Sunday, December 09, 2012


There is a multi petaled Camellia plant in the back yard. Everyday I see a new tiny pink head appearing among the dark green leaves. The first flower of the season was offered to 'Pillaiyar' (Ganesh). 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


"I only work when I feel the need to express something.
I may not be sure of exactly what it is,
but I know that something is cooking and when I am on the right track.
The need is very strong.
To express your emotions, you have to be very loose and receptive.
The unconscious will come to you, if you have that gift that artists have.
I only know if I'm inspired by the results."

"Art is a guarantee of sanity. That is the most important thing I have
Louise Bourgeois (1911 - 2010)

One of the basic of all art skills is drawing as seen from the prehistoric times until now. It is the most popular art form to this date. A drawing can provide an insightful glimpse into the drawer's experience/inner world etc. It can evoke emotions, feelings, memories. It can also cast light on impulses such as dreams, death, love, violence etc. As humans we all have a need to create wholeness, and creative process is one way to achieve that. So for visual artists drawing appears to be the core of that process.

Hunters and elephants, Cederberg, South Africa (image - wikipedia)
Santa Cruz province, Argentina (image - wikipedia)
Lascaux cave drawing (image - wikipedia)

When I was in high school my attempts to draw were discouraged. But that didn't stop me from drawing once in  a while with water color and on rough paper. You put the paint on the paper and start playing with it - something emerges and you continue to play. I hadn't heard of all the artists who create beautiful drawings in different parts of the world. I didn't know drawing is as important as painting. No one told me about sketchbooks. When I migrated to the US one of the things I could not believe and liked immediately was the art supply store. It was huge, with many aisles and products for creating. It was overwhelming for me. So I purchased my first drawing set. I tried to copy a figure drawn by an artist and it was very frustrating. Another failure.
I enrolled in art classes. I took three classes with the same instructor. Inspired by her teachings, I decided to take a drawing class with her. We did all sorts of exercises and the part I hated was still life drawing using the messy charcoal in all its forms. We drew pop corn on huge sheet of paper, figures and so on. Thus began the journey. As I delved deeper into it, I discovered that drawing is one of the things I can actually do. It is a powerful tool to express and calm the inner self.
Images from an altered book that I did for a class.

I do a little bit of warm ups on my sketch book. I come to the white surface of paper with no preconceived ideas. Guided by intuition and the unconscious I begin to make marks. Lines, shapes and organic forms begin to appear. Charcoal, ink, gouache,  Staedtler and Caran d'Ache pencils, crayons, pastels, oil stick, tea, and gesso are some of the mediums I utilize. It is needless to say that there are numerous mediums to draw with. Drawing is one of the passionate activities that I am obsessed with. Below are some samples of my drawings.

Ink and gouache on paper 
Ink and gouache on paper 
Charcoal on paper 
Twisted paper on brown paper 
Ink on fabric
Body print on fabric 
Krishna, gouache on paper 
A page from a sketchbook
Another sketchbook page

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


A delicious treat from the Friday farmers' market

A pom tree with species (google image)

Colorful pomegranates - Uzbek embroidery
And this suzani is beautiful. There were two varieties of pomegranate trees in the front and back yard of my ancestral home. My father would tie brown paper or small plastic bags around the fruit when they begin to appear, so that the squirrels wouldn't eat them. But I had no patience for them to ripe. So after I came home from school or during a lazy week-end when the elders took their nap I would lift the bags one after the other, peep inside and take a bite to see the red juicy beads. I was lucky some times and at times the tree would disappoint me. After some time the trees didn't give good fruit but immature ones with black patches. We could not figure out the disease. Then came the war that made us to abandon the trees with everything else. When I saw pomegranates at the farmers' markets for the first time - I was so delighted - I can get something that reminds me of home.  

Dream art show

Dream art show organized by International Association for Dreams in Berkeley, in August 2012.

Monday, December 03, 2012


Practicing Eka Pada Rajakapotasana in the soft afternoon light
Walnuts gathered from Guerneville for a dye project
Farmers' market bunch
Another reminder of home
Birthday gift
Jacob sheep skin from the Wool and Fiber symposium
Local wool from the Fiber symposium
Pongal kolam
People complain about orchids not blooming - mine does
Coreopsis before going into the dye pot
Local wool
Savvarisi vadakam (dried tapioca delicacy)  - சவ்வரிசி வடகம் 
Quilted scarf
Green goodness
Manjal - மஞ்சள் (turmeric dyed cotton)