Absolutely nothing beats the joy of watching water colours play on paper from the touch of a brush in my hand. I have and always will enjoy painting even though it sometimes takes me ages to get into the momentum of painting. ‘Scribbles and Splashes’ is a blog that I once began when I wanted to let go of the pent-up urge to splash with water colours and share pictures and the behind-the-scenes thoughts with my family sitting kilometres away from me. Over the years, it has been dormant for months (nearing a year and sometimes even more such as when motherhood beckoned!) and then been active in fits and starts.
Mid-2013 is when I feel like looking into the mirror and declaring this as “The Moment” that this becomes the year of the revival and flourish of ‘Scribbles and Splashes’, the blog and its growth into a self-sufficient near-full-time engagement for me.
I thrive in art. Period. If I could, that’s all that I would do all day long. It seems like a distant dream right now, but this is where I start playing around with a wish and seeing how it takes shape. I’m splashing, I’m scribbling about it and I’m becoming “an artist”. From exactly right now.
December 18, 2008
This was a piece I had made long back because of a forwarded mail that had the picture of the head of a peacock. It suddenly dawned on me that all this while, I had rarely paid attention to the expressiveeyes of the bird. I couldn't conjure up a picture of the expressions of a peacock in my mind. I guess it's true - tagsstay. I've only known of the plume of the peacock that marks the celebration of rain. Oh the cliche of an image, the harangue of a reference!
What would a picture of a peacock be that introduces the bird - sans the burden of the cliche? How would the peacock feel if I stripped it off the cliche? Coy with gratitude? Is there anything else that my mind associates the bird with? What would be the sum of my thoughts about that one emotions or expression that only a peacock can be the epitome of? Umm... let me think... Dignity - poised with dignity.
I'm so proud of this picture from my mind's antics... I could hug it everytimeI see it! But do I feel possessive about it? Let me get back to you after once I've gifted it to the friend who wants it worse than I do. See you with this same thread of thought in a month,then! :)
December 06, 2008
I've been wondering what would be an ideal gift for two of our very close newly married friends. I needed it to be in the groom's favourite colour - red, with a tough of the bride's tenderness (oh, she's sugar!) and sealed with our wish for a wonderful lifetime of togetherness ahead for them. This picture, from my mind, seemed to say it all.
I really wish they like it. I know it's not amazing, but I also know, I worked all night working at it. And for that reason alone, it's special to me!
Having said that, I do realise that I got a little carried away with my strokes as I moved the painting all around on my desk. This isn't a study in light and shadow that would have made this painting all mosre luminiscent. It's really a rot of glaring colours - just something I need to pep myself up for the upcoming weekend!!!
With this painting, I've learnt the importance of:
- A detailed under-drawing
- A ready reference picture to keep track of your brushstrokes
- The quality of paper in watercolour painting - it seems to me the single biggest factor in ensuring a good result!
November 18, 2008
At first it seemed intimidating - I almost sketched a different scenery! With baby-steps, I began, though - and after a long-drawn process of making the curls and frills of the lush, I began to dip my brush in paint. But you know what - I thoroughly enjoyed playing with the deepest tones of browns, blues, reds and greens for the shadows. I was sceptical about making the shadows of the delicate lush too mired and settled for an innuendo at denser foliage as its neighbour instead. This was so much fun, I wished I had sat down in the lawns and painted on site!
It had to be a deep, vibrant colour in the petals against its silhouette of a cousin. But the cousin had to be daintier, more artistic. The angular sunrays puppeted the play of light and shadow. Who do you think won :~D ?
November 14, 2008
Isn't gerbera such a happy flower? I've been smitten with the flower since I first saw it "in person" on my 17th birthday, thanks to my best friend in school. I was looking for a picture where the flower has shades of light and shadow and yet looks staright in the eye. That's when I came across one of Jacqueline Knott's early paintings. She, of course, has done a brilliant job of it, as all the rest of her pieces. But I owe her the inspiration to finally egt down to painting this one - my very first gerbera - thanks, Jacqueline!
November 04, 2008
I've always loved lotuses for their radiance. I'm lucky to now have them in my neighbourhood pond. But till I did, I spent a considerable time online looking t pictures of the beauty. There was a time, about 2 years ago, that I was smitten with the reams of colour that a single petal held in a lotus. Each petal seems to be of a different shade - a pink lotus, for example, would have fuscia, majenta, light pink, purple and mauves for different layers of the petals and each petal would have a colour spectrum for it's colour. I found it so fascinating, I daydreamt of spending the whole year painting lotuses of different colours.
Dreamy as this may have sounded that time, when I began staining the paper, it was nightmarish. I remember forgetting time and space while painting it. Some time earlier on into the painting, I lost track of the reference pictures and began looking for colour as my mind's whims. For a while, I was taken aback with what I saw as my labour of love for the reverend flower - it didn't look at all like what I had tought I had seen; it looked exactly like what I realised I'd understood of it's beauty.
October 16, 2008
With this painting, I've rediscovered my muse - Detail.
One of my most fulfillig and satisfying paintings thus far, it's taken me time to paint this one,layer by layer. It amkes for a rare case of patience too, as I looked at it from a distance and began adding depth and colour with each such scan. It's been inspired from an art-book that I'd bought a while ago - sometimes all it takes to sit at the art-table is a cloudy memory of an image, blending with the restlessness of imagination. I'd never painted an animal before this (I've preferred to make their silhouettes against sunsets and the like, thus escaping the vigour required to capture the fur, the whiskers and the expressions!).
I particularly loved the flush of the red leaves that bring verve to this otherwise sombre scene. The creases in the cat's face, the paws, the tiny ears - each of them was a separate study in colour, density and exaggeration! I am thrilled with the result :D
September 18, 2008
September 14, 2008
Especially when it's snow-capped ones with the rock underneath jutting out devilishly at the contours.
This painting was inspired by a similar work that I came across in an art-book and almost forced me start right away. The only condition - I couldn't look at it once I begin painting. It's been a revelatory to find that painting is most fun and fulfilling when I'm concentrating on one painting at a time.
September 13, 2008
There are some days that you don't snooze the alarm-clock. There are some days that you wake up with a tickle, smile on your lips, a song in your heart. I woke up humming Denver's "Country Roads" and withing an hour, took to the Valley's country roads, with my drawing book and art-supplies in tow!
I've walked these roads earlier - but never in sunny mornings, and never ever with a satchel of drawing supplies. As promised to myself, I'd stopped at the first instance that something caught my fancy - it was this tree. I've simply not been able to do it's curves the justice. It wasn't luxurious or majestic - simply elegant.
What was majestic, though sparse, was this scene, replete with the famous "Three Sisters" rocks (see top-left corner), extremely beautiful rock formations and the ephemeral play of sun-and-clouds and light-and-shade. What could be more inspiring! A set of 12 colour pencils initially made me want to reach out for the oil pastels box like the previous one, but the lure of the softness and the precision that pencils give was too much to trespass. I wanted to capture the shadows of the clouds on paper - the darker patch on the left hill is a vain attempt at that. It was a great learning experience in elimination of certain details for the sake of the larger picture.
The big black ants got used to me after I brushed them away 50 times. I must confess, the smiles of the passerby villagers was intriguing - thank God I still don't know what to make of those grins! As the first one, the final outcome does not do justice to the beauty and the serenity of the place. But you know what? I'm grinning from ear o ear for the sheer fact that I did my first "outdoors" today!
May 14, 2008
There's nothing more frustrating than yearning to paint and not knowing what to! Those of you who have scribbled and splashed more than once would know that acrid distaste when you end up browsing more than 100 pictures online for inspiration and are left feeling only more and more in the gust of an abysmal whirlpool of confusion and exasperation. This is the result of one such evening. I had spent 2 hours browsing and just as I was getting up to take a stess-buster snooze, a small little gift-tag lying near my laptop caught my eye. I wanted to make those roses - even though it meant straining the eye to see details. I must confess, I focussed hard to see how those roses tilted and shone. But I gave up after the first 60 seconds and decided to lightly sketch it and let my colour sticks run wild thereafter!Tell-Tale Tulips
This is an incomplete painting. I botched it up so quickly and lost patience with the flowing water so soon that it'll take some time for me to want to give it a second look, what to talk of a second sitting! But I promise, I'll work on it... the idea was to explore the whites in watercolour painting. I'll learn, I promise!
I've been wanting to make a village belle for a while. In fact, not so long ago, I downloaded lots of pictures in line with my grand plan of making a series of six paintings with village belles as muse. That never happened. And I know this doesn't come close. This is another piece that took shape (and colour), thanks to a dull day with the paintbox!
Nothing can diminish my love for florals - and the iris seems to be a particularly tantalising muse! Even though every attempt has had more flaws than flourish, it's left me with renewerd rigour and resolve to be able to capture the tenderness, the translucency and the ... of the petals. I've been mesmerised for long, but now I'm intrigued and inspired by the beauty.
I'm yet to learn the idea of a colour palette fixated on one base colour. Initially intended as a group of violets flowing out of a jug. I confess, I got carried away!!!
For those of you who've followed Milind Mullick's works, here's a confession - of all his paintings, this one seemed to be the first among equals on a rainy evening in Bangalore's State Library. I wanted to come back home and get to painting right away! A certain nervousness stifled me. So I began working, bit by bit, after a crazy 30 minute search for the painting online. Long live Google. And even longer, Milind!
Lilacs by the Wall
Bloom 'n' Blush
March 28, 2008
'Light and Lemony'
A quick perusal of my recent paintings took me by surprise - there wasn't a single still-life painting! How can that be! An impulse-propelled perusal through an art book got me hurriedly flipping pages and once I saw in one of the projects, the reference picture for MY painting, I began working on it immediately.
The stern light excites me in this painting - especially the resplendent curve on the top of the rolled-down lemon. While I ended up committing the same mistake of focussing more on the picture than the painting as I was painting the huddled lemons, I let myself free while painting the one off-the-gang. But what gave me a kick was making the texture of the wooden table in the backdrop - it wasn't great, but after a long while did I get to use my big flat brush for more than just wetting the space!
'Luxurious and Luscious'
I just wanted to paint a forest. But it had to be one of the last layers of forest. that layer of trees which knows that they are just one layer short of touching sunshine. I needed that hint of light shining through. And I needed to use every shade of green in my paintbox. So I did just that.
The painting didn't live up to it's name or the namesake mood when I splashed for 30 minutes. I wanted to paint. And badly so. But I closed my eyes and my mind drew a blank. It had nothing - no image, no fancy, no fantasy... not even patience. So I picked up a magazine full of pictures and pulled out a page randomly, hoping to paint whatever it shows up. Colourful inspiration from two pages of minute black and white text is hard to imagine. Impatiently, I flipped further - the deal being, I'll paint the first 'paintable' picture.
I was grumpier at the end of the 30 minutes.
Calling It A Day
This is the tiniest by size, the quickest by time and one of the most fun pieces that I've done in a long while. The blend of the sun and the sea has always been awe-inspiring. The last time I remember seriously painting one, I now recollect, is ironically, the largest painting that I've ever done. And believe it or not, it's signed " '98 "... exactly 10 years ago! (Yup - unlike some, these things keep me giggling for a while)
Oil, Old Pal
I was in Pune for a fortnight before the impending grand fortnight. The oil paints I once used, sat snugly with those same brushes, the familiarly soiled rug, ceramic tiles leftover from construction of our earlier home (built 15 years ago) and the docile and dear little friend, the turpentine bottle. The one hassle that keeps me away from oil painting is the care it requires while it dries for weeks and months. My first ever oil series was a set of 3 ceramic tiles for home and that was some lesson in quarantining such painting - I repainted one spot 4 times!!!
Let bygones be bygones. The sight of these old friends was too thrilling to overcome - and to be honest, I didn't try too hard either! The new home had a grand, shiny, patterned tile leftover from it's recently completed construction. All I now needed was an idea. Mum's chinese painting book came in handy - how I've always adored and admired that 30 years old book! I just loved the 5 hours I spent twirling around while curling up the petals of these imaginary flowers, though I know the tiles I painted 12 years ago are technically so much superior.
My little sister had fallen ill and urgently flown in from Delhi. Her quarantine and the crashing dreams of her jubilant exuberance at the impending wedding only broke my heart. She just needed some colour to pep her up. I'm not sure if this lived up to it, but she set the dance-floor afire 5 days later - and I'm still smirking!
Primary Palette. Period.
What comes to my mind when I think of the three primary colours - red, yellow, blue? I closed my eyes, and opened my eyes, gleaming with the surprisingly crystal-clear imagery of what I wanted to paint. Painted nearly free-hand, and faster than the mind could ask questions like what flowers are these, etc. etc, this accentuated the hunger-pangs to paint ruins. I guess all artists hit this point - there are simply SO many watercolour paintings with that single-minded fascination for melting browns and yellows and reds and greens and blacks and even blues! More on that later :)
January 30, 2008
It's a drawing that just had to be made - regardless of the medium. In line with the flavour of the day, I ended up putting 60 minutes of crayons in spite of my doubts about the final piece. I won't say I'm delighted - but I'm certainly happy that it's as colourful as it was meant to be, nearly as vivid as desired and that the 60 minutes have been as tiring as a good walk at the end of which you simply know you've shed half a kilo!
Light-tickled still waters maketh many a citiscape memorable, isn't it?
It's been years that I last made a drawing in oil pastel. While early years at school saw us excitedly rubbing colour sticks from a array of 48, it's been intriguing me if my box of 15 would suffice for a reasonable piece.
Thanks to my inquisitiveness about the outcome, I went on the overdrive, certain since today's sunrise that it had to fulfil two conditions...
- I didn't want to touch the pencil. It had to be ALL pastel - with no scope for errors (rather, huge scope for honing my cover-up skills!)
- It had to use ALL of the 15 sticks
While the first drawing had me focussing on what flowers I wanted my "Spring Walk" to have, keeping in mind a colour balance (on both sides of the pathway), the second one had me dealing, additionally,with light effects and distance.
What fun it's been! Right from dirtying my fingertips to peeling off the paper cover over the sticks; from letting colour be the determinant for object to letting contrast be the guidepost for colour... it's been quite a compensation for the burnt-out after-taste of my filter coffee decoction this morning :)
January 24, 2008
It was one of those lazy mornings when bed-in-breakfast suddenly climbs up your wish-list as and urgent priority. Was it sheer lethargy that brought about Impressionism - I heard myself woolgathering. A gentle, subtle heady feeling made me grin stupidly at the idea of painting today. I didn't want to work too much with pencilling in any details.
Aimlessly wandering across some seemingly cobwebbed web-pages suddenly made me sit up with a discovery. Poppies have long been associated with daydreams, it said, thanks to the properties of one of its derivatives - opium.
Hmm... From meandering moods to bewildering brush-strokes - here it is!
I've never cared much for the flower before this.
January 23, 2008
At least I loved it till I tried to put paint to perception. I confess I was nervous to put that up here initially - and each time I logged on, I'd ignore that one post deliberately, just as you don't want to bump into the teacher who punished you years ago in school. I've hoped no one would see it either - or better still, choose to not comment on it even if they did.
Thank God they did. It didn't go unnoticed and I dared not feel escaped. My day began with a friend calling in commenting on everything else and subtly mentioning his disappointment at that particular one. The tree seems aflame; the green grass underneath looks unnatural for the season and the streaks of light look too fake!
That's it, I told myself - I need to give it another shot. I just had to do it - and do it today - at the earliest. Not that I had any better confidence in my abilities, but I simply couldn't log on to the blog another time without having an answer to my own guilty mind which taunted each time with "What about that one?" Here's what I did over the last two hours. I thought I worked at it and looked at my reference picture (and the flaws in the previous painting) carefully.
It isn't great. But I'll get better. I promise!
January 16, 2008
There's something elegant about finding a grove of trees in the middle of nearly dried grasslands when you drive on the Grand Trunk Road while going to Chandigarh from Delhi. The stretch is really a visual delight, with patches of crops varying from blooming sunflowers to paddy, eucalyptus trees to nearly-barren grasses, and refreshing greenery to small ponds that dazzle reflecting the noon rays.
We didn't have a camera and we would drive too fast for me take down a rough sketch. But for a while now, each summer vacation would have this particular scene further embossed in my mind. I could have painted it much earlier - but like most to-do's that aren't tagged with a specific personal deadline, it never happened...
... until I happened to come across a water colour demonstration video on YouTube. If I could tell you how elated it had me instantly, how I whizzed across the room pulling out my paints and painting-book, and how I was glued for the next 2 hours, rewinding and playing various bits of the video for a closer look...I'd be a great writer!
And once I was done, I was jumping up and down. Though it was much different from what the demonsration intended, it looked so much like the one in my mind.
It was also a moment of self-discovery...I miss those annual drives SO much more than the vacations themselves...and SO much more than I thought I did!