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

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


When Rain Plays Spoil sport

It’s ages since I did some painting outdoor. I carried my sketch book and colors to office so that I could go to Krishnamurti Foundation after work and sketch there. But rain played spoil sport. So I sketched my work table for the nth time.

Those are the Sight Readers that I am putting together for the K2 Language Program. I am reading those books on  South Indian history, I will soon be coordinating a project on the Chozhas.  And ‘The Tibetian Book of Living And Dying’ always finds its way to my desk , I keep dipping into the book ever too often.

Still Life With Tea

During my visit to the Munnar hills and to the tea plantations there, I bought large quanties of tea leaves. I have created a tea corner in my kitchen. My favourite is the white tea that I brew in the evening after my yoga and walk. 

At work, during the day, I drink rose or lemon tea. I have bought a new tea maker to use at office. I steep the leaves in hot water, close the pot and wait for a few minutes. I press the percolator down, and  pour my aromatic tea into that gorgeous blue mug.


Whenever I drive past the place where my parents lived I look out for landmarks and buildings from their time: the blue building, the rain tree at the street corner, the little shop that sold almost everything from grocery to vegetables to stationery items for my school. Many of these landmarks are disappearing, the locality that is mapped in my memory does not match what I see around.

Today a friend with whom I went to college called me on the phone. We had lost touch soon after we completed college and when I heard her voice on the phone after twenty years I felt connected with a part of me that was gathereing dust if not disappearing. We lived in the same locality and we recalled all that we did together – we went to college by the public transport, walked on the Mount Road to visit libraries and she added that I ran for her quickly before the exams, the novels prescribed for study. She recalled that I narrated the story of ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ during the brief walk from the bus stop to college, and that I went on to elaborate on the metaphors used in the novel.

My parents knew my friend very well. With their passing away I have no one to share my excitement of meeting this dear friend. After the conversation with my friend I remained in the mood to recollect events from the past and extended it to search for objects that I have with me from that time. 
I was shocked that, after hours of scouring through the house, other than my wedding saree there were only books from those years. I have given away the rest of the things during the years of accumulating newer possessions. And I was lamenting how Chennai and the neighbourhood I grew up in was heartlessly burying the past. Have I not been doing the same?

These two books are from my school and college days and there are many more that I still have, lugged through the cities and towns that I lived. The pages of the books have gone crumbly and have faded brown through the years. One is Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’  (The hard bound classic from the Modern Library Series was published by the Random House), and the other is the paperback edition of Irving Stone’s ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’.  


I have bought water brushes and I am using these to paint  the objects around home. I feel liberated that I need not have to carry a little bottle of water around whenever I am painting. And water brushes are not difficult to handle at all, the water that flows out of the barrel attached to the brush can be manoeuvred with a little practice. 

I hope to put these water brushes to good use during my holiday with my family at Manali. I have been shopping art materials for my trip: a brand new sketch book, pens, watercolour cakes and of course the water brushes. 

Drama In Green

To celebrate new year I buy lamps, these are from  Aesthetics made of hand-pressed paper and natural fiber. I got a little adventurous this year, wanted to bring drama to a corner of my house with the green lamp shades. Placed on a polished teak surface the lamps throw reflections in the depths of the wood.

I have drawn this picture on a hard corrugated brown paper board used for packing. I have used dry crayons and have done a lot of rubbing of the colors with my fingers.