An afternoon in Ashulia

Ashulia Lady

And now my “series” has a name! An afternoon in Ashulia. This makes it all of three pieces in my newly named series. 😀

The Ashulia Lady was accompanied by a gentleman and came down the road along with the garment factory workers. The two held themselves a little aloof from the others but stopped by to see what we were up to and to inquire as to why? No, we told them we were not journalists. I don’t know if our reply disappointed all the people who asked us. When Anil asked her permission she looked at her companion and seeing that he was okay with it she gave us the go ahead. In the short time it took Anil to focus his camera, I think she felt all the attention suddenly focussed on her and was overcome with shyness! I hope some of that comes through.

Oil on a 10″ X 12″ canvas board. Photo reference copyright Anil Advani used with permission.


Paan khaye

paan khaye...

I first noticed him standing across the road, arms akimbo, watching us take photographs. After a while he came over unasked and posed confidently for Anil. He had this glint in his eyes, a wide open smile showing teeth stained with betel nut juice and a look suggesting we were bananas taking photographs of people passing by. And when I saw the photographs I was thrilled as Anil had captured him beautifully on film.

This piece gets its name from an old hindi song called “Paan Khaye Saiyan Hamaro” since it was on my mind when I was painting. There’s been a long tradition of eating Paans ( betel nuts, anis and other mouth fresheners rolled into a betel nut leaf ) in South Asian culture. There are mentions of paan as early as the 3rd century in the Kamasutra. It is supposed to be a digestive and a mouth freshener but is an acquired taste. Those who indulge swear by it. My husband is a big fan. A few Paan related clicks for those who’re interested in finding out more.

Wikipedia entry on Paan
Muchhad Paan – sells paan online!!
Watch a paan being made.
Hear the Bollywood song “Paan Khaye Saiyan Hamaro

Oil on a 10″ X 12″ canvas board. Photo reference copyright Anil Advani used with permission.

Follow me

Folow meAfter Vasant Vihar and prior to starting Art College, I had a month. Decided to get some extra pointers in sculpting and I joined the course at Anandgram. My understanding was that I would not be able to do large sculptures but would be guided in the making of them through slab work etc. Turned out that they were only interested in teaching pottery.

Spent half of those 8 classes learning centering and the rest trying to do some slab work on my own.  The earlier sessions with Ebenezer really came in handy. Finally decided to try something on my own and this was it. I was inspired by a photograph that i had seen in a magazine of a man leading his wife out of the river in Benaras. This piece was based on my recollection of it. I had wanted to put the flakes in to represent water.  Maybe someday I’ll have another go at making this.

Took it with me when i started sculpture classes in college but by then it had become very fragile and it broke into several pieces. I managed to save the man and now i have him with me in biscuit form.

Update: July 2007 : It fell of a ledge and is now sitting in a shoebox in a many many pieces.  Havent had the heart to chuck it out.

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After spending a couple of months painting at Sangeet Shyamala, Ebenezer, our friendly and very able teacher, agreed to help me learn about sculpture. I made a few bas relief pieces which I shall put online soon.

He wanted me to take things slowly at first and not jump right into trying my hand at making a bust. He hadn’t wanted me to get disheartened. Ebenezer got me to try out a small piece first. This was it. I made a couple of drawings to express the ideas that I had in mind. This one was approved and I started building the base with coils of clay. It kept evolving and is different from my original drawings but not waaaaay different.

Ebenezer is a great teacher and he helped me turn this into something I had visualised.  He is also a  well known artist and several pieces of his work are a part of the collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi.

After keeping it damp for rework for many months I took it to college thinking that maybe I would work on it further and then bake it. And 2 years later, it is still on its way to a kiln to get to the biscuit stage.

This is about 10 ” in height, made of clay. It hasnt been fired. I’ll put up an update if it ever gets to that stage.

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Kishori Amonkar

Kishori Amonkar

This was one of my favourites for the longest time and Ramesh’s too, probably for different reasons. I’ve known that Kishori Amonkar is one of Ramesh’s favourite classical singers ever since I first met him. I found this photo ref of Kishori singing in the Maurya Hotel magazine. The minute I laid my eyes on it I knew I wanted to paint it. The photographer had captured an intensity that transported you to a place where you could almost hear her sing.

I was using acrylics at the time and this is a part of the series that was painted on the cardboard that our shirts came back with from the laundry with! I found it to have the right rigidity and texture. The size, roughly 11″ X 8″ was not too intimidating. I spent many pleasant afternoons painting. Churned out quite a few as I could complete them in one sitting usually. I knew then that I wanted to pursue this further.

Self Portrait

I was just checking out on the drag and drop option from Flickr that was mentioned in another wordpress blog and …………………. it works! Wunderbar! Now I need to stop surfing and start posting!

Gita had taken the photo reference used here and a few other lovely ones. I used the others for paintings. This one of just me I decided to try out with pencil.

A journey begins

amina 3

It all started thanks to my younger sister, Gala.

I had taken some drawing lessons in Feb and was stuck on wanting to paint but couldn’t/hadn’t taken the first step. And it was around then that I came to visit my sister in July 2004. She sort of nudged me to it by giving me a large

amina 2amina 1

canvas (4′ X 3′), her paint supplies, an easel and space in her studio. And that seemed to have been all the encouragement I needed. I painted over 2 days pausing only because i hoped the paint would dry the next day.

The first effort didn’t quite go the way I wanted it to and each subsequent effort seemed to steadily take it away from the original. In the end, I felt that the first effort had been the best! But that’s not as important as the the fact that I fell in love with the feel of painting and decided that this was something that i wanted to pursue.

And when a few months later I was stuck in a hotel, remembering this experience pushed me to locate an art supply shop and start painting in earnest. I chose acrylics having decided that oils took too long to dry and turpentine would be toxic in a closed room 😀