Girl In The Red Sari

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Of late, I have taken a small fascination to saris.

Actually, I used to wear them twice a week during my days at the university. During that time, I didn’t give saris any thought, for me they were a burden because they would take up a lot of precious time, after which I wouldn’t look near as elegant as I should have. Amongst the challenges of wearing a saree is managing the pleats at the front. There would be a weird bump around my midriff, where I would manage to have the pleats all bunched together.

Lately, I realised that the saree, being a traditional attire in India, and one that thrives so well ( there is no other national costume in any other part of the world that has thrived so well unto our modern age, part from the salwar kameez of course), there is so few art around them. I decided to create a series of art around the beauty of the sari. Here, this artwork has been inspired by the photo below, something I found off Pinterest, very cute and very different where the print was concerned. If anyone is interested, the name of the saree company is Queen of Hearts :

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My artwork during the work in progress stages:

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I get inspired by women wearing sarees with interesting compositions, like reading a book, wearing glasses, doing yoga, cooking etc. I prefer to see a woman wearing a sari, with an activity, rather than just making a model pose. If you think you have a photo that could interest me, you are welcome to let me have a look at it! 🙂

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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Disdainful cats, watercolor 1

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My inspiration to draw these two cats with their funny expressions came from two cats in the neighborhood who can be seen often sitting close together on a window sill. They looked disdainful, I couldn’t figure out why. Either at being locked out of the house, or the fact that I dared to come in close enough to shoot them with my camera. Either way, they looked hilarious! 🙂

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My creative best of 2013

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Before I continue with my post, I must tell you that all the creative pursuits I’ve had in 2013 has been a unique phase in my life. Until December 2012, the only claim I had to creativity was a little bit of sketching or a bit of painting, quite rarely did I even indulge in them. Any kind of craft work was alien to me. I never trusted myself to take up any craft work in fear I’d abandon it soon, the guilt of money wasted and precious space taken in the apartment was much to bear. 

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Exactly a year ago, I was going through a situation in my life. Due to a terrible illness that left me bedridden a month and suffering from a lot of pain (I also left my job), coupled with a terrible accident to precious family member, I felt I was no longer the person I used to be. During the weeks and months that followed, I stopped doing things that used to initially fill up my time. I no longer went to work, watched movies, read books, listened to music or hung out with a lot of people. I know, it all sounds terrible now, but I still haven’t changed much, I have very little interest in the above activities anymore. And to think I used to be a big music buff before! 

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My interest in craft activities happened completely by accident while watching a few tutorials on youtube. Something snapped in me and I got hooked! The months that followed in 2013, apart from being very busy on the personal family front, my fingers have been very busy creating things, or clicking away on my camera or typing away on my keyboard filling up my blog with posts. (Yes, my blog is also a year old now!) I have taken up new and diverse projects, and I have even amazed myself at how I manage to complete them! I don’t consider crafts as boring anymore! I have never felt so fascinated by threads and needles and fabrics and textures. My family and close friends have raised their eyebrows at the new me, they didn’t think I would be the kind of girl to sit in a corner stitching away! 🙂 But being involved in the craft projects helped me find a way to keep my mind busy apart from a lot of joy, and I am grateful for that.

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 Thanks to the tutorials on youtube, I have also taught myself several new crafts. Many of my posts are titled ‘My first attempt at …’ because indeed they are my very first attempts at those crafts. 2014 will still see me continuing with several new crafts, but I think I may have found a certain craft that gave me a lot of satisfaction and fulfilment, and that is silk ribbon embroidery. I am hoping to continue on with that and make better projects in 2014. 

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I did very little where paper crafts were concerned, but I may change that in 2014. The last month or so, I have been drawn irresistibly to papercrafts. And I want to revive my sketching and painting skills, so definitely there will be lots of them coming up too. I hope you’ve enjoyed my post, all the photos are of the craft projects I completed in 2013. 

My artwork on bathroom tubes

ImageSomehow, my husband and I weren’t too joyful in having plain white functional tubes running up in the bathroom, in full view. My husband proposed the idea of having cabinets over them to hide them, and I was quite OK with the idea.

The cabinets somehow never came and I was itching to take out my paintbrushes and make some kind of art over them. I was a bit nervous when I first started out, because I would be using up a lot of my time for them, and I wanted the end result to look good. Plus it’s been a while I took out my paintbrushes!

The height of the bathroom is 3 meters and the tubes run almost that length. However, my artwork is confined to only one meter, that is, the part of the tubes seen from the first ledge upwards. Here is a series of photographs so you can see and perhaps enjoy the transition, from the boring white tubes to something I can look at every morning and go hmmm… 🙂

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage    By the way, I got inspiration for the house above the orange tree from this particular house in my neighborhood.

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ImageImageImage   I must say I did not start this project knowing exactly that I wanted to draw. If I did, then the enormity of the project would have made me keep putting it off. I completed this painting in about a month. That long because it also included a few days of me going out of the country. I tackled the ideas one at a time. I knew from the start that I wanted the thinner tubes to be surrounded by vines. I had no idea what to do for the bigger tube. Something fancy, yet homely.

I wanted a little child to be drawn, and I wanted it to be a girl. I had to think about her posture, whether she should face me, what dress she should wear etc. The orange tree was done easily. But it was challenging for me to vision what could be above the orange tree. Husband suggested I continue the orange tree all the way up just like the vines. The idea couldn’t hold true with me because of course orange trees aren’t like vines, they are just big bushy compact things. Would I draw fields and then the sky above and then maybe an aeroplane flying? I got my inspiration while walking around my neighborhood and seeing this lovely house with French windows and slated tile roof and that little attic window. The idea of the weather vane came from the church in our neighborhood.

Here’s a pic of my good friend’s daughters who I couldn’t resist including in the post because I felt their charm of being just little girls fit quite well with my painting.

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