🔙Back from a short break 💤

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better – Albert EinsteinOne of my all time favorite quotes! 

Sometimes I just need to take a break from things to quiet the mind and focus 🔬on other stuff. So every so often I take a short break (at times it extends into longer than expected) – a break from social media 📵. Turn off all external noise and focus on all things not social media! This frees up quite a bit of time⏱. (Ever wonder how much ⏳ we spend on social media 😜!

During these times I “do more things that make me forget to check my 📞📲⌚️”

I take that extra time to read 👓(read stuff not on social media) 📚, or spend time looking, 👀really looking🔎, and sketching 🎨in nature 🌿🌻🍀🍄🐞🐝🦋🐠, or take time to converse with family and friends🗣👥(not just txt) 🙇🏻‍♀️

Over the last four days I did just that. I finished two good books 📚 👍. I did lots of sketches 🖍🖍and studies en plein air 🏕⛰and quite a bit of gardening 🍃🎋🌾- in the cooler🆒 hours⌛️ of the day of course ! 

I sketch and paint everyday regardless of whether I post or not. A lot of these sketches never see the light of day 🌕 beyond my easel or sketch book. No matter, coz it’s the discipline that counts, right! 

If you haven’t guessed it already today is #WorldEmojiDay. I rarely use emojis! So it’s quite a comeback from a break on social media, wouldn’t you say!

Happy World Emoji Day or 😊🌎🌐🌕📆 

Here’s my favorite brushstroke done @hirshhorn of Roy Lichtenstein’s brushstroke!

Tomorrow I’ll post the stuff I’ve been working on over my break! 🚙 (interesting, that’s the emoji that came up for break- car brake! Hmmm) 

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Tropical Patterns 

Day 8/31 – #WorldWatercolorMonth

Today’s post is about Patterns. At the US Botanic Gardens the tropical plants all around were luscious and very green. Only a few had blooms on them, but that didn’t really matter because the leaves were large, some of them even a 2-3 feet long and a foot wide and heavily patterned. Meandering through the pathways you didn’t really distinguish each leaf individually because the stripes and the colors just seemed to merge and flow into one another forming intricate patterns of yellows and greens in all shades. This is just one pattern that stood out and it happened to have a calyx adding an extra pop of color. 

Chagall – a small panel of America Windows 

Day 6/31 #WorldWatercolorMonth 

Paying homage to Marc Chagall – who was born on this day (well yesterday actually, but my site was acting up and it didn’t get posted on time for some reason!!!) 

The brilliant stained glass windows – America Windows or the Chagall Windows, as they are popularly know are a signature feature of The Art Institute of Chicago. They were forever made famous by their appearance in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

For me the blue of these windows is just off the charts! 

I used one panel for this sketch and used YInMnBlue as well as other pigments made at Oregon State at Mad Subramanian labs. 

Fireworks on the National Mall 

Day 5/31 – #WorldWatecolorMonth

DC put on a spectacular show at the National Mall last night. Fear of thunderstorms had the fate of the fireworks in doubt, but we lucked out and the storm and rain held out long enough for the eager crowds to get what they came for and then some! I managed to capture a few splashes of watercolor in my sketchbook in semi darkness. I did several of these and then I just had to put down my brush and simply watch, and oooh and aaah with the rest of the crowd! This one came out better than the rest so I refined it a bit. 

I might just post the other splashes, if I feel bold enough…

Circus Tent – Red,White and #YInMnBlue !

Day4/31 – #WorldWstercolorMonth

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the theme is Circus Arts. The Festival brings the rich history, mystique and diversity of American circus arts to life on the National Mall. There were circus performances, behind the scenes, emerging artists and contemporary visionaries, and coaches, costume designers, makeup artists, musicians, prop and tent designers, riggers, poster artists, wagon builders, and many others whose collective creative work brings the circus to life. 

While the crowds lined up all the way around the tent I sat outside the big tent and sketched the Red, White and Blue under a somewhat ominous sky! They were calling for thunderstorms tonight. 

Happy 4th!

Utamaro’s Okubi-e

Day2/31 #WorldWatercolorMonth 

Sackler gallery’s has a new exhibit ‘Inventing Utamaro’ displaying the famous triptych depicting the theme of “snow, moon and Flowers” of Kitagawa Utamaro. Along side this are also some fabulous woodblock prints of this legendary Japanese artist. I was really drawn to his woodblock prints. I managed to do a quick pen and ink sketch inside of a few and then used the sketches as reference to do this watercolor sitting just outside looking in. These prints now called okubi-e or large head pictures became part of his signature style. This one was titled ‘Wakana and Wakanoura of the Wakanaya’. 

I’ll be back again tomorrow for the second half of the painting. 

View from my Window 

After the snow…

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Snow on the Meadows

I love to go for long walks whenever I can and I always bring my sketchbook along for that quick capture of a scene or a mood that strikes without warning. Walking in the meadows at Longwood Gardens after a snowfall takes on a whole new meaning. The blue and purple hues of the distant wintry horizon, the soft fluffs of snow clinging to the seed heads, the dry grass that once stood upright now bent over weighed down by the icy snow clumps, the melting snow frozen in dripping icicles on the twigs and shrubs that catch the sunlight and scatter it into flashes of rainbow colors, the crunch of the frozen snow beneath you feet, and that smell of the frigid air that surrounds you, all make for an atmospheric experience that words fail to describe in full. Here’s my pictorial description in purples…

and here’s another one in moody blues…

Playing with Purples 

Everywhere you look out side, everything is covered in white. Three days of snow and ice storms, three days of painting snowy wintery scenes, and I needed color in my life! My  blue orchids are blooming indoors, and on this cold winter day they bring such brightness and color to the indoors. At present these orchid and the winter jasmine outside my window are all that’s blooming around here. So I’ve been playing around with purples and blues. Here are some different version of blue orchids and my play with purples…

And then without the oranges…

And now that I’ve got my color fix and used up a lot of my purples, I can go back to painting snow again! I’ll post my winter scenes in my next post.

Happy Year of the Fire Rooster!

Happy New Year to you all. Based on the Chinese calendar, 2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster. “The Chinese people say that this year people will be more polite and less stubborn, but they will have the tendency to complicate things.” Hmmmm, I wonder if this was written with anyone particular in mind!

“As they see it, the year 2017 is a year dominated by the orientation towards progress, honor and maximum integrity, people learning to temper their ardor.” Again, I’m wondering if would apply to the leaders of certain countries I have in mind…just saying!

Nevertheless, not to get too political here, I thought I’d honor the rooster today, the first day of 2017. Now, I love painting birds, but for reasons unclear to me, I’ve never really had an interest in roosters. I’ve seen them on farms and often enough while at a pumpkin or fall festival I’ve had a chance to see some quite gorgeous plumage on these birds, and yet I’ve never really sketched one. So today I got started on one, and it turned out alright…for a first try!

I did give it a second try, aiming for more texture…

Having stuck with the same color scheme the second time, although not intentional, I thought I’d go a bit quieter for the third try.