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


Paddy field

My husband and I drove along NH 45 to Maturantakam. There is a large lake alongside the highway. I wanted to halt there and paint. From the highway on the bund of the lake we could not pull up our car. There is heavy traffic on the highway through the day, a stationary vehicle is a distraction for the motorists. So we drove into a quieter road that led to a bridge. We pulled up on the bridge, we got a beautiful view of the paddy field and a hillock beyond. It was a sunny afternoon and windy too. I had a difficult time keeping my sketch book from flying away. So I finished two paintings very quickly. Here are the paintings, and my husband holding them against the paddy field. 

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At work today I proofread the language workbook for fourth graders. I also did this alongside.

the crisscross telephone lines from the window

pins and clips and such stuff

the stapler

the bangle

a dry flower and seed from the potpourri on my table

a mug of green tea

When I hand over the proof to the printer he will wonder what to do with these sketches. Should they be a part of Grade 4 book?

Weekend Menu

The weekend was fruitful. I laboured through a painting all through Saturday and most part of Sunday. I took time off to cook for the family and grab some quick meal with paint smeared fingers. On Sunday morning  I set my breakfast on the table and reached for the newspaper.

There on my table was a perfect subject for  study. Instead of having my breakfast, I drew it first, worked quickly with dry pastels to get the light in place. After I finished my breakfast I tweaked it. So I took a break from my acrylic painting ‘Rooted’ to complete this still life. I am mighty pleased that I did not waste a single minute this week end. 

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.