpture by Arturo di Modica, put up in December 1989. I learnt much later, after I came home to India and Wikied information on this bronze beast, that people stroke his horns, nose and cojones because they believe it will bring them financial luck. I did see one young chap crouched beneath those awesome orbs, and thought that he was a pervert. Ah, if only I'd known then what I know now...

LOVE, on 6th Avenue, was designed first for a Christmas card by Robert Indiana in 1964. A couple of years later, he put it up as a sculpture. It's made of stainless steel, and the sides are blue. You can spend quite some time gazing at it, with children climbing up and tumbling through the base of the letters.

Seems it later became one of those iconic and much-copied images. No wonder it seemed as if I was meeting somebody I already had seen somewhere.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A New York Scramble Into the New Year

Can't let the first month of the new year slide by. After many moons, here is a fresh entry. I was in New York for more than a month in November-December last year. Shiv and I stayed in an apartment in Jersey City the first ten days. This is a picture of JC from the Hudson when I went to see the Statue of Liberty. I painted this on Lokta paper after I came home, and then stuck the painting into my moleskine.

Here's the Lady herself, strong-armed and somehow... sad.

Nothing sad about this view out the window at a Spanish cafe in Jersey, where I sat and marvelled at the raining yet sanguinary world outside while waiting for my bowl of soup-of-the-day.