This is my last painting of 2017. This year has been a year of my obsession for dark colors. Here I have used a little of black but a lot of brown, red and mauve. Who could have thought mauve clouds can reflect a dreamier european sky. You can see various stages of painting in the slideshow. The layers of brick red and mauve sky, white unruly clouds, the not-so-precise Eiffel tower, some more clouds now somewhat colorful and more unruly making the Eiffel tower seems at a far distance, the girl in red inspired by Audrey Hepburn, shades of red in her dress and the mauve flower at the back of her dress, it all ends up creating a wonderful piece. Owing to my determination of stop being a control freak, for the first time I drew the girl only with the paint, no pencil and no trace paper. It came out just imperfect to look real. Her locks coming out of the bun from here and there, her flowing purple hair ribbon and the randomly placed clouds are giving the frame a windy look. The streaks of black and red in her dress might make this piece qualified for a Monroe moment in an imaginative and exaggerating way.
Old yellow houses and their broken window pane
in a sync on both sides of a pale narrow lane
Red flower pots with petunia and begonia spiraling down
a smell of fresh coffee and burning tinge of cinnamon
The lady in black rushing as if to catch a train
breaking the silence in my head those little drops of rain
A girl in brown boots and a guy with shiny brown cane
her fingers fidgeting with his iffy hands on that old bench
As if words are being exchanged in morse code
aloof from the rain, the mud and the ugly toad
As if the storm of thoughts are rushing through them
his eyes staring into hers decoding the silence of mayhem
Oblivious to bespattered with mud thrown by that rusty car
Her fist now resting calmly in his still iffy palms saying au revoir.
Self-perception is being aware of the fact what we are. We do things repeatedly, routinely, spontaneously, rarely, consciously and sometimes unconsciously. Out of these what defines the actual us. The truth is we are an amalgam of all these. We make informed decisions and sometimes give it a go.
My favorite is we become what we do repeatedly. Over the course of time we develop our attitude and traits from our behavior. It has been formalized in Self-perception theory by psychologist Daryl Bem. We return a lost wallet because we believe in honesty. We smile at a stranger because we are friendly. We go to watch plays because we are art connoisseurs. Or is it so. Didn’t we return that wallet because we thought what our friends would think. Didn’t we smile at the stranger because otherwise it would have been rude. Didn’t we go to movies because everybody else was going. Our idea of self-perception is so much dependent on other’s perception of us.
Observing our own behavior is a scary thing because we are un-accustomed to it and the results might not be what we want it to be. If we look at ourselves for a day and draw reasoning sketch why we do what we do, it will scare the shit out of us. It is not one factor that cause our action to be in a certain way. There are many of them: Priming, Genetics, Social norms, Core values etc. The majority of human beings have little sense of who they truly are and rarely question their own subjective beliefs about themselves and their life. It is perfectly acceptable to belong to the majority. But if one wants to join the minority Self-observation is a skill which can be developed and cultivated. Self-observation is an art and science of its own and and an interesting one.
Poppies: On this stretched canvas on wood of size 12”*12” I intended to put only black and white to create a contrast. Contrast of dull and bright, of glee and woe and of light and dark. Background came out as dramatic and dull as I expected with use of a little glazing medium. A flower like poppy totally balanced the dreariness of the background but then I drew those dark buds. It seemed that only black and white are not enough to create the consonance. One of them always tend to overpower the other. The canvas needed a decisive factor. And red was perfect. With time I have learnt that the more you let go of control on the brush the more beauty gets added to the piece. Poppy’s petals are imperfect, stems are imperfect and even the pistil in the centre of flowers are imperfect. But together it turned out a perfect the-bedroom-wall piece.
Oh well, sometimes when you find an old page, you make it more vintage. Or when you do not find one, you get it printed and make it fun and vintage. I did the second one and it was fun. You will be bound to agree with one. Or I hope so.
This month one more item got checked off my bucket list. It was Niagara Falls and it certainly has added a lot more than a check to my experiences. People say that Canada has a better view of the grandeur of the Falls. But in my opinion American side was no less. The three falls, Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil constitutes Niagara falls. American and Bridal veil are on American side so it naturally gives a better view from Canadian side. Horseshoe Falls form a natural boundary between United States and Canada. In the snap below, the first fall on the left side is American Falls. A small island known as Luna Island separates Bridal Veil from the American Falls. At the far right end after Goat Island and below the massive clouds of mist, there is the largest fall of Niagara, the Horseshoe Falls.
Main tourist attractions of Niagara are Maid of the Mist boat tour and Cave of the Winds. Maid of the mist boat tour starts from a rather calm point near the Rainbow bridge, and takes you all the way to breathtaking Horseshoe Falls through American and Bridal Veil Falls.
As the boat passes Bridal Veil Falls, you will see a colony of gulls near Horseshoe Falls and you will envy them to be that near to this natural wonder. When the boat approaches the Horseshoe Falls, you will be soaking up in the mist and will barely manage to keep open your eyes.
Just when you will think the view can not get better, it will leave you speechless. The water falling down with a tremendous force, the mist rising from the river and you will not be able to have enough of this over-whelming moment.
This video is an attempt to seal that moment so I can relive them whenever I want to.
This was not it. Cave of the Winds is a man-made stairs to the Bridal Veil Falls. An elevator will ride you down to the base of the fall and you can see the fall infront of you falling with such of force that it seems to take you down with it. Now you have the option to just enjoy the view or get soaked up in the misty water. Well it took me two attempts to gather my courage to go to the fall. Don’t judge me if I didn’t want to meddle with that force and it was freezing cold there. But one does not go to Niagara often so I went up anyway. And trust me it was every bit of it was worth.
I will probably visit Niagara from Canada side once just to know why people say what they say.
Washington, D.C : A city that has been keeping a humongous amount of heritage in a mere area of 68 square mile. One can cover the entire city in a day on foot tirelessly. Of course it excludes the time one spends with architecture, museums and art galleries, and trust me on this when I say that the excluded time is atleast 2 complete days. Six of the top 10 buildings in the American Institute of Architects’ 2007 ranking of “America’s Favorite Architecture” are in the District of Columbia: the White House; the Washington National Cathedral; the Thomas Jefferson Memorial; the United States Capitol; the Lincoln Memorial; and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. These structures are combination of the neoclassical, Georgian, gothic, and modern architectural styles.
The most visited museum in Washington is National Museum of Natural History which covers sea habitants, plants, mammals and geographical evolution. Beautiful seashells, corals, T-rex skeletons, gems, rocks and wildlife portraits are on display.
The gallery has been sub-sectioned as per the periods as well as genres which makes the visit easily accessible even for an amateur. Although the museums have multiple scheduled guided tours, the audio-aided guide would have been a good step for more fruitful visit.