Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Random pencil portraits


This is the cute son of my friend Sonali

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A stone carved dancer in Konark temple

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An Indian Woman

Monday, November 1, 2010

Jhoti, Chita, Muruja

Women all over India practice their traditional way of decorating the house walls and floors by Rangoli and various patterns. These folk arts are believed to bring glory to the festivals.. and these are also believed as the harbinger of  prosperity and happiness. Usually these art forms are practiced by rural women though few urban women do the same to maintain the religious and ritual heritage associated with it. By the way I am not among those women who use to do the same for any religious purposes. Although I am not perfect doing these folk arts, I continue to do sometimes because I love it. Rather some sentiments are associated with these- some nostalgia. It reminds me of my childhood and college going period of my life. I remind how every festival used to be the occasion of great merriment with all the associated arrangements including these arts which decorated not only the terrace and floors of our house but also minds and hearts of all of us. I remind how various traditional cakes (Pithas) and various traditional cuisines were being prepared by my mother and grand mother. My mother is not that good in doing the Jhoti or Muruja but my grand mother used to be very proficient in that. I learned doing Jhoti from her only. She was so sweet to make all my festivals great with the touch of her affectionate fingers. Her preparation of traditional food like various vegetable curry, Green leaf preparations, and traditional Odia Dalma, Khechudi etc were so tasty that I miss those even after five years of her death. My responsibility was then to draw Jhotis or Muruja on the special occasions like Manabashaa Gurubaara, Kaartika, Dola, Jhulana etc. I was made so happy when the relatives and other guests coming to home used to appreciate the Jhotis and Chitas I drew. If somebody didn't say anything or a word of appreciation, my grandmother would say her- "See how my grand daughter has prepared this Jhoti so beautifully...." then the somebody would definitely be compelled to say a "Wow"... ha ha..

Lets come back to the topic. By Jhoti and chita we mean the folk art drawn on floor and walls. The main and only thing used doing Jhoti is a semi-liquid paste of rice. And fingers become the brush to make it. Muruja (Rangoli) is the coloured or white powders usually made of rice powder or fine sand and the colour mixed in that. It is also drawn on floor with the help of fingers. Some women make the muruja (Rangoli) with flowers. [In Odisha we call it muruja and its universal name in India is Rangoli].... Rural women in Odisha use to draw several figures and flower patterns on the mud wall of their thatched houses. Those look very beautiful. Before painting on wall usually they put a background colour named as Dhau. Its semi red and orange mixed, brown or muddy type of colour. Dhau is also used by few people while drawing Jhoti on the floor as the background colour. Thanks to the Bhubaneswar Development Authority who painted the associated walls of roads in Bhubaneswar with the traditional wall Chitas, as a result of which Bhubaneswar is looking very beautiful. In Cuttack also Sea-shore company and a bank has taken similar steps to paint the walls of ring road... It also has brought glory to the beauty of Cuttack city. Usually those folk arts welcome the daity of prosperity (Mother Laxmi). It seems as if Bhubaneswar and Cuttack the city-duo is welcoming mother Laxmi..

Wall Chitaa-1





The above pictures are samples of wall chita. Its called Dhana shishaa or (the heap of paddy after it is winnowed). It is drawn by sprinkling the rice paste through finger nails and the dots are made using tips. It is usually drawn on mud walls but now a days it has also become as a fashion for urban dwellers  to paint their walls with these folk arts. This Chita is known to be the symbol of prosperity. I have not drawn all these....just have taken the snap somewhere. :) 
                                                    
Wall Chitaa-2
                                                                  
  

The above picture is taken at Raghrajpur village. It's a sample of wall chita which is drawn surrounding the door.
                                                                 
Wall Chitaa-3   



The above jhoti painting is drawn surrounding window. It's drawn on the basis of traditional Saura tribal art. 


Wall Chitaa-4



The above wall chita is based on the concept of four adorns of Lord Vishnu or Lord Jagannath namely Sankha (the conch shell), Chakra (the wheel), Gadaa (the hammer) and Padma (the lotus)...and also there is the symbol of prosperity (Dhaana Shisaa) depicting the presence of Goddess Laxmi.


Wall Chitaa-5





The above wall chita is based on finger tips style; in other words in this type of jhoti finger tip is used to make the dots.





Wall Chitaa- 6




Wall Chitaa- 7



Wall Chitaa- 8



Wall Chitaa- 9


Wall Chitaa- 10


Wall Chitaa- 11

                                                                    
                                
In Odisha women practice Jhoti, Rangoli and Chita during several special festivals. And those also carry the implication of those special occasions carrying different names. Now I would describe about floor Jhoti and Chita only. Jhoti and Chita is drawn on the floor of houses and in front of the main door of the houses in several auspicious occasions like several religious and social functions including marriage and sacred thread ceremony. It is believed that good fortune enters into the house passing through beautifully drawn Jhotis.... It is also very true good fortune only resides there where there is cleanliness, sanctity, devotion, beauty, love and harmony. And jhotis are nothing but the symbolical representation of those virtues. 

I would narrate a story here. The story is all about how Goddess Laxmi got impressed by the cleanliness, sense of beauty and devotion of a sweeper woman and blessed her with abundant wealth...    

The Universal Lord, Lord Jagannath is unique not only because he is incarnation of Lord Vishnu in Kaniyuga (era of Kali) but also because his temple culture carry all time messages for society,  humanity and life on earth. He along with his siblings and wife seem to be maintaining a life style and daily cores as we people have our own. His morning starts from brushing teeth, taking breakfast and ends at listening to songs or watching  to dance and sleeping at night as we watch television and relax at night. In Jagannath culture human emotions are clearly depicted. Even the Gods feel warm, cold with change of the seasons and his temple works change accordingly. So every year during peak summer Lord Jagannath and his siblings (Lord Balabhadra and Debi Subhadra) take bath with 108 vessels of water taken from a well in the temple premises. They get cold and fever after excessive bath and the fever remains for 21 days when they take rest only by taking a medicine called Dashamula prepared by Ayurvedic doctors. Goddess Laxmi although is wife of Lord Jagannath could not participate in their bathing session due to some social restrictions for women that they would maintain shyness in the presence of brother-in-law. When the three deities recovered from illness they started a pleasant trip to their aunts home at Gundicha temple for some change. But they didn't inform Goddess Laxmi. As a wife would mind if his husband goes for a pleasant trip with someone else without taking her and asking her, Godess Laxmi also felt very bad. And she took her sweet revenge by making the wheels of their wooden cars break by her people in the mid of night. Subsequently the Lords came to know about the acts of Laxmi and remained silent. But when the three deities came back temple home after their nine days trip Goddess Laxmi didn't let them enter into the temple. As any wife she also wanted respect and attention. When her husband Lord Jagannath made her convince through his sweet words only she changed her mind. But that was a big insult for big brother Lord Balabhadra what he never did forget.

If husband won't take wife for a trip, the wife would go by her own for some change because everyone loves an outing which refreshes mind. Again Goddess Laxmi is the mother of whole universe so she made a trip in the month of maargashira (the month of November) with an intention to see how her children were living. She saw women welcoming on her way by decorating their neat and clean houses by Rangoli and jhoti patterns, from where the sweet smell of various cake were coming...She entered into a house which was very much clean, tidy and dazzling by beautiful jhoti patterns although that house was a hut showing that they were not economically sound. Goddess Laxmi stepped into the house walking on the beautiful Jhotis along the mud floor early in the morning. She saw a woman worshiping her idol decorating everywhere with flowers; the small house was very lovely with the scents of flowers, incense stick, lamps, sandalwood etc... Goddess Laxmi was so impressed with the tidiness, sense of beauty and devotion of the woman that she appeared before her and blessed her with abundant wealth even knowing that she was a sweeper (untouchable as per earlier Hindu culture) woman. [This story carry the message that being socially degraded does not mean that fortune and wealth won't favor... it supports those, who are systematic in their life, who are industrious, those who are positive in their thought and those who create happiness and harmony starting from their own home.]

When Goddess Laxmi returned to her abode Srimandira, knowing that she had been to a sweeper's home... elder brother Balabhadra got a chance to take the revenge of his earlier insult by Goddess Laxmi. Balabhadra ordered Lord jagannath not to make Laxmi enter into Srimandira. Lord Jagannath also obeyed his elder brother's word and denied Laxmi to enter into the temple since she was made fallen by entering into a lower caste woman's house and by accepting her puja . Laxmi being very much hurt went to his father's abode. His father "the Sea" build a beautiful palace for her near to his shores. In the absence of Laxmi, Srimandira became lifeless.... all the wealth and prosperity vanished suddenly and the two brothers became lusterless and they became road side beggars who began to beg for some food. Knowing their status of Brahmin people were giving them food to eat but mis-fortune always was there with them to steal their food some way or other. They became desperate until they found Laxmi's palace in the shores of bay of Bengal. They stood there with the hope of some food. Laxmi, knowing the fact that her husband and brother-in-law would arrive at her home, she did make all the arrangements well in advance. She send message with a maid that "would the Brahmins like to take food from a fallen low caste sweeper woman". The hunger stricken Gods agreed with the proposal that they would take food prepared by a sweeper woman. Goddess Laxmi served several delicious food prepared by herself which the two brothers at last could eat. Immediately Lord Jagannath could know that the house lady was non other than Laxmi. They begged apologies from Laxmi and together went to Srimandira merrily. 

[The story gives message to the society that women should be respected, given proper attention and care...... A house becomes home only due to a woman...It's the reason why women are considered as Laxmi of a home who always are there to service for the wellbeing and fortune of others. When woman is disrespected all the glory and happiness vanishes from the house.] 

[Another message is also there that no one is fallen or untouchable on earth.. every one has the right to become wealthier and fortunate by their approach towards life. Degrading social status of others is made by few influential human for their self-interest. All are equal on this earth as creator has made so.] 

Now I would present several Jhoti or chita patterns drawn by me which are drawn on the occasion of Margashira Maasha Gurubaara when women worship mother Laxmi and the new grains of rice in few little pots called Maana. In earlier times Maana was used to measure the mass of rice.      

Laxmi Paada Chitaa



This jhoti is called as Laxmipaada Chita or the "foot of Laxmi" as tiny foots of Laxmi are drawn inside the body of the Jhoti.    

Pidhaa marei


Pidhaa means a small piece of wood used for sitting purpose. Mahalaxmi would be seated on a Pidhaa which would be again decorated with Jhoti, muruja and flowers. The above Jhoti is an example of Pidhaa marei.


Maa Mahalaxmi is being seated on Pidhaa marei.


Swapna Padma Chitaa-1


Swapna Padma Chitaa-2


The above type of Chitaa is usually very big in size and requires a lot of time, concentration and labour. This Chitaa is believed to be liked by Goddess Laxmi. Why should it be liked by Goddess Laxmi, the question may come to mind. Goddess Laxmi must like creativity and beauty done with utmost care and interest. That could be the reason why Maa could like Swapna Padma. By the way my Swapna Padma might not have liked by Maa Laxmi as I although have put time and labour in it, could not produce the finest work... It requires a lot of practice...after all its an art.


Pidhaa Padma Chitaa




                                                                              

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Some water colour paintings

When I first started doing a picture using water colour, I faced a lot of problems because my usual methods of doing acrylic painting was conflicting with that of water colour. Gradually I came to know that in water colour painting we begin from lighter shade to heavier shade instead of the heavier to lighter shade in acrylic colour method. I go through several water colour sites on internet and get surprised oh, how can people make such beautiful paintings on earth? Those seem so real like! So wonderful.... If artists make such wonders with their brush and colours what wonder the ultimate artist (God) could have done! I will try to learn water colouring efficiently.






Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Abstract painting phase-1

I was fascinated with a bizarre interest of one of my friends in appreciating freaky abstract paintings. How could people able to extract any meaning from those strange type figure-less, shape-less and unnatural paintings? And the greatest amazement is that how people create those! I got to know that, some type of visualization one has to create either to understand or to paint a modern(abstract) art. I thought, it must be something very smart, something very aristocratic to have interest in modern art. So I tried to find out the meanings of different abstract paintings searched on internet; but all the meanings I derived came out very funny. Of course those revealed the level of perception in me. ha ha. Anyhow, I decided to start doing an abstract art just thinking nothing. Then I closed my eyes and tried drawing figures on paper..different bizarre shapes came out .. finally when I opened my eye, drew a shape on a paper which I liked very much and also put bright acrylic colours on that figure. And when I was all done I really was so happy...! That was a real success for me. I made up my mind that, If I would ever paint a picture, I would paint only an abstract, because that's very easy and we need not get worried for rules associated with painting..... That painting when was ready, I showed to everybody I came across and also got appreciations. And people asked for the meaning of my painting, then I became aware that those who paint an abstract painting must get ready to explain a befitting meaning of their creations. So I asked its meaning with a couple others to the very friend who liked abstract paintings. His suggestion was great. I tried mine too just quite similar to his suggested meaning which I told others as the meaning of my first abstract painting. The painting also got a very good reward finally. When my husband was awarded with PHD, with his affirmation I framed that painting and gave his guide who also happened to be my teacher once upon a time, as a gift- a token of respect. That was indeed a great feeling. Subsequently I tried doing a couple others too.

                               My first ever Abstract painting

Protection


The meaning I derived for the picture

As inside a mother's womb a life is well-protected and nourished by motherly and fatherly elementary graces, life everywhere is protected by the embraces of the almighty father and mother nature....Which makes everybody eat, see, walk, talk and live with ample freedom and happiness.


Duality  



The meaning of the above painting I derived is that there are two aspects of everything, a very clear and pure identity.... and another is dubious and impure. It all depends is which one is chosen to show up.


                                                                      
 Voyage 



The above painting which I made just abruptly putting bright colors here and there in the paper certainly could make my mind very cool at that time. It's because perhaps in a low mood some crazy deed is only able to make one get back proper frame of mind. When I tried to find out the meaning of the picture, it came out still crazier. A lonely boat floats amidst the exotic celebration of colours. The soul also travels alone in a path of divine bliss all around it. But it is untouched by it for being coloured with the black of illusion. As the reflexion of sky falls on water, reflexion of the divine being falls on receptive souls. 


Interplay of Attributes



The above painting for me is representation of several human traits that interact with and mingle with one another and still those are distinct in their special way. Love is one among the human attributes that is quite distinct and untouched by other mundane human traits making the earth feel the touch of divine. 

Trackless Prayer




The above painting says the modes of my prayer. I pray to God for so many things and mostly for happiness and peace. But its only my ignorance that make me pray the almighty for such petty desires. It is my blindness only that prevents me from recognizing the objects of my desire which are gifted to me profusely. 

 Guru Shishya
Teacher-Disciple    




Without a Guru (teacher) and without Guru's blessings nothing remarkable is achieved. Guru purifies mind and makes the disciple ready for truth. The tree of Guru- Shishya spreads its branches whereas the ultimate Guru- the God almighty remains at the apex.

The Revolving Souls




The universe is full of souls- "Atmamaya biswa"... All the souls rotate around the Super-soul may be just equaling with the principle of solar family and those tend to merge with the super-soul. (Its only my imagination..... God forgive me for my ignorance..)

Ganesha



During my graduation days I used to make several paintings on Lord Ganesha. He was too merciful towards me to make me cross the violent river of exams very smoothly. The above painting in fact was done half by my daughter few months ago. When both of us started doing something on paper, we never thought it would be Lord Ganesha's image. Firstly we put colours here and there and then sprinkled some colour. Finally I gave a shape to it making Lord Ganesha.  I know the painting is not worth what Lord Ganesha's image should be. But it was an effort my daughter and me put together (a play time activity) so it's very much memorable for me.:)


Family 



A home- a family is the safest and dearest place on earth where one gets all the happiness of life. A family is the root of every society and maker of its future.

Life Cycle



The above picture may depict the three phases of human life.... One is very young and bright, the middle one the coloured and straight; where as the last one is yellow and bend depicting old age. The very juvenile stage of life makes man joyous, bright and flexible, the youth stage of man makes him confident, dynamic, highly productive a bit arrogant and argumentative. The final stage of life makes man humble and yielding adorned with knowledge and experience 


Creation




In the above painting I discovered the meaning as "a seed carries the secret of the Universe". How mysterious creation is! How life came to existence? All these questions often baffle mind. Life is everywhere and the secret truth about life and creation is also present everywhere but beyond the cognition of our mortal brains. It seems as if there is an universal rule of creation that applies to every living and non-living things. Even a tiny seed may carry the secret of whole universe.... So scientists and philosophers, from now do start a new research on the topic I have provided ..... :D   

Aspiration


                                            
Life is an aspiration to attend at the eternal call. It is a journey walked alone and toiled alone on the snaky path. The eternal song is heard deep within heart and each step on the path falls matching to the tune until one reaches at the apex of the gratification of flaming aspiration. 

Vortex



The sensual world is but a vortex which pulls life into it violently until it immerses deep into the world of illusory sense pleasure. The outer appearance of the sensual world is very lustrous but as soon as life comes under it's mighty grip, it takes away everything including life. Soul becomes helpless just like a drowning creature in a mighty vortex of a river.

Motion


Motion is the basis of life. Life is in motion and everything pertaining to life is also in motion. Those visible and invisible objects are in motion, may be its  beyond our cognition. Nature accepts it naturally. Mountains change, seas change, forests change...everything in world is subject to change due to the impalpable law of motion. The whole Universe is also moving constantly.... May be due to the eternal rule of motion we are moving constantly, and we are in the process of constant evolution. Denying the rule may prove very fatal.... as you can think yourself desiring to go out from a moving vehicle....  Its change that is constant and we creatures must always be ready to accept the speed of motion and scale of change.                                                            



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How I started painting ...

This world is damn beautiful yarr.... often I murmur while standing alone at some relaxing place or while on a journey to somewhere. I peep outside the glass window, gazing at whatever comes across my way and goes back like a wave. I see the blue sky and sometimes the changing mood of the sky depending upon the movement of sun... How those scenes come so beautiful ! sometimes the very usual paths, the grass grown up wildly on two sides of those paths, the people working in fields, markets, shops, and visible objects all around seem so picturesque that is beyond explanation. 


Especially the sky, has been attracting me since my very childhood; as if there were something dwelling in the sky that drags my gaze all the time upward,...ha ha.. Its true, sky has always been my rescuer. In my childhood when home tutor was instructing me to indulge myself in solving some difficult maths; to get escape from the hardship I usually asked for a break to drink some water or go to bathroom. When I had the permission, I would go swiftly to terrace and would place myself on a couch gazing at the sky as if the stars were going to solve my mathematics problem.. I would continue to gaze at the stars until a loud call or a person had come from inside ...

But its true, sky gazing has been my favorite pastime activity. During night, the most beautiful, big and dazzling star (that could be the nearest most planet) often attracts me as if a diamond attracts a woman.. that she had the opportunity to immediately grab the most precious diamond for her necklace at once... But that is not only a diamond for me, that is something more than that, I could imagine the star to be one of my best friends. I could imagine a feeling of tenderness, an intent feeling of soothing love that my very star friend was creating in me. As if it was telling me- "gaze at me and feel me within you".... My star friend also visits my sky during day time somewhere beneath the horizon... while spreading its magical wings carrying full of eonian colours it fills up my heart with fervor happiness.... And what to tell about the moon !!! Who else can be as lovable and darling than my juvenile moon? Every moonlit night brings forth new aspirations, new maddening crave deep inside heart.... Just looking at it removes all the ill feelings, all the grieves, have you ever felt? 

I amaze how madly I am in love with the earth, the sea, the mountain, the trees, creepers, the chirping birds,  flowers, the clouds, the rain, the sky and my dearest star friend....! I won't mind to take several rebirths to fill my heart with such earthly beauty over and again... I won't mind to take rebirth to experience the tender feelings of love and compassion that I am continuing to get from the people (family and friends) around me since very childhood...  It too amaze me how comes the beautiful shapes, sizes and colours around me so created? Where is he hiding himself who created all these....! If I could imprison all that I see inside my eye balls for ever..! If I could paint pictures of the things what I see and appreciate... But Alas... That much of talent probably I have not borne with. I failed several times painting a good picture.... at what my heart would say... Wow, what wonder you did ....! What a picture you have made....!

When I was a student of standard 5 or 6, I used to peep at the entrance of the room of our art/Odia literature teacher (Upendra Sir) who at recess period used to engage himself in preparing small but cute greetings cards which probably was giving him some extra income. Instead of playing with my friends, I was spending the 45 minutes only standing at a corner of the entrance and watched the movements of hands of my art teacher. A burning desire arose, inside my heart to paint a picture like my teacher. I then decided to paint a picture of Radha Krishana, (my all time favorite Love-pair). I started painting Radha Krishna by watching a painting somewhere. I coloured the drawing with camel water color which was meant for our drawing class in school. I was really fascinated with my achievement. I showed the picture to everyone in my family including my mother (who praised high of my first ever figure painting), I showed that to our neighborer and friends and at last to my Upendra Sir who took the picture in his hand and circulated all over the class. I was so embarrassed that felt like covering my face with my folded palms.. That was an embarrassment of overt joy that I was feeling at that moment. But that very beginning inspired me whispering in my ears "Yes you would be an artist"...although I don't know when that whispering will aloud be spoken "You really are an artist". I tried afterwards to draw and paint but gradually I discovered that my drawings were like somebody has created something while being punished with a hunter... In the figures I drew, the hands and legs were appearing as if those were leprosy stricken... And my father's warning not to waste time in painting vague pictures and rather to study made me continue and adjust with my passion just making some odd creations of fairies, saree clad woman and Radha-Krishna in rough papers only. During matriculation all my painting related equipments were hidden away from my vision as I had then developed a peculiar interest in doing Pattachitra (the traditional art of Orissa) instead of studying my curricula. But how could I control my mind... that was very difficult on my part. So somehow I managed to get few bottles of acrylic colour from my friend but she did not have a brush with her. Taking advantage of the absence of my father who had gone for a tour, I started to do those unfinished paintings with small chosen threads/sticks of coconut leaf. And some how managed to finish those taking much longer time. During vacations my full time work would be preparing odd pictures.... of course because I could not make a perfect one. Gradually when the pressure of my studies became more and more, I preferred not to paint. And when vacation came I started doing again. I use to give those very odd (immaturely painted) pictures to my friends and relatives as gift who loved to take those not because I was going to present wonderful art works for their living rooms but because the feeling of love for them as my labour and time invested was there in those pictures... They remember me, love me, nothing can be the greatest gifts than that ,they gave in turn. Once I gave a picture to a lecturer in Economics Tarun Ojha Sir who really was an awarded artist... He appreciated me and blessed me giving me a book of Van Ruisdael, a great Dutch artist which I love so much and have read several times. My teacher told me never to give up the habit of painting pictures. But all of a sudden I stopped doing pictures being mingled with studies to make a career, and all of a sudden got married and raised family...

But I find some sort of craving within me alive even now to express the beauty that I behold and to express the whispers of my star friend through my palette and paper...


                            The Water Colour Radha- Krishna I have made recently