Hi there!

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.

January 30, 2008

Ribboned Waters

In response to the innuendos of the sky to call it a day, the city flickers for "just a little longer". While the day sees the grey of citiscape, it is the dusk that glimmers to an oft-colourful kaleidoscope of various hues.

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?

Pastel Scribbles

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...

  1. 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!)
  2. 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

Swaying Daydreams

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

Autumn Revisited

There's something revolting about the general melancholic connotation with Autumn. The sundance of summer's gone and the chills of winters await round the corner - but could the seasons share a better cordiality than one spreading a splendourously warm welcome that the town's awash with? The yellows, oranges and red of autumn leaves mesmerise me with their nearly fiery vibrance. The barren tree branches, having let go of these vivid companions finally show their hereby hidden artistry of shape and dimension. I just love it!

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!

Happy New Year!

A much belated post, this painting was made in the spirit of the sun's first rays on January 01, 2008 streaking through the autumned memories of the year gone by.

I'm not sure it was the play of wet-in-wet or the fun that spattering always is that made this such fun to paint... Though it was a little disappointing to see the final result much duller than attempted, I've learnt from my errors, I promise!

Happy New Year (It still feels new!)!

Forgotten Pots

There's something about painting ruins. Ageing signs on the skin of walls has been quite rivetting for a while now. To the point that it's so far seemed intimidating :(

So when I came across this particular picture, it seemed like an opportunity to make a small start. I particularly liked the sense of conversation that these empty flower pots seem to be having - almost in envy of the wild and green bush nearby!

A study of using oil pastels as resists... a handy lesson for making the yellow hibiscus. The final result wasn't close to what would have my collars high up, but this was fun, nevertheless. Especially painting a slight shadow of the protusion on the window panes!

Blue and Orange

At first this composition did not excite me enough to take up the paintbrush. But flipping through the various pages, it was a picture hard to miss - purely because of the contrast of the orange flowers against the blue vase

It's my first water colour gauche study, plus there was the opportunity to understand light and shadow in a relatively simple composition to begin with.

One questions, though... what flowers ARE these?!

January 15, 2008

The Iris Virus

No, no, no - I don't want to offend the Irises of the world! It's their addictive beauty that caught my fancy since I saw the first ever. I once tried to paint a few on a really large sheet of paper and (Heavens forgive me!) even framed it as a gift. I couldn't look at a picture of an iris for a while thereafter - every time I did, I felt as if faced with rightful indignance.

However, it's hard to resist the ladylike soft charms of an Iris in full bloom. I downloaded pictures and painting of irises by the dozen and finally chose two from this treasure-chest for a painting that I never new I'd imagined. It had to be two queens dancing asplendour and dressed in colours that contrasted each other, but did not desire to overshadow.

The process was a lesson with many sub-chapters on water colour painting. To count on my fingertips, I learnt...

  • How much water to use while blending.
  • How to blend colour with the white of the paper.
  • How colours seem different when they dry up and therefore what degree of dilution is required for a certain desired tonal variation.

And how easy it is to skip a bath when you're drenching paper in colour!

Staring Wide-Eyed

I don't remember how long it was that I downloaded the reference photograph for this painting. Just as I don't remember how long it has been that I felt as satisfied as I did upon completing it!

There's something about flowers that's particularly atractive. Is it the tenderness of the petals? Is it the ethereal blend of various colours within a single flower? Is it the intricacy that's hidden within it's innermost recesses? Is it the alluring elegance shared by the petals - almost like the poise of young ladies who wouldn't spill the beans on a secret?

It's all of those, I guess. Most significantly, it is the seeming-fragility of the sheen of water colours and the sheerness of flowers that makes them seem to apt for each other - and that's what re-energises the adrenaline rush when I eye a close-up picture of a flower.

This particular painting has been special. For a change, I wasn't teaching myself another lesson in water-colour but applying some of the earlier learnings. For a change, I let myself decide which elements of the reference picture to eliminate and which ones to magnify. For a change, I let myself sit and study the reference - and ponder over the colours, the media options and the sequence of painting each element.

I'm happy.

January 13, 2008

The Autumn Tree

I started this painting before the turn of the last page of the calendar. It started as an experiment, metamorphosed into a fun-filled colour-splash session and ended up being a discovery. Does that make it worthy of being put up as the first painting of the year? Maybe, maybe not. To make this periodic decision less subjective, let's just go by chronology :)

Salt grants water colours a certain granular texture - an interesting way of depicting foliage. The amateur in me was excited to learn that - my imagination failed me in conjuring up an intricately explicit picture of the plausible final product. I was curious - and itching to experiment. Enthusiastically I oozed out various colours on the palette and one by one, began to paint wet-in-wet. Honestly, a freehand to a splash of multi-colour wet-in-wet is all that's needed to bring out the kindergarten kid in you. Forget about the end product or the composition of a painting - I'd say, just give it a shot! It's the same feeling that a gull experiences when it swooshes over an endless sea.

And oh! I discovered a lot of things...

It's nice to have a reference picture, but chances are, the gap between the finished painting and the picture can seem intimidating enough to want to take up reading as your favourite hobby for the next few days. A demonstation from art-books is even better. But since most of my paintings begin with a big brouhaha in my own head, by the time I'm done with following Step 3 of 10, the brouhaha has been brewed into quite a bacchanalia.

Nothing beats the kick that a sheer flight of imagination can give. I guess my next painting would be the result of close observation of some snaps that my new shutter-bug has recently feasted on. However, I want to give myself 10 minutes of such staring-time and all the time in the world to play around with the flights of fantasy that emanate thereafter. That's the biggest discovery.

And yes, too much salt dries up the water AND gobbles up the paint!

January 08, 2008


I've been writing notes to myself since January 1995 - that's when 'that old blank diary' metamorphosed to become 'my dear diary'. Retrospective browsing through these yellowed pages has often granted me an introspectively distant view of the various nadirs and the zeniths, apices and acmes, apogees and perigees (and the interwoven ebbs and flows). While writing has in itself been cathartic, enjoyable, engrossing, relaxing, relieving and exciting at various times, it's the joy of re-reading these notes and thus reliving some of those emotions that makes me break into a warm smile each time.

I've never felt the need to blog, therefore. I write to myself as and when I want to talk to myself - sometimes multiple times in a day, sometimes only once a fortnight. So why am I here? Simply put... While my diary continues to be my sounding-board and confiding pillow, this blog will be my scribble-pad and squirt-canvas.