An Indian Adventure

This time last year I was on a big blue train with a Dutch business man, two Australian nurses, a grinning Muslim tour guide, some cockroaches, a cup of chai and lots of curious, staring natives. This time last year I was in India.

A year later, there are many memories and experiences I know I’ll cherish. A  few of the things that stand out most are:

The food – My trip explored Southern India, which is renowned for its delicious dishes. Highlights included freshly baked chapati bread, yellow daal, egg curry (for breakfast!), home-made Keralan fish curry and the yummiest of all snacks – masala dosa.

The company – My Intrepid tour group was very small, consisting of three older travelling companions in ther fifties and a very excitable and enthusiastic local guide named Thoufeeq. I couldn’t have been in safer hands or better company – most people assumed we were some sort of dysfunctional family and as the ‘daughter’ I wasn’t bothered much at all.

The surroundings – crowded, dirty, hot cities like Chennai and Madurai littered with skinny cows but with their share of breathe-taking temples. Dramatic coastlines and sunset ocean views in Varkala and Goa. Supreme palaces in Mysore. Winding backwaters in Kerala. Luscious tropical landscapes in mystical Hampi… The variation was astounding.

The people – smiling, staring, curious and excitable. Always willing to help or make a sale, or both. (I never knew how good children could be at persuading me to part with my money before.) And I learnt all about the ambiguous head waggling gesture, which can mean yes, no, maybe or ‘whatever’ depending on the mood of the waggler.

The shopping – flower markets, incense making, fruit selling, ethnic bangles, cushion covers, pashminas, carved jewellry boxes, multi-coloured powders…. I could have spent days ambling round Indian markets. If only my backpack had been a little bigger.

Although a massive culture shock in some ways, this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I hope these sketches reveal something of the sights and sensations I experienced.

November 27, 2011. Tags: , , , . Food, India, Me, my artwork, travel, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

I’m back…

After an absence of over a year, I’ve decided to make a reappearance in the bloggersphere. To be honest, I’m not quite sure why I stopped posting in the first place. Looking back, this blog is a really effective way of catching some of the amazing experiences and beautiful things in my life, which deserve to be remembered. I’ve also been thinking about how I used to enjoy writing my blog and when something is enjoyable there’s no point in quitting mid-flow.

So you can expect to see lots more  over the coming weeks, months, and maybe even years. The core focus will continue to be on the things that inspire me, whether that be personal experiences, art exhibitions, travels, London life, films, the spiritual realm or anything else that catches my attention. I’ll also be making an effort to post more of my own art on the site. So take a look and let me know what you think. I love hearing everyone else’s views and their own experiences of all things inspirtaional too!

November 12, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . India, Me, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

What’s in a Sketch?

I am ashamed to say I fall into the category of those who can’t really appreciate a lot of old art – frescos and religious paintings have never really been my bag. Old drawings, however, are another matter all together. The exhibition of Italian Renaissance Drawings at the British Museum is really something special. The blurb explains that drawing only became popular in the 1400s when paper started to be more widely available. Sketching was seen principally as a way for artists to hone their skills and create studies for larger scale paintings. But, as the exhibition shows, drawings are often more playful, delicate and charismatic than paintings of the same time. Seeing every tiny mark, you get a much better understanding of the skill and study that has gone into them, even the mistakes and corrections are interesting.

For this reason, I think it is easy to feel a stronger connection with them and to really understand how remarkable it is that these delicate, incredibly skillful drawings are staring you right in the face. In 1400, a bloke called Giovannino de’Grassi sat down to draw a cheetah, for instance, and here I am looking at it now. Mind-boggling:

And it isn’t just really old sketches that get me excited – any work from any era where you can see the skill and technique used to create it will usually interest me more than a ‘finished’ perfect painting. For instance, I prefer Degas’ ballerina sketches to his paintings:

Egon Schiele’s sketches, disturbing as they can be, are also very appealing to me:

The wartime artist John Piper’s work often had a sketchlike quality to it that I absolutely love:

So there we have it. A small insight into a beautiful exhibition and a few examples of other sketches I love. Now all I have to do is start doing more of my own sketches. And who knows, maybe someone in the year 3000 will marvel at one of my own doodles…

June 20, 2010. Tags: , , . art, galleries, London, Uncategorized. 1 comment.

A Weekend in Wales

Montgomery Castle

Rhaedr Waterfall

Lake Vyrnwy

A singing walk

Powys Castle

Some Welsh Cheese and Lebanese Wine

BBC Modern Masters - Picasso

If you are wondering what you’ve just been reading and why, then please consult Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief – in part of this book one of the characters (a fist-fighting Jew) creates his own picture book, which is featured in the text – made of simple sketches, it playfully interrupts the text with childlike pictures that are all the more enjoyable for their technical lack of ability. So I thought I’d have a go.

For a more accurate representation of what I saw in Wales and how beautiful it was there are some photos below.

May 31, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . architecture, art, books, Me, my artwork, travel, Uncategorized. 4 comments.