Thursday, 16 May 2013

A sketch exchange

I'm taking part in a sketch exchange organised by Kip Bradley who is a fellow urban sketcher. He organised one on Flickr a few months ago and I missed out on that one so this time was quick to put my hand up.
It basically works like this: a whole bunch of people volunteer to take part and once the numbers are finalised, Kip sends each of us a personal message with an address in it and a deadline by which to send your sketch to that address.

The theme was to sketch cultural markers of place rather than landmarks or architectural markers. I've always been fascinated with Kolams and how effortlessly my mother and grandmothers could do these.

I put this  sketch in the mail today. I am not supposed to disclose who I am sending this to and I have no idea who's sketch I will receive in return but there are 24 participants from 13 countries so its exciting!
If you want to know what I get or where this sketch of mine went, watch out for comments to this post later.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A Trip to the Zoo

This sunday the penciljammers in Madras decided to meet at Vandalur Zoo. I hadn't been there in almost twenty years and only hazily  remembered a vast scorching expanse of tarmac more than anything else. Thankfully in the past two decades the trees have grown.
Most animal enclosures are reasonably generous with a lot of trees and shade for the animals. People can't get too close with double lines of fencing and walls and then moats. So we sort of squinted and approximated and sketched what we could. 

The weather was merciless. Thankfully Nithya hit upon an idea of hiring one of the battery operated vans exclusively for the sketching group. We had it for only one hour and had to do the whole circuit and be back within that time, so when we saw something interesting we would all hop out yelling to the driver "just two minutes" and mostly we were back in the van in five minutes and off again. 

 It was unimaginably crowded and most people had never seen sketchers before so we sometimes attracted more attention than the animals.  I had taken 4 water brushes with pre-mixed colours filled in it so that I could sketch and paint quickly standing up. It worked out well except the colours were a bit diluted and I had a very limited colour palette to work with. But it sure beat lugging my entire kit around in the heat!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Happy Labour Day

As luck would have it, I just did this sketch last sunday. How appropriate and convenient to post on Labour Day. The statue on the left is one of the northern-most along the Marina and a personal favourite. Its called the Triumph of Labour.

The grand looking building at the back is the University Senate House built in the 1870s by Robert Chisholm. It has beautiful proportions, intricate ornamentation and chettinad egg plastered walls that are as smooth as polished stone.

Crumbling and neglected for many years, it was restored at great cost with the help of INTACH and conservation architects a few years back. A lot of people came forward and supported this. The idea and the hope was to see it being used again, opened out to the public for exhibitions and gatherings. But now that the restoration is complete it is back in the hands of the Madras University and it's hierarchical power structure. I hope that at least interested public are allowed to visit in the future

The TV tower seen behind everything is from the good old days of Doordarshan.

It was blisteringly hot that morning and I huddled under the shade of a tiny hand cart which was closed and boarded up. This time I got a lot of interesting comments from passersby who were free and happy with their advice. Someone asked if he could take my picture. I asked if he wanted a picture of me or the sketch and he said "of you doing the sketch". Thank you.