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.