Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011

New year greetings to all my readers... May 2011 turn out to be bigger and better, in all respects. And add a host of new colours to your lives!

That I achieved to create double the number of artworks in 2010 as compared to 2009 is a big enough high for me to end the year on. :) So what if I am unable to post a picture for you all today (I got all confused between wires, and carried the wrong set on my vacation, so no downloads!).

Blogging tends to get a bit slow around this time of the year, but thankfully work hasn't stopped. So I shall be back around mid-Jan with a host of new paintings to show.

Till then, wishing you a creative start to the new year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Beer Bottle Landscape

Right after I finished my last bottle (Gulmohar), my son knitted his brows and asked, "Mama, why do you paint only flowers on your bottles?". Good question, and the only answer I had was to promise him that next time I'd paint something different. I also quietly told myself that it was time to face upto a new challenge!

As I looked at the empty beer bottle standing on my work table, suddenly an idea flashed.... why not try something totally unrelated. And that is how the landscape emerged; after all a beer is best enjoyed on an outing to the countryside. ;)

So you have blue snow-capped mountains, green rolling hills, and miles of farmland on this bottle.

It has been tough photographing this particular bottle because you can take in the entire effect only from a distance. But I hope these pictures give you some glimpses of my efforts.

As for my son, he is happy that mommy kept her promise of making something different! :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bottled Gulmohar

Here's an attempt to catch the pretty Gulmohar blossoms again, this time on a bottle.

Let the pictures do the talking this time. :)

I'm happy because I could capture the see-through quality of the leaves.

Am currently working on another bottle; will show you the results soon!

Friday, December 3, 2010


Spotted a white throated kingfisher from my kitchen balcony the other day. That reminded me of a few kingfisher pictures we had clicked last year on our annual picnic. And so lies the story behind this piece....

I was determined to paint in a loose hand, and focus not just on the subject but on the painting in entirety. I think I have managed to achieve that as the foliage blends in pretty well.

I am also painting in a bigger size (15" by 10.5" approx) now and enjoying the expanse of a larger scale.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Someone's Trash, Someone's Treasure

Can't believe I actually got home someone's trash (well almost!) to work on. Collected this carton full of used liquor bottles from a dear friend a couple of months back.

Though I haven't done much work with them yet, but hopefully they will turn into some sort of stuff worth treasuring once I'm done with them. While the coloured bottles aren't working too well for my liking, I have already started work on the first plain one.

Can you imagine what the finished piece would look like? Well, neither can I.... Really prefer working with no set design. Make up each bit as you go along, that is the fun part!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mongooses & Robins

Remember how I told you a few posts ago that the farmer's field behind our home is a great source of inspiration. Well, this painting stems entirely from the play of the mongooses and robins within the greens and browns of the fields.

I don't know what the connection is but I noticed that whenever the robins were active and hovering around in a pack, a couple of mongoose could also be spotted moving around. The afternoon was the chosen hour for this hide and seek between them.

Here is a close-up to give you a better feel of the piece.

Alas, now that the farmer has cut off most of his produce, the mongooses have vanished.... probably built new burrows in safer places.

I am currently working on a series of pieces all based on the farmer's field. Will show you bits and pieces off and on. Hope you enjoyed this one.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Week Of Trials

Have spent most of the week dabbling in some new techniques. Went back to acrylics after a long time, and I'm totally loving it. Here are some snapshots from my trials.

I have repeatedly felt that I'm not as much a watercolor person. Not that I don't love the effects that watercolors produce but acrylics win hands down when it comes to sheer colour.

The dazzling brightness of their colours never fails to amaze me.

And while a lot of people don't like acrylics because they are fast-drying, that very quality appeals to me. With acrylics, you can layer on faster, and be assured of eye-catching shades.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blue Cornflowers

My second bottle was inspired by beds of blue cornflowers swaying in the breeze, a familiar sight every spring if you happen to visit any of the parks.

I especially enjoyed doing the typical shape of the petals that give this flower its distinct identity.

And here is a close-up of the just-starting-to-open flower. I used some subtle glitter to do the details of the leaves.

Hope to get back to some painting after this brush with bottle art. Keep checking back for more!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fuchsia Fantasy

I'm back after a rejuvenating break filled with fun, family, and some great food! It has been a fantastic time-out, of course. Especially after a hectic week spent finishing two bottles simultaneously.

Here is the first one called Fuchsia Fantasy. Inspired by the bell-shaped fuchsia flower with its brilliant colour combos, this bottle has travelled all the way to Bangalore and will adorn the work desk of a favourite cousin. :)

Love the deep aubergine colour that I managed to mix up for this one; it made a smashing combination with the blue.

Will show you the second bottle in my next post soon.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Street Food Cart

Can't believe this is my 100th post! This blog has sure come a long way.... :)

My second submission for the virtual paintout at San Miguel de Allende. I used this street view to create this painting, and am pretty pleased with the outcome.

My learning this time was about how important shadows are. After I had finished putting in the colours, I realised that something was amiss. Then, by sheer gut feel, I darkened the shadows. While black is a colour one should use with a lot of thought, this once I used it liberally. As soon as the shadows got done right, the colours from the other parts popped up and everything worked together.

I especially like how the figures turned out in this one... the lady sitting with her cup, the fellow with his cap, the couple on the right of the cart, and the food sellers with their distinctive identities. Adding human interest definitely ups the overall appeal of any painting.

I'll be working on a couple of bottles now, and then plunge headlong into Diwali festivities. :) See you all sometime next month....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Farmer's Field

The farmer's field behind our house is the source of endless inspiration. I can actually sit in the comfort of my bedroom and stare all day at the lush green fields. The ripening crops attract a lot of birds and animals, and watching them intertact and play around is such fun.

In this piece I have tried capturing some such instances of activity in the fields - the butterflies flitting in and out of the swaying crops, the crow flying low looking for some food, the fat tabby cat waiting to pounce upon some unsuspecting bird.

I am quite happy with this one, especially because things did turn out as I had originally imagined. I can feel a series of more drawings brewing up inside....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kashmir Valley

Chronologically, this one should've come before the previous post. It was started last month, and left to languish in the midst of my festive fiesta. Finally completed it earlier this week.

Done from a picture taken by a cousin on one of her many trips to the beautiful Kashmir valley in north India.

While I'm happy with the most part, after I finished I wished I'd done the skies differently. They seem to take the focus away from the pretty colours of the hills.

What do you think? Am I being too hard on myself! ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cactus Country

My first submission to the Virtual Paintout blog featuring San Miguel de Allende this month. I am participating after a long gap of five months, and really enjoyed touring around the colourful streets of this month's location.

Click here to see the picture that I used for my small painting (7.5" x 5.5").

I really liked the outcome. Hope to be able to send across another one next week.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Inspiration Plaques

This is an easy one. Here are the steps on how you can make your own inspiration plaques. Please follow at your own risk! ;) (And don't say I didn't warn you well in time!)

1. Filch a couple of useless wood blocks from a neighbour's yard. (This is exatly what I did.... not that they cared.)

2. Think up some inspirational words to paint on these wood blocks. (I used acrylic paints.)

3. Paint, dry, display, and enjoy.

Thankfully mine are displayed close to where I work so I can see them many times a day. The two simple words on my inspiration plaques really sum up my mantra for life.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Festive Fever & Sneak Preview

Found this blog missing in action these last couple of weeks? Well, blame it squarely on the festive season. I have had my hands full, with my son's b'day, my parents' visit, and Durga Puja. You can look forward to some posts later this week as I finish off stuff I left half done last month.

Meanwhile here is a sneak preview of the latest bottle I'm working on. It is far from completion, and taking longer than expected.... but that is how creative things go. So no point complaining; only hope I get back into the creative groove soon before another festive bout hits! :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nasturtiums Galore

Nasturtiums again, this time in watercolor.

I did this one directly with paint on paper, without any sketching for guidance. Doing away with the sketching does allow for more flexibility; there aren't any lines to restrict and you simply move with the way the colour flows.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Portulaca Splendour

Apologies for my absence most of last week. I got trapped in a bottle (Much like the fabled genie)!! Well, I'll let the pictures do the talking this time....

Portulaca blooms in my garden, a sight that welcomes me through the monsoon season.

Portulaca blooms on my bottle, a sight that will last through all seasons.

The eye-catching combination of hot pink and yellow was just too hard to resist.

Mmmmm... sheer gorgeousness!! Whaddaya think?

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Last Few Suns

The sunflowers in my neighbour's garden are having a last burst of blooms before they are retired in favour of the seasonal varieties. Everyday as I pass them by on my way out, their bright nodding heads look so paintworthy. :)

This one has actually turned out better than I expected. And the part I enjoyed doing the most was the upturned flower. Here is a close-up of that bit.

Hope the coming week is as fulfilling, paint-wise, as the last one. I am loving this phase of quick paintings albeit small ones. Shall move on to a bigger size soon.....

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Inspired entirely by the oh-so-gorgeous blooms in my winter garden last year, these cheery cinnerarias were fun to do.

My learning this time was all about mixing the right shades. Since my basic 12-tube watercolor pack has a limited pallette (it does not have any shades of purple/fuchsia), I had to make sure I mixed the right amounts of red and blue to get the different shades.

Another floral is coming up in the next post.... stay tuned (These words are a sureshot hangover from my radio jockey days!).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ghats And Boats

The two things that characterize the city of Benaras, or Varanasi, believed to be the oldest city in India. Also considered the seat of Hindu traditions, and famous for its weaving of the now dying Benarasi sari. Though I have never visited the city but I found a newspaper picture of it so compelling that I just had to paint it.

This was one painting I enjoyed thoroughly, especially doing the boats. Here is a close-up of my favourite parts.

The aim now is to consciously paint in a more loose fashion with emphasis on the Impressionist approach. I believe a watercolor works best that way.

Hope you enjoyed this one!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Swish Set

And you thought they appeared only on Page 3! I see them everyday in my rural backyard. ;)

The farmers' buffaloes with their languorous gait and their forever swishing tails make for an interesting subject. Especially when they line up for their fodder, heads bent and fully focussed on eating. Only the tails move, constantly.

The monsoon overdrive has sent me on a watercolor overdrive. Just can't seem to get enough of this medium. :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Canna Flowers

I worked up the gumption to do a watercolor floral after quite a while. Inspired by canna flowers that have been blooming all over the neighbourhood thanks to the over-active monsoon this year.

More than the flowers, I love the delicate stripes that show up on canna leaves. That is what I tried capturing in this attempt.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Experiments With Squawky

Yesterday I did two back-to-back paintings after a long time. I was also in the mood to experiment so I kept the sketching to a bare minimum and tried playing around directly with colour on the brush.

The result of my first experiment is this squawky fella. Didn't I tell you the parrots will keep returning! :) I am happy that I could keep the strokes fairly loose, though of course there is still more scope.

My second experiment had to do with a floral; look out for that in my next post.

Monday, September 6, 2010


September always gets off to a slow start as my daughter's birthday right at the beginning of the month keeps me busy. But I'm aiming to make up this week by trying to paint more often.

Here is a glimpse of the painting before it dried completely, with the wet parts standing out.

This time I chose a picture from my inspiration file, and I was sure I wanted to paint it using watercolors. I love the fact that I'm suddenly feeling more confident about this medium. Months of observing the works of other artists seems to have finally paid off!

No votes for the question I posed on my last post! Tch, tch.... my readers are getting indifferent. Anyway, I am going with 'Waiting' because that signifies hope, and is therefore a more positive title.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Waiting or Moored?

Remember the Falkenberg series of paintings I did last year? You can see them here and here.

Well, this is the last picture from that trilogy. Only while the older ones were done in acrylic, this time I decided to use watercolors.

While I love the way the boat and the grassy areas have come out, I feel the water could do better but I really don't know how. Any ideas or suggestions? Incidentally, this is the original picture that I used as reference.

I'm also not sure what I want to call it - Waiting or Moored. Maybe my readers should vote for this one and help me decide! :)

Monday, August 23, 2010


Just tried doing a watercolor floral (undoubtedly my fav topic!) using the wax resist technique.

Not a great piece of work, but I did learn something new. I hope to try out more work (with better proportions, of course) using this technique soon.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yellow Lily

Perfect antidote for a grey, misty day: a bright yellow lily, now blooming in my dining area. :)

Had to paint something cheerful to dispel the dreariness of a day-long drizzle. This yellow lily made for just the right subject. I'm back to acrylics and pen, my comfort zone. A quick swish on card stock, and I have something new to smile about!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weekend Crafting: I-Day Wrist Bands

India celebrated its 64th Independence day last Sunday, and the children joined the fervour with their I-Day wrist bands.

The credit for the idea goes entirely to my soon-to-be-five years old girl. Since they were so easy to make, I thought I should share the how-to with you.

1. Take a plain A4 size sheet, and fold it lengthwise, thrice over, to give your band some thickness.

2. Stick the loose ends down using a glue stick.

3. Colour/decorate one side the way you want (in this case we chose the colours of the national flag, of course).

4. When you are through with colouring/decoration, put some double-sided tape on one of the shorter ends of the plain side. This will help you fasten the band on your wrist.

Voila! Show off your new wrist band. :)


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