from Bir …



I love living in Madras, and the reason is the sea and the long beaches. In any place that is not along the sea coast I feel landlocked and as if  suffocated. When the sea has such an influence over me, it is only befitting that I paint it. I have begun a series of 100 seascapes.

Though I have not set any time to this undertaking, the last few weeks I have been diligently visiting the beaches along the East Coast and painting the sea at sunrise and sunset. I have tried capturing light and mood of the water and sky in water, acrylic  and pastel colours.

I worked on one of the paintings from a  photograph I took of the sea. A particular morning the light was magical, I wanted to express the drama with acrylic colours on canvas.

Dry pastel sticks are useful to work, especially when you want to rub and blend colours. But carrying the painting home without fixing it is difficult. I wanted to check if water soluble pastels will be of use for quick sketches and for filling a large painting area. I bought a box of water soluble oil pastels and tried a seascape one pleasant evening, at the time when the sky was turning purple and peach.I could not complete the painting, it was taking more time with water soluble pastels than I expected. I had to take a photo, go home and complete the painting. The style I adopt with this medium is totally different than with dry pastel sticks. I work layer by layer, much like with acrylic.

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Pastel sticks on paper

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Water colour on Canson paper

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Water colour on Canson paper

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Water colour on Canson paper

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Water soluble oil pastel on Canson paper

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Acrylic on canvas


Kaveri Poompatinam was an important port city during the Sangam Age in the 4th century BCE . It was the capital of the Chozhas. The flourishing capital city was also known as Puhar, aaru puhum edam, the place where the river enters the sea. River Kaveri drains into  Bay of Bengal here.

The city is immortalized by the great literary work ‘Silapadikaram’ written by the Chozha poet prince Illango Adigal. It was in the golden sands along the river that Madhavi the dancer mesmerised the rich merchant Kovalan with her poetry and music.

‘Silapadikaram’ describes the city in great detail – the two regions Maruvoor pakkam and Pattina pakkam divided by sprawling gardens, the king’s palace built of wood, the temple taller than the palace, the viharas built by rich merchants for Buddhist monks, terraced mansions where the nobles lived, busy market places called angadis (there were the day and night markets called naalangadi and allangadi), the dockyard and the port where large ships from Roman lands visited carrying precious stones like carnelian and lapis lazuli.

Below is an artist’s recreation of the port city. Nothing of this has survived because it is believed that the ancient city was destroyed by giant waves.

You can read more about Puhar here.


I visit Puhar very often, it takes six hours by road from Chennai. Time cannot take away the magic of this place, the city is deeply entrenched in the collective subconscious of the Tamil people. There are too many ghosts here that beckon me. Here are a few paintings from my previous visit to Puhar.

puhar 1

puhar 2

puhar 3

Every Day In May – 1

I am planning to sketch my way through May, the way I poemed my way through April. I propose to look at objects as play of light and darkness. I plan to sketch with pencils and charcoal, paint in monochrome with pastel and water colours. There is a prompt for each day, that could be interpreted and represented in any manner, in any style that one wants. What is important is the discipline, and the urge to explore.

acrylic tube


fig tree


Kandaghat Thereabouts

I spent a week in summer, about six months ago, in Kandaghat. Based there, I visited Shimla, Mashobra, Tattapani and Narkanda. It was a relaxed holiday, I painted through the trip sitting at these sites for several hours while my family and my brother’s family trekked and explored around.

It is important in art journalling to write the impressions soon after a trip. This blog comes six months after I made the trip, experiences fresh and significant at that time, have receded from memory. All that I have to share are these paintings. 

kandaghat 1





River Sutlej in Tattapani



nectarines and cherries

Nectarines and Cherries from Shimla