Saturday, September 23, 2017

Reading List


  
Though I spend a lot of time doing art, I also make time to read, fiction and non-fiction. Yesterday, I made a list of all the books I finished in the last 3-4 months. I have also rated them, five  stars being the highest. 


1. Perumal Murugan: Seasons of the Palm (English translation from Tamil)*****
2. Hari Kunzru: White Tears ****
3. Akhil Sharma: Family Life ***1/2
4. Stephen King: On Writing ***1/2 (non-fiction)
5. Walter Mosley: Charcoal Joe ****
6. Jesmyn Ward: Salvage the Bones ****1/2
7. Joe Ide: IQ ****1/2
8. Rahul Mehta: No Other World *** 1/2
9. Kathleen Collins: Whatever Happened to Interracial Marriage ****1/2
10. Rakesh Satyal: Nobody Can Pronounce My Name ***1/2
11. Lisa Congdon: Art Inc. **** (non-fiction)
12. Austin Kleon: Show Your Work ***1/2 (non-fiction)

On my desk: 
13. John Farrell: Richard Nixon (non-fiction)
14. Elizabeth Strout: Anything is Possible


As you can see, my taste in fiction runs towards either those written by non-white authors or about non-white lives. It was not always so. When I first started reading English fiction, there were only books written by whites and almost all men. Thankfully, in the last two decades, the world of book publication has expanded significantly to include Black, Asian, Latino and gay voices. More importantly, the local libraries are also stocking them in greater numbers. In the list above, all but three were borrowed from my local library. It is my guess that my town library relies on the New York Times Book Review and its best seller list to help determine its purchases and that works out fine for me.
 
What have you been reading in recent times? Any from my list? Please share in the comment section.

Linked to Paint Party Friday.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August Artworks


I am presently in India visiting my sister in Chennai, Tamilnadu. I brought with me just a few select art supplies: watercolors and chalk pastels. Surprisingly, chalk has turned out to be easiest and most effective way to create art on the fly. With just a 9"x 11" reusable vinyl chalkboard cloth and a box of colored chalks and a few wet paper towels, I am able to capture the fleeting images of life here in Chennai. Chalk art, by definition, is ephemeral. My visit too is of short duration. Somehow, the medium and the subject seem to have found each other.








Linked to Paint Party Friday. Thanks to Eve and Kristin for hosting.
Linked to Art*Journal*Journey Color in My World

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Sights and Sounds of Chennai



I am presently visiting my sister in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. Chennai in August is a lovely place to be. The weather is pleasant with moderate temperatures. It is the beginning of the monsoon season and the trees and the flowers show off their best colors. The birds feel happy and sing. Even the gaunt strays that dot the landscape look more hopeful and move around with more energy. Below is a sample of the sights and sounds of Chennai in August










Linked to Image-in-ing.

Enjoy.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Cats on Rocks!




I never had a pet in my entire life but if I ever got one it would be a cat. Several years ago, my daughter, on one of her visits, brought her cat with her. I greatly enjoyed having that little feline around. Cats I think, make a great subject for art. It is that blank, inscrutable face which lends itself to all kinds of anthropomorphic imagination.  An artist can project any kind of emotion (innocence, love, mischief, malice etc) on it and have lots of fun doing it. A cat, obviously, has no way of objecting it!



These two paintings were done on rocks using acrylic paints.

Linked to Moo-Mania "Cats" challenge. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Etude in Blue



I have always loved blue in all its variations. My preference for blue show up not only in my artwork but also in the clothes I wear and in home decor (the color of the sofa, throw cushions, draperies). The only place where there is no use for blue is in the food I make!

Of late, I have been making art (in various forms) with lots of blue. It has been quiet intentional, a way of branding my art. I also feel that when I do something in blue it usually comes out better. The picture above and below are little gems created on river rocks. The third picture is a pattern on a blue background drawn on a cigar box inspired by indigo dyed Indian bed linens.

The last photo below is a pencil sketch I made last night. I leave it to you to guess who it is. In drawing this sketch I followed a tip given by a well known cartoonist which is to focus on the most distinguishing feature of the subject and to exaggerate it, like Carter's teeth, Bill Clinton's nose or Obama's ears. Here I focused on the hairdo. My daughter thinks it is the lips that is the giveaway. You be the judge :)





Linked to Paint Party Friday. Thanks to Kristin and Eva for hosting.

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Trip to the Acadia National Park




 A few weeks ago, around the 4th of July weekend, my husband and I took a trip to the Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor,  Maine. This was our second visit, the first one occurring two decades ago. A lot has changed in Maine since our last trip. There is far greater diversity (especially racial) in the demographics of the crowds visiting these tourist spots and correspondingly greater diversity in food and restaurant choices.

What however has remained unchanged is the natural grandeur of the seas and the mountains of the Acadia National Park. The rough waters with forbidding rocky outcrops of the  Gulf of Maine that borders one side of the Park is still an awesome sight to hold.  On the other side was the Cadillac Mountain with its magnificent views from the top and the beautiful granite rocks lined with green algae and puddles of water. (My chemist husband could not resist pointing out that granite is a radioactive material and that we are waking on a radioactive surface!) Be that as it may, it was still very lovely.




The original intent of the trip was to do whale and puffin watching on a tour boat. Unfortunately, the trip was cancelled due to heavy fog and rough sea. It looked like this in the morning.




It improved quiet a bit in the afternoon and we took a shorter boat ride around the bay. We saw several harbor and grey seals lolling on the rocks at low tide. We spent the whole day at Bar Harbor along with hundreds of other tourists. Overall, a pleasant trip, in spite of some minor disappointments, unexpected weather turns and traffic jams.




Linked to Image-in-ing

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Let it Shine




I interpreted this week's theme 'Let it Shine' at Try it on Tuesday in  different ways. Since it is summer in northern hemisphere, it could mean the shining of the sun; it could also mean the bright light of summer and its predominant color, yellow.

The top picture is a watercolor of melted butter in a mason jar. I did it on a coffee filter paper which I first made water resistant with gesso. Here I have tried to capture the transparent quality of both the glass and the liquid and the shine of reflected light on both.



This painting of sunflowers on a river rock is a more metaphoric interpretation of the theme. These large yellow flowers turning their face throughout the day in the direction of the sun light up the garden with their shine.


Finally, the one below is a mixed media art where yellow stands for shine.



Thanks for visiting. Linked to Try it on Tuesday.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happy Solstice!






I am a yoga bird! A few weeks ago at a yoga retreat at Arsha Vidya Gurukulum in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, as I was shake loose a few pine cones from a spruce tree, two yoginis mistook me for a bird! As they came around the tree and saw me they burst out laughing. I was dressed colorfully in my Indian dress. I decided to memorialize that very amusing incident using a painted bunting.

Linked to Paint Party Friday. Thanks to Kristen and Eve for hosting.


A little late in the month but this is my submission for the Art Journal Journey Circles. This mixed media piece was created using crackle medium for the background, a vintage ad label and clear glass marbles with pieces of maps adhere on the back. The photo does not do justice to the glass marbles.

Summer has finally arrived here in New Jersey and the flowers are blooming joyfully.






Thanks for visiting.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Painted Rocks



These are some of rock paintings I created to donate to the Spring Fair and Plant Sale at Trailside that took place two weeks ago. This was new for me: painting on such a small scale using acrylics. I bought a full bag of rocks from a local landscaping store and used Golden and FolkArt craft paints. It was challenging initially but got better as I did more. What is great about rock painting is that one can create really substantial art at very low cost.  I enjoyed doing them a lot and plan to do many more time permitting.

Thanks for visiting.

Linked to Paint Party Friday and Try It on Tuesday: Feathered Friends.

















Monday, May 29, 2017

Spring Fair and Plant Sale at Trailside

Signage for the Arts and Crafts Booth

The Spring Fair and Plant Sale is a major fundraiser for the Demonstration Garden at Trailside (Watchung Reservation). The master gardeners and the interns in the Master Gardener program put in tremendous amount of time and physical work before and during the fair. This event is particularly useful for interns to pick up significant chunk of volunteer hours needed to complete the program.  I was asked to manage the Arts and Crafts section, which ended up being much fun. I made about three dozen catnip toys and half a dozen totes from re-purposed burlap rice bags. There were other items for sale also and we sold $150/ worth of craft items. It was a respectable amount given that the people were there for buying the plants. While at it, I taught a young girl how to make a catnip mouse and gave her a free sample of catnip too. I may have set her on a lifetime of crafty path!


Market Totes 



Catnip Toys
Thanks for visiting.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Butterfly on Rocks





A little butterfly painted on a little rock nestling in a little wood box. I bought a whole bag of these Mexican beach pebbles from a local garden center for landscaping in my yard. But their nice oval shape and polished surface make for a tempting substrate to paint on.

Linked to Try it on Tuesday's Little Things Mean a Lot.

Thanks for visiting..

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

Nature's Rhythm





It is never truly spring till the birds come to take a bath. After a few late winter storms and freezing temperatures, finally this morning  there was this female cardinal luxuriating in a warm bath all fluffed up while the mate watched from the nearby forsythia bush. It was a comforting sight. Then in the afternoon I saw a handful of dark eyed juncos and a robin. Now I can say, spring is here.









Linked to Image-in-ing.