And Coffee it is Again

This is another one from my current obsession with coffee art.

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Smells like Coffee

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I’d done this before, many years ago, but the attempt was quite poor. So now, determined to get it right, I tried using coffee to paint again and here is the result.

Coffee transforms really well on watercolour paper. It mixes well with water, and works exactly how watercolors do. Besides, it keeps my mood upbeat throughout the process with its fabulous aroma.:)

For this piece, I teamed coffee with another unlikeliest culinary ingredient – yes that is turmeric. Very Indian, very yellow. I didn’t like the way turmeric felt on paper, because I found it too grainy. It does leave a nice yellow stain that is nearly impossible to lift. Perhaps a finer ground turmeric or a filtered version of the powder would work. But it’s nice to think that both the pigments came from natural sources. I only used black paint to do the contrast areas in the picture. Now I am wondering about natural pigments, and I want to know more about how ancient art was created using these organic pigments.

I used a picture of my husband for this piece. I felt that the strong light and shadows would render well with coffee. Initially intended as trial scrap, it turned out fine enough for me to preserve it forever, especially for you Srijoy.

White Summer

White-Summer

With summer approaching fast, I thought I’d upload a painting that reminds me forever of a white summer in 2007 – it was dreamlike, washed out in brilliant light and etched in my memory for reasons known only to my heart.

By now I’m a pro at painting from photos taken by my husband – my earlier posts are proof of that. I wish I could put up those photos but that’s for another kind, because I do not want your attention diverted to the original thing – selfish I am. My blog is about imitation. It’s about painting. Photography, though a form of imitation, does not fit in this space.

The piece that I share with you here is a watercolour painting. I simply love the medium. I like it that I can finish an 8×10 watercolour piece within a day. It’s like churning out tasty one pot meals – easy.

The painting shows a tourist in Mumbai photographing two white horses with one of those handy cams that you no longer see in use these days. 2007 was not long ago and yet a thing such as a handy cam seems so obsolete today. In the photograph, the caretaker’s torso is visible between the two horses with his head comically hidden behind the horse in the front. I readily omitted him due to aesthetic reasons, or it would have looked like the caretaker had a horse’s head. This is the Mumbai University campus, or somewhere around it, where you see many Victorias (a remnant of the colonial days) moving about. No longer what they used to be, these horse carriages have drawn a lot of flak lately for ill-treated and malnourished horses. Protests have been held in as far as Europe to stop the torture against these beautiful animals. And why not? They need not suffer the whims and fancies of humans.

I like the top bun and bohemian outfit of this tourist. That was a joy to paint, not to mention the faces of those beautiful white horses and the greenery in the background.

This is from Mumbai, to all the tourists who come to our chaotic city. Welcome!

Orchids

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Sikkim, in the north-eastern region of India, is heaven in April. I remember how, after my wedding, we took to the hills of Gangtok and Pelling. The flowers were in abundance; it was springtime. Orchids, fuchsias and beautiful roses grew in the wild and it was hard to put a price on such abundance there, what with the same sold for a fortune in a city like Bombay.

I made this watercolour painting on canvas, of all things. Yes, a framed and primed canvas – the kind that you find in hobby and craft stores. Most people express their surprise at the fact that I used watercolours on canvas instead of on paper, but it wasn’t difficult at all, perhaps because it was a well-treated and primed canvas. The painting has no damage marks yet (it’s been 3 years) so I guess it’s not such a bad idea to use watercolours on canvas.

So I painted this one from a photo taken in Sikkim, where a little boy sat down to rest after climbing trees to pluck a few orchids. As I clicked his photo from our vehicle, he became a tad conscious and tried to hide his orchids, perhaps for no good reason than to hide one’s recently coveted prized possession.

I dedicate this painting to the hard-working hill people of Sikkim, their beautiful babies, furry dogs and abundant natural wealth.