The Trees Outside my Terrace

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spring flowers blog

If you lie on your back, or lean back all the way on the sofa – this is what you see. A fistful of sky and a green canopy.

This one took a bit of time. But the feeling of finishing is indescribable. The best part about this blog is that I can share my excitement at learning new things.

If you are an illustrator, perhaps you could try the Zig Kuretake brush pens. I think they’re awesome.

 

 

Trees, sprigs of leaves, and brush-pen madness

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It all started with these trees outside our terrace. It used to be filled with tiny bright green leaves. But over the winter rains, it has now grown into a canopy of green made up of perfectly symmetrical sprigs of perfectly shaped leaves. Of course, I have been itching to draw it.

One afternoon, I was sitting outside and I casually tried to draw a single branch with my pentel black ink brushpen. Then I figured that dipping the pen in water makes the ink softer which can help me achieve a kind of glazing technique to create overlaps. Now, if you’ve had formal training or are taking classes, this may sound laughable to you. But for me, this was a total revelation.

brushpen leaves

This revelation has led to a full-on brushpen madness. Based on my casual sketch, I am now working on a painting of the trees. Hopefully, I’ll get to post that soon.

P.S. Does anyone know what these trees are called?

 

Coffee and Evenings

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coffee and ladies in conversation

My friend P and I often drink our evening coffee together. Several days a week, when she makes coffee, she texts me asking if I want one. I do the same too. It’s kind of like an end of work day catch-up. We get the irritants out of our system, share the small, insignificant victories of our day and then go back to being wives and mothers. A quick little breather, for which I am ever so thankful.

Years ago, this used to be a part of Bengali culture. People met for an evening “adda” (chit-chat) over tea somewhere down the street or up on the roof. Over time, as we became more “modern”, this bit of daily routine was lost. I’ve never lamented it’s loss, because I have never known why it was important or why older people valued this time of the day so much.

Now I know. And I wish more people would go back to what was essentially a psychological exercise in letting go of the day’s worries. Some of the things of our past were actually way ahead of its times :)

 

 

Magical Cat

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black cat lady

Some people think that adopting little babies or furbabies is a favor to them. Because they need to be saved. Because it’s charity that will earn people brownie points with Sky Daddy. Like my friend, Ananya, who adopted a “rescue kitty”.

“I just wanted to do something charitable, you know? I really needed to feel good about myself”, she said.

She was going through a divorce, had been made redundant at her job and had just lost a chunk of her social circle due to this change of circumstance. She was feeling worthless and hadn’t laughed at anything for a very long time. In her heart, she believed she never would. She had even considered ending her life.

On kitty’s first night, she followed Ananya into the bathroom and stared at her while she sat down to pee. Then kitty tried to get into the panties around Ananya’s ankles and got horribly tangled and distressed. Ananya heard someone laughing — and a few seconds later found herself shaking, her belly jiggling softly, her head thrown back. She was feeling happy. Not amused or silly. But red-faced belly-shaking happy. Kitty wanted to be with her, even when she was peeing. Kitty needed her to free him from a panty tangle. Kitty was upset if she went out and seemed like he had missed her every moment she was gone.

She named kitty Magic. Her magical furry friend who made her feel needed and loved and followed her around like she was the most important person in the world. A magical “rescue cat”, who saved her life.

 

 

 

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Flowers in the Mud

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Floral Sweater

Trees outside my condo

  
Tried wet on wet for the first time – with water colors and the black pentel brushpen. Of course, I had some help from YouTube. And though the results are nice, I have come to the conclusion that this is not my style. It doesn’t come naturally to me and I don’t have half as much as I do drawing my childlike black-sharpie-with-pops-of-color illustrations. 

I am also thinking of discontinuing this blog. These days I don’t have much to say and I feel like my art is useless. I have come to the conclusion that it’s a waste of time and monies. 

Not sure of either of these conclusions, as yooz. 

A fearless nude – in ink

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 The nudes keep on happening and I swear it isn’t even me. It’s the brush pen. Something about it is making me do mad things like this one here, with the crazy eyes and curly hair, the cheeky grin and her fearless, shameless, square pose – no slouching or making herself small as we women do when we feel watched. 

She is unapologetic about the space she is taking up, because she believes she deserves to be admired. And I admire that.

Watercolor nude self portrait 

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I have recently acquired a pentel brush pen and a couple of Kuretake watercolor brush pens. So I did a quick nude self portrait :))

I am much too excited about these pentel pens to even act cool. #nerdalert

Amrapali Navaratna Earrings (aka, a massive hint)

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I have been a huge fan of Amrapali jewelry since 2006, when I first saw a silver lotus ring, with pink tourmaline buds growing out of a vine, at the gift shop of a hotel in Udaipur. It was love at first sight ( I have a huge thing for jewelry. Especially traditional Indian jewelry) and I have been in love with their art ever since.

While browsing their online shop ( I do this often), I found the most exquisite gold navaratna earrings with a pearl drop. Navaratna means “nine gems”. In India, these nine jewels represent the solar system. A ruby for the sun, pearl for the moon, red coral for Mars, emerald for the planet Mercury, yellow sapphire for Jupiter, a diamond for Venus, blue sapphire for Saturn, hessonite for the ascending moon and a cat’s eye for the descending moon. The ruby is at the center with the others surrounding it in a particular order. This is supposed to bring luck to the wearer. Traditionally, I suppose only royalty could afford it and maybe they needed a lot of luck, what with all the wars and stuff.

I need luck too, obvi. But also I need it because it’s so so pretty! The only trouble is, it’s frightfully expensive. So I figured having a drawing of it, tracing its curves and lines, will be kind of like having it :)

Abstract series 4: Oriental Dreams 2

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This will probably be the last post for this year. 2015 has been a mixed bag. Hope 2016 is amazing and happy for everyone! :)

Printed Silk Oriental Dreams 2

Happy New Year!

Abstract Watercolor Series 3: Exotic Garden

Printed Silk Exotic Garden Blog

Right now, in parts of the world, it’s winter and its snowy and it’s white and that’s beautiful. But you know what’s also crazy beautiful? This island of eternal summer :)

This abstract watercolour takes inspiration from tropical flowers, the kind that come in blinding colours, flamboyant and a little bit shameless. And as much as we Asians fetishize pastel pink peonies or soft lavender hydrangeas, when I need a cheer I always turn to marigolds and fuchsia orchids.

As in the other two of my watercolour abstract art series, this one too comes as an art print and products.  AAAnd if you use this link, you get 20% off on everything and the shipping is free to anywhere in the world. I personally want this printed in yards of silk and then wrap myself in it. What?! A girl can dream.

Abstract Watercolor Series 2: Oceanspray

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Printed Silk Ocean Colors

This is the second abstract art piece I made for my products. I think I like this one more than the first. I am calling it “Ocean Spray” but then, I kind of like “Lillies of the Valley” too. The purple/lavender splotches look  bit like flowers to me. Which do you think is better?

I am not sure if this could be called abstract art, or just colourways, or maybe, patterns. But I’m having SO much fun making them. Plus, as usual, they look really amazing on the home decor products. I mean, who wouldn’t want a shower curtain like this? Or leggings!

This stuff is on 20% discount and free worldwide shipping right now.

 

 

Abstract Watercolor Series 1: Rose Clouds

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Printed Silk-Rose Clouds

Its been a long time since I made something that could potentially earn me some dolla dolla billz, y’all.

So, I have been working on this abstract series which I call “printed silk”. This is the first one that I’ve published. I can see it as a giant print, framed in dull gold and hanging above a leather sofa. And I know, peddling and all that dirty business, but you guys, the blanket is SO luxurious looking and literally softer than a bunny rabbit. The leggings are very sexy too. Overall, I am sure I will make ten dollars from this. Exciting!

 

Moving House

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moving house

We have moved. And so, the last seven days have been spent in a perpetual state of shock by my husband (at the amount of things we have) and a perpetual state of exhaustion by me (due to the amount of things we have).

Don’t you just love how everything magically expands in volume the minute you decide to move?

Shubho Bijoya

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Shubho Bijoya_Bengali Couple

In October, Bengalis celebrate Durga, the goddess of Shakti, in a five day long festival. We worship her as our mother and as our daughter. She is our daughter, married, with four children, living in marital bliss with her husband, Shiva. Once a year, she leaves her marital home to come stay with her parents, that is us. This homecoming is what millions of Bengalis look forward to all year. We light up the streets and clean our homes, buy new clothes and prepare to welcome her.

On the fifth day, which is today this year, we say goodbye to her with tears in our eyes. We offer her all her favorite foods and give her new clothes and jewelry. We ask her to come again next year, because without her our home feels empty and joyless. After she leaves, we hug each other, give gifts to the little ones and touch the feet of our elders and ask for their blessing to commemorate Durga’s stay with us.

We wish everyone a “shubho bijoya”, so that the year ahead is full of light and all that is good. It is said that the Gods made Durga, the destroyer of all evil, after harnessing the strength and love of all the mothers in the world. On this day, we wish everyone the strength to have a kind heart in a cruel world, to stand up against all evil and always remember what’s important – family.

Shubho Bijoya and a very happy Dussehra to everyone!

PS: The illustration is of a Bengali couple in our traditional style of saree and dhoti-kurta.

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