Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kalaghoda- A festival of art, music, dance, and everything else inbetween.2

This is a continuation of my post regarding Kalaghoda and covers two of my favorite things to do at the festival! Handicrafts and art installations! The festival had its finale on the 13th of February.
Madhubani painting stall
I love to go shopping or window shopping if you will at all the tempting handicraft stalls. Here all the folk artists and artisans working in the traditional craft styles display their wares, everything from traditional folk paintings to silver jewelry to hand dyed organic cotton fabrics, bags and purses to sculptures . Each year I make it a point to carry a full wallet, and buy at least some of my favorite things. Till date a list of my shopping includes A Tanjore painting, Kolhapuri chappals. vegetable dyed organic cotton, silver earrings, brass casted animals and I could go one for quite a bit!!

©Meghna Loke " I'll poke you" installation
But this year, apart from the handicraft stalls what caught my eye was the amazing array of art installations, while there are usually about 10 or 15 this year it seemed liked there were twice the number, and not just the quantity but the amazing ideas behind the art installations. There were of course the artist versions of the 'Kalaghoda' created in as many different media from photographs two found objects to fibre glass, depending upon the artist's vision. There were two art installations that truly caught my interest and both were interactive in nature and actually depended upon the intereaction of the audience for their completion. One was done by an artist who had suffered from back pain for a better part of a decade and had decided to use this pain as the basis of her work, The artist Meghna Loke had placed pins in a small vessel in front of the installation and encouraged the viewer to become a participant in her work and her pain by poking what was actually body cast of the artist done in sticky tape lying upon a series of MRI scans of her back taken over a period of nine years. By the process of poking her body, the viewer was encouraged to let out hidden thoughts, words and literally 'poke one' so as to prove their point. The artist made a thought provoking point in that she used tape as her medium so as to create a wrapped and stifling mummified feeling that intense pain can create, also the translucency of the tape reminds us that pain is in fact invisible thus doubted and questioned.
© Aditi Dikshit and Divya Aggarwal  'Wahts yours is mine'
The second installation that caught my attention was 'Whats yours is mine' by Aditi Dikshit and Divya Aggarwal. These two artists had created a tree with all kinds of objects hanging from it. The artists were very interested in studying the human psyche of being happy when getting something for free, the installation revolved around the idea of encouraging the viewer to take an object from the tree(without any charges) with the condition that they must leave behind something of their own.! To me it also symbolized something that we do on a daily basis, sharing with complete strangers, when we leave information on the world wide web we have no clue who is going to use it or benefit from it , while we do the same when we turn to the internet for resources left there by complete strangers! What do both of these installations say to you, do they come across exactly as the artist meant it or do they speak differently to you? After all is not art also about what questions or emotions it raises in you apart from what the artist has expressed? The 'Whats yours is mine' tree spoke to me, do these or any other art works speak to you? would love to hear about such experiences.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tooly Tales!!

My tool peg board
I wanted to share a quick look at my tool peg board which is now quickly filling up, when I had first set it up, a friend had wondered about all the extra space I was not using, since all my tools are off to the left, well now it seems I might be running out of space!!
Since I am always buying newer tools, I am going to have to think up of alternatives for storage. Having the right tools is important but storing them so that they are easily available is also equally important. How do you manage your tools, maybe you use colours, what system do you use so that they are available at a moment's notice? Would love to hear all the different ideas out there :)
While I am most passionate about enameling, water colours and oils are also favorite media, so when the artist network TV offered an invitation to an ( webinar) online water colour demonstration for tips on painting luminous landscapes I couldn't resist !! I am so glad I could for I had the most amazing time , attending my very first webinar of a watercolour demonstration,
The demonstration was by Mr Sterling Edwards an accomplished water colour artist, he has written books and also has published two DVDs of demonstrations of watercolours.
He started by talking about his work and the unique style of water colour painting that he had developed and then went on to talk about his four step method for creating luminous landscapes. The very first point that he cleared out was that his style of work was a very loose style requiring bold brush work and very little drawing and detailing. Something that was quite refreshing and different as most teachers insist on putting down every tiny little detail.

  •  Step 1   : leaving out enough white on the paper so as to show the presence of light
  •  Step 2   :Apply the darkest of darks to suggest shadows, then apply more transparents in the foreground and add details to the the foreground and center of the painting
  • Step  3  : Selective Glazing Eliminate unwanted whites with washes leaving only the areas meant for    the brightest of the highlights.
  • Step  4  : Refining and defining,  Add all the details and focus on the foreground .
I cant wait to try out these four steps, hope I can do justice to the process :) !!

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Mumbai's Metal Market- 'Tamba- Kata'

    I spent the whole of last Saturday, visiting our city's metal market. While metal is available all over the city of Mumbai, this is the one place where every kind of metal in whatever form one may need is available in huge quantities!
    The metal market itself if an extremely interesting place, located in the southern part of the city, it is still reminiscent of an era gone by. The name itself is a hail back to a time long gone,  known as 'Tambakata' to those of us who frequent the place translated it means the place where copper is weighed. 'Tamba = Copper' and 'Kata=weighing scale  ' . While the scale no longer exists, the name creates a mysterious allure. Small and big, retail and wholesale shops, line both side of a street, selling everything from copper, brass, lead, steel, nickel silver to bronze and aluminum, in sheet, pipe, wire, rod form. Whether you need copper rivets or steel meshes everything can be found here, one only need to be brave enough to leg it!
    Some of my tamba kata buys
    The metal market is a mad, cacophonous place, with everything from, tempos to handcarts bringing in and taking out the metal. People that come for shopping mostly have to be on their feet, preferring to park their vehicles almost 2 Kms. away .
    To me the metal market nearly always is a place for finding inspiration and ideas for new works. Simply browsing around the shop looking at the various gauges of metal, rods, pipes and foils gleaming away in their shelves is enough to set my mental wheels spinning.
     What if you are not an artist, maybe you are just looking for artifacts for your home, well then this is a place for you too, you can find the most decorative brass bells in all the sizes, you can even find antique brass and copper vessels.
    My recent buys have been restricted to wires of all the possible gauges and a few sheets of copper, but if ever I move from Mumbai, I will certainly miss my beloved market.

    P.S. tell me that all that metal is not tempting !!

    Kalaghoda- A festival of art, music, dance, and everything else inbetween.

    Every year the people of Mumbai eagerly await the ' Kalaghoda festival'. This one festival encompasses a lot of different visual and performing arts.
    The festival is held every year during the month of February in the area known as Kalaghoda.
     If you are wondering what in heavens name is kalaghoda, well translated it means Kala= Black, and ghoda= horse. So there you have it 'black horse', the term actually comes from an equestrian statue of King Edward VII
    which stood in the middle of the square. The statue has now been moved to the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Byculla.
    The area of Kalaghoda is now our very own art district, art lovers from all over the country descend here to partake of their ' arty' needs ! With the  Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalya formerly know as the Prince of Wales Museum  on one side and the famous Jehangir art gallery on the almost nestled against the museum, opposite is the Cowasji Jehangir art gallery for modern art know popularly as NGMA ( National  Gallery of Modern Art) ,the David Sasoon Library and many art gallery's, a church and of course all the heritage buildings ( for all the architecture buffs), it is the perfect spot to hold the festival each year.
    Mini amphitheater with art installation above
    The stage @ Kalaghoda for the performances
    Paintings being exhibited @ Kalaghoda
    Every year for one week the people of Mumbai and indeed all that arrive in Mumbai especially for this show can enjoy all of the events that happen . Right in the middle of the street a stage is built and the association has a mini amphitheater built on one side of the pavement and that is where all the artists be they folk, traditional or modern have their performances. There is dance, music and of course plays . You have to really be early to get seats at the amphitheater or else well simply stand with the rest of the enthusiasts and enjoy the show!
    Thought the week, films and documentaries are shown, book and poetry readings take place, eminent people from various fields of art, literature, acting give lectures.
    Not to mention photographic, painting and sculptural exhibitions that take place. Surely it is the one time when artists cannot complain of low footfall !!

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    Rajasthani man in traditional turban painting

    Rajasthani man in traditional turban , Oil on canvas, 14 x 16"©2011 Nayna Shriyan
    Here he finally is!! My Rajasthani man is done in all his glory, complete with salt and pepper mustache, traditional turban and a white shirt( typically the colour worn by the men folk of Rajasthan). I must apologize for taking such a long time, but this is my first attempt at a portrait and I must admit, the many wrinkles and getting the myriad shades of this man's face was quite a challenge. I had posted his original photograph in the previous post, I would love to hear whether I did manage to do this regal old gentleman justice in the painting ! :)

    I admit I have changed the design on his turban to something that was easier to manage for me , but it is still in keeping with the something that is very much worn my the men in the state.While the turban took the least amount of time to actually paint, pondering over the right design did take up a day ! But then how would my Rajasthani have been complete without his beautiful turban !!

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    The Easy Worm By Kieth Bond

    I subscribe to the Fine Art Views newsletter and have always enjoyed their article, I would like to share an article by Keith bond today, because although it was written with artists in mind, I think it applies to people from every walk of life, I hope you enjoy it !! :)

    The Easy Worm

    by Keith Bond

    This article is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

    (A friend of mine shared a version of the following fable with me.  I don’t know where it originated and it might not resemble the original very much anymore.  Who knows?  But I like the message.  You could apply the lessons learned to just about anything in life, but I will relate it to your art.)

    Despite the small size, the little bird felt larger than life with the wind under his wings.  How he loved to soar high in the blue sky.  He would dive and swoop, loop and circle about.  While he flew, his keen eyesight would spot food on the ground far below.  He loved a good worm for mealtime.

    One day he spotted an old man digging worms and placing them in a bucket.  The curious little fellow flew down and landed next to the man.

    “What are those worms for?” the bird asked.

    “They are for feathers,” the old man replied.

    Plucking a feather from his chest, the bird asked, “Like this?”

    “Yes.”  So the bird exchanged a feather for a worm.

    The next day, the bird once again saw the man.  Once again the same conversation took place.  And once again the exchange was made.

    Day after day, the same scenario played out.  A beautiful feather was traded for a juicy worm.

    One night, the bare-chested bird nearly froze to death.  He realized that he had given far too many of his chest feathers.  So, the next morning he exchanged a wing feather instead.  This continued day after day.  But after some time, to his dismay, he realized that he could no longer fly.  He hopped and jumped and tried with all his might.  But each time he landed with a thud on the hard ground.

    What had he done?  Had he become so used to getting an easy meal that he didn’t realize what he was doing?

    So he hopped around searching for worms.  It was difficult.  More difficult than when he could fly, and much more difficult than simply plucking a feather.  How he missed the days of soaring and tumbling through the air hunting for his own meal.  Yes, it was work.  And some days he didn’t eat as well as other days.  But somehow those meals of long ago were more satisfying than the easy worms from the old man.

    After some time of much difficulty, he gathered a beak-full of worms and hopped over to where the old man would be.  The little bird dropped the worms in the man’s bucket and asked if he could get some feathers back.

    No.  It could not be undone.

    As an artist, have you ever traded your feathers of creativity or talent in for the easy worms?  Have you let things become a crutch to where you no longer are able to soar to the heights you once knew?

    There are many ways you might do this.  I suppose each of us have given at least a feather or two.  But for some, the temptation for an easy worm is too great.

    It may be using a projector to trace a drawing.  For others, the easy worm might be formulaic color mixtures.  A few of you might even print your reference photo on canvas and then apply paint on top of that.

    Some artists can use photos as a tool – knowing its place and limitations.  But for others photos become a worm and the ability to compose, edit, feel and imbue a work with originality becomes lost – or worse yet, never learned.

    For some, it’s the same subject or composition over and over again.  Like a short-lived formulaic pop hit that quickly rises to the top 40 to only be forgotten a few weeks later, the compositions become shallow and redundant.

    For your art to truly soar – and to enjoy the elation that comes with creating – you must work hard for your worms.  Do not trade your feathers away.  It will only hurt you in the end.

    Being an artist isn’t easy, but oh, how it is worth it.  The old man will never know how it feels to fly on the wings of creativity.  But you have felt it.  You know.  You have seen the world from a perspective that others can’t even imagine.  You have felt the wind lift you as you spread your creative wings.  You have delighted in the creative process and have sorrowed for the worms that got away.  You have soared.  You have flown.  You are an artist.

    Best Wishes,
    Keith Bond

    PS   What easy worms have seduced you?  How did you overcome it?  Or have you?  If you feel you are stuck – flightless – there’s hope.  Unlike the bird who couldn’t get his feathers back, you can regain your creativity.  You can redevelop your talents.  You can fly once again.

    This article appears courtesy of FineArtViews by Canvoo,
    a free email newsletter about art, marketing, inspiration and fine living for artists,
    collectors and galleries (and anyone else who loves art).

    This article originally appeared at:

    For a complimentary subscription, visit: