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Here’s a little artwork I had made yesterday. It is my little tribute to the great movie director, Satyajit Ray who had his birthday on May the 2nd. He was born 1921, and he received an Oscar award for lifetime achievement. In this sketch, I have merged two of his best movies, Charulata and Mahanagar. Both have the actress Madhabi Mukherjee play a pivotal role. The dialogue is from Mahanagar, where Madhabi’s work colleague asks why she doesn’t use a red lipstick. The visual is from Charulata, where Madhabi plays a lonely housewife who entertains herself by uses her binoculars to spy at people down the street.

Calcutta sketches – my grandaunt

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What’s this art about? Here’s one of my quick under-an-hour sketch that I made of my grandaunt. Well, the time taken for sketching was shorter because she was watching TV and unable to stay still for long. The flouncy pillow behind her adds to her cute feminity. Psst…little added info on her : she loves wearing lipstick everyday!

What did she say when she saw herself?..

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Nothing. She just gave a genuine pleased smile, which made me happy. Here she is holding a big plate of sun dried cauliflowers which she is preparing to make pickles of, a big favorite in the family.

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Steaming hot cauliflowers, anyone?!

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Calcutta sketches : Morning prayers

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What’s this art about? It’s a classroom somewhere in India and morning prayers are being held in the class. This is a little unusual, because morning prayers are usually done in the wide courtyard or in a big room that fits all of the school together. My art was inspired by a photo from the local newspaper where the students of each class prayed for the children who died in the Peshawar shooting (by the Taliban). There was a big gap in the second aisle so I decided to fill in the gap with the figure of a teacher standing. The figure is me actually in my Indian attire of salwar kameez, and my big glasses do make me look strict like a teacher 🙂 .

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A snapshot of happy smiling faces of schoolchildren in India.

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Calcutta sketches : Stories within storeys

It’s been such a while that I paid serious attention to improving my sketching skills.. The last two months I spent in Calcutta, I tried to get some time off from looking after baby T to spending some time with my pen and artbook.  Here’s just a very few that I (miraculously) managed to get done. My aim during the sketches was to complete them in a time gap of under an hour. This was to help get me started with my sketches instead of getting bogged down under too many details of the work. Here’s one work for today.

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What’s this art about? I live in a residential community block in Calcutta, where big blocks of building are squeezed next to each other, with a garden and a playing ground in the center. When I look out of my window, I only see these tall buildings all around. So many people with so many stories taking place in these apartments. The day I drew this, something horrific had taken place in one such building. A woman died. She committed suicide by lighting herself on fire. I felt quite sad to hear the story. I have no idea what made her take such an extreme step, but she must have been in deep pain. I added her in my artwork as a way to let myself remember her. The title of this sketch is ‘Stories within storeys’.

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Vibrant Spring, and Tino, watercolour 3

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Though Spring arrives officially in France in a week’s time, it already feels a lot like Spring. The skies have been clear blue with the sun shining brightly now for many days in a row. For most of my life, before I settled in France, I never really paid attention to nature, or the flowers or vegetables that grow in particular seasons. I decided to pay a lot of attention to all the green things growing around me this year. I discovered daffodils are Spring flowers, and they will grow only for a month. I notice them growing everywhere. The first shoots of Spring are definitely the daffodils, daisies and pansies. I can tell because I see them growing by the sidewalks, in the forests, in gardens etc.

When I was in school, I remember I had to study Wordworth’s poem ‘The Daffodils’. He seemed so happy to be in the midst of daffodils and I always wondered how it must feel to see so many yellow and I guess, pretty flowers all around you (In India, I doubt daffodils are Spring flowers, and I was brought up in India). Here’s the first paragraph of the poem to get you jogging your memory if you had to study this poem too :

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

I made my watercolour inspired by the daffodils growing in profusion around my house. When I saw Tino, a white and grey cat, one day playing amongst the flowers it gave me the idea to get the drawing started. I am happy to note that I can see a slight improvement in my watercolour techniques compared to my previous two.

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Here’s Tino below, along with the daffodils and my pink watering can!

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