Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Old Godown At Mattanchery

Haven't we all come across these old, abandoned godowns, sometimes bang in the middle of a bustling megapolis. Why only Mattanchery?.... this could be anywhere in India. I remember seeing some properties like these both in Delhi and Mumbai.

Anyhow, coming back to the painting.... Leafing through a newspaper article I chanced upon a picture of an old, dilapidated godown at Mattanchery, in the old town area of Kochi (erstwhile Cochin) in Kerela. The blues, browns and whites of the picture made for a striking combination and inspired me to create this painting (click on the picture for a larger view). These abandoned spice godowns make for very interesting subjects and I remember reading a blog on them a few days back.

Now for the catch - this painting here is an entirely brushless effort. Yes, you read it right - no brush was used in the making of this painting. It has been created with a discarded credit card and was a very quick, inspired piece, made over an evening.

Also, today I officially complete 5 years of playing around with paints on paper and canvas. In these five years, from making a slow and shaky start, I have moved to bigger sizes and bolder strokes. And yes, given up the brush for more interesting mediums to paint with! :) Do wish me luck as I carry on my romance with colour.... for many more years to come!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Peek Into My Journal Pages

A few weeks back I had promised to share with you the pages from my first art journal. Well, here goes.... hope you enjoy the visuals.

Mr. Frog and the toadstool were created by a personalised stencil cut. The design on the top right was made with the help of layers of masking tape, peeling layers as each colour was applied. It was then finished with some sponging. The flowers on the bottom right are paper collaging on an acrylic background.

Madame O was inspired by a family of spotted owls we spotted at the park recently, sitting exactly like this atop an eucalyptus tree. The creation on the top right is a combination of cloth, foil and designed paper. It so reminds me of a circus tent top though you can't quite make that out in this picture. The bottom right doodles were inspired by henna designs; made using pen and watercolour.

This panel has some of my favourite designs. Moving clockwise from top left, I Heart Art is made with paper collaging and acrylics, finished with some pen work. The top right piece is my attempt at being Jackson Pollock. Done entirely without any brushes using finger painting and splatter technique. The funny shaped houses (they didn't quite turn out how they were supposed to) are again a combo of multiple techniques but the most interesting part in this is the background. The brownish parts that give a smoky look are created using.... guess what?!?!...... Coffee!!! yes, really, it is coffee. Isn't that a fabulous finish? The last panel is an ode to okra; simple veggie stamping for the background and repeating the designs with markers for the foreground.

And that is how my tiny folding journal looks - folded and opened up. Phew! And I still haven't shown you all.... some panels didn't photograph well so maybe those will come in another post. Now you see how much a little journal can hold. So hurry up.... get started yourself and happy journaling!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pattachitra Bottle

With the annual Rath Yatra (car festival) of Lord Jagannath having started in Orissa and other parts of the country this weekend, the time seemed appropriate to post about another aspect of the state - its arts and crafts. Orissa has always been deeply associated with age-old crafting traditions. Its villages of Pipli and Raghurajpur are famous for their colourful appliques and Pattachitra crafts the world over. Though I have visited the state many years back, but a visit to these craft villages has been on my to-do list for a while now.

Recently I attended a casual workshop where one of the projects was making a Pattachitra bottle. I couldn't be happier, of course! But it is only once I started painting that I realised how much patience is required to execute the intricate designs. And mine is nowhere close to what the Orissa artisans make.... I remember seeing these bottles a few years back at the Surajkund Crafts Fair when they were getting newly introduced in the market. Absolutely amazing designs and such delicate finery!

I chose to make Jagannath-Subhadra-Balram, the three gods that almost define Orissa; they are placed in the famous Jagannath Temple in Puri and worshipped in every Oriya home. Hope my bottle does justice to the images of these much-loved deities. Click on the image to see a better view of the bottle.

And next time you come across those Oriya craftsmen at a fair, don't forget to stop by, admire their creativity and pick up some gorgeous pieces for your home. Alternatively, you could commission a bottle from me by writing to me at Have a happy July! :)


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