Girija Hariharan @2flatbrush

Girija Hariharan @2flatbrush

When I wanted to do something related to art, I just looked around me for ways in which I could include it in my life. Giving up a comfortable job, it was time to network, meet artists and conduct workshops in art, in collaboration with artists. It was in one such collaboration that I met and was introduced to Girija Hariharan by my friend, Preethi Prabhu. And we could instantly connect. Every time I meet her, I am in awe of her. You will be too, when you read of her journey and understand all that is Girija @2flatbrush. No wonder all her paintings call to me….her thoughts and emotions translated to vibrant colours and forms.

Girija @2flatbrush

Girija @2flatbrush with her mural in the background

 

Strings of heritage- What was your ambition as you were growing up?

Girija @2flatbrush- I always used to wonder about children living in railway stations, pavements and under bridges when I was a kid. I had made up my mind around my tween years, to provide a safe and secure place for them to be educated and provided for, when I grow up. When I had a chance to return to India after my education and work stint abroad, I hastily started a foster home for kids and ran it for a while despite being quite naive and inexperienced.

Girija @2flatbrush

Girija @2flatbrush Pic Credit- Preethiprabhu

Strings of heritage- What changed and how did you plan the way ahead when the orphanage was no longer feasible?

Girija @2flatbrush- In Karnataka, the orphan children are given to government institutions. Private institutions like my ‘Annai Charitable trust’, would be given single-parent kids who can’t afford good living conditions. The kids I was given by the child welfare committee for my foster home, had a mother and she simply wasn’t able to support them. As the kids started missing their mom, I realised I was making orphans in order to run an orphanage. It was during my foster home experience that I realised it was important to see the big picture and help others the way they wanted to be helped, not the way I wanted to help them. So I let go of the foster idea and sponsored the education of those kids and they were happily resettled with their mother. From then on, for the past 14 years, with the helpful donors of my trust, I have been sponsoring at least 10-12 single-parent and orphan kids each year to complete their education. I am very proud of each one of those kids. Some have moved on to jobs after their degrees and are inclined to help other kids like themselves. I have some big things planned and have been saving up for it, to launch in a couple of years.

 

Girija @2flatbrush

Girija @2flatbrush Pic credit -Preethiprabhu

Strings of heritage- Was art always part of your life?

Girija @2flatbrush- Yes! Strangely enough Art has followed me everywhere, and sneaked up on me at the right time 🙂 I used to scribble a lot of colors on walls and floors from a very young age. My mom’s idea of baby-sitting was to give us (me and my brother) a bunch of sheets and pencils and color pencils and we would be occupied for hours. An artist who lived opposite our house was my inspiration to draw and paint. I used to watch him work with great focus and it was meditative. Incidentally he used to paint on walls too!

I had been painting a lot in my college, three hours a day during our cultural programs, and made some lifelong friends there. Every pleasant memory I have, is associated with some art in the mainstream or background. We used to paint humongous posters and backdrops and I was in love with big canvases and larger than life artworks. I always had a painting brush in my handbag, for as long as I had a handbag. I am not sure I ever used it, but it was the universe’s plan for me, I guess.

 

Strings of heritage- How did you make the transition from software engineer to an artist?

Girija @2flatbrush- It wasn’t a planned transition. It developed organically. When I did my first mural for my home I just put out a Facebook post asking for volunteers to lend me their walls for mural practice. Strangely enough I had a taker and I did my second mural and I started considering mural art as an alternate career. Meanwhile I was more and more dissatisfied with my job. When it got to be too much, I just decided to quit the company. I was thinking of going solo or start my own firm. I still love technology and I keep myself up-to-date.

Girija @2flatbrush

Girija @2flatbrush Pic credit -Preethiprabhu

Strings of heritage- Was it a planned change or sudden?

Girija @2flatbrush- As soon as I drafted my resignation, I remember going to a job portal site to look for alternate jobs in freelancing. I must have spent five minutes and I got incredibly weary of reading the same job descriptions over and over again. It was then that it struck me, ‘I could be a mural artist!’ It was a no-brainer, as I had the initiative, interest and some basic experience for me to build upon! I didn’t even have three or four pictures for my Facebook page for 2flatbrush:) when I started. It was a crazy adrenaline rush and I launched my business on Facebook. I had steered away from everything comfortable, in just a couple of days. I remember brainstorming with my friends about the name of the business. We had several favorites. There was this brush in my college that I had reserved for painting, it was an ugly flat brush which used to be blue, and I loved it to bits. And it came to my mind at the right time. I looked at the brush in my handbag, and it was size 2, Flat.

 

Girija @2flatbrush

Girija @2flatbrush Pic credit -Preethiprabhu

Strings of heritage- Did you get the support of family when you decided on the transition? What were the challenges you faced?

Girija @2flatbrush- They were already used to my spontaneous decisions, I guess. My parents were used to me, but this time I had in-laws!  They were super supportive as well. There were apprehensions from my near and dear ones, but there was encouragement all around. Everyone for some reason already knew I would be a good artist. Even if they hadn’t seen my works! My husband for one was so excited and there was not an iota of doubt in his mind. I have a great friend circle, and a great family who support me in everything I do.

Girija @2flatbrush

Girija @2flatbrush Pic credit- Preethiprabhu

Strings of heritage- When you look back today, would you have done something differently with your life,education or decisions?

Girija @2flatbrush- I would probably be more polite and less rowdier I guess 🙂 Art has softened me and made me much more empathetic than I ever was. I wouldn’t revise any of my decisions or education.

Strings of heritage- How do you decide on what to paint next when it is not a commissioned work?

Girija @2flatbrush- It is not a decision, it is just coming into being, I think. I believe I am a medium, and the paintings flow through me, not from me. I have lots and lots of ideas that always come to me while day-dreaming:) I note some of them down, forget many, and forget what the note is about sometimes too! I read a lot, and I am tuned into many social issues as well, and it inspires me and gives me a lot of new ideas all the time. I want to paint every day, and I never run out of ideas. If I ever feel out of my element a quick meet up with my friends or a good book will put me right back in my studio.

Girija @2flatbrush

Girija @2flatbrush Pic credit- Preethiprabhu

 

Strings of heritage- Why do you love murals?

Girija @2flatbrush-  Firstly, because it shares five letters with my husband Murali. 🙂 I know it’s a tacky answer, but maybe there’s a pattern to how the universe matches us with things.

Jokes apart, I have always been an introvert, and I get intimidated by outgoing, confident and assertive people. Large paintings are a way to assert myself, it’s my little way of showcasing who I want to be. Little things blown up larger than life give us a unique perspective on things, and give us a sense of wonder. I think any artist looks for this wonder, ‘elusive wonder’ that we try and package into music, dance or art.

Strings of heritage-  Your favourite subject to paint?

Girija @2flatbrush- I am forever obsessed with faces and hands. I love thoughtful paintings that add layers to it than just a visual appeal.

Strings of heritage-  Any favourite medium ?

Girija @2flatbrush- Acrylic for life. On everything. (Canvas, walls, doors, skin)

Girija @2flatbrush

Girija @2flatbrush Pic credit- Preethiprabhu

Strings of heritage- Your thoughts on experiments in art, your favourite artist and contemporary art.

Girija @2flatbrush- I am so psyched about art installations. Larger than life art installations that just literally make you walk in to the art. I love amalgamation of several art forms and collaboration of artists.

There’s no single favorite. But I love the lines of MF Hussain, the fearless Frida Kahlo, Acrylic techniques of Milind Nayak, an old man in Jayanagar who doesn’t sell his works but just wants to express himself in inks, and displays art just for pleasure, my brother who was the first portrait artist I knew, and a million others I follow on Instagram who inspire me every day. I love oil painters who have the patience to layer and glaze. I love a lot of illustrators and comics who comment on social issues relentlessly. Most of all, I love sculptures and our traditional nameless painters of Indian Historic murals of all religions.

 

Strings of heritage– Do you think an education in art is relevant to ones success?

Girija @2flatbrush- Success is a dicey term. It is set by one self. I don’t see art as a means to an end. Art is itself success, to be able to express yourself creatively is a success, and to package wonder is a success. Art itself is an education. Having said that,I see tremendous improvement in my work in the last three years working full time. So if art education lets you practice for years, I am all for it. I am for anything that’s a focused approach to practice your craft without you having to look over your shoulder for validation all the time. So a formal education is both bad and good in some ways.

 

Strings of heritage- Where do you see yourself five years down the line in terms of your evolution as an artist?

Girija @2flatbrush- I have my cake and I am eating it too. In five years, I want to be able to do what I am doing right now:) Live, love and paint! If I am able to bring about some social awareness through some public art, it will be the cherry on the cake.

Girija @2flatbrush

Draupadi, the five elements expressing her life and emotions

 

Strings of heritage- Any advice that you could give from your own experience? Be it in terms of changing career tracks, to art or otherwise. This is especially so as any change comes with its own challenges.

Girija @2flatbrush- I am not a big fan of advice. Giving or taking. But these are what worked for me.

  1. Integrity. Do what you say. Say what you do.
  2. Build a network. You can’t sit around in your studio if you are making life changing decisions.
  3. Trust yourself. Be your own warrior, even if you stumble.
  4. Learn relentlessly.
  5. If you are changing careers don’t expect comfort. If you want comfort go back to your old job.
  6. Be comfortable with your finances. You might earn less than, or minimum wages (there’s no such thing in India, another political issue) for a long while. You should be ok with cutting down costs while you are building a client base.

 

Thank you Girija,for sharing so much of yourself with us.

Girija @2flatbrush

Girija @2flatbrush

 

And that was Girija @2flatbrush for you. You can follow her work @2flatbrush in instagram and facebook. If you want to contribute towards educating a child, contact Girija on her profile.

 

Write to me and share your thoughts or challenges you faced with transition.

Lots of Twinkles to all of you.

Anupama

Cherial Art

Cherial Art

When I meet artist Sai Kiran Varma, what strikes me every time is his love for Cherial art and passion to take it forward. Young and dynamic, he has chucked all other opportunities to work in the revival of Cherial Art. His degree in Fine Arts from Venkateshwara College of Fine Arts has enabled him to take this forward, innovate in product design and also spread the word for this art form which is at the brink of its survival. He fondly mentions Smt. Vani Devi, the Prinicipal at the Venkateshwara Fine Arts college, who gave him the opportunity to take up the course at the college and encouraged him. Having learnt the artforms of making Cherial dolls, masks and scroll paintings from his parents D.Nageshwar and D Padma, both state awardees, he has innovated by making a lot utility products such as pen stands, key chains, frames and stands for shades. His flair for the art form and expertise shines through as his workshops are conducted in an effortless manner. Accompanying his father from a very young age to all the workshops, he is a pro at it.

 

Cherial Art Sai Kiran Varma. Workshop with Strings of Heritage

Cherial Art Sai Kiran Varma. Workshop with Strings of Heritage

 

Cherial Art Sai Kiran Varma

Mask making

Cherial Scroll Painting-

Though literacy was not very common in ancient India, most of the people were educated. The oral traditions of story telling, plays and performance arts ensured that people in the villages were well versed in the scriptures, rules and principles of society and the religious practices. Scroll paintings played a major role in this education. Known by different names in different states, the artistic style and stories varied to suit the audience but the essence and spirit remained the same – The spread of our culture and traditions. Scroll paintings from Telangana are the Cherial scroll paintings, unique in the particular motifs, village life scenes and dressing. These paintings were traditionally 3 feet wide and 35 to 40 feet in length, opening up like a scroll or a film roll. Accompanied by some music, this was the only entertainment for the villagers. The stories such as epics of Ramayana, Mahabharatha, Puranas, Devi Mahatme were depicted in the scrolls by artists, scenes were separated by floral borders and opened up to reveal the story in a linear manner. Intricate and beautiful, with bright red background and colours made from natural sources, this was widely patronized. But now with increasing affluence, unfortunately we don’t place enough value on this precious art form. For the lack of patrons, this has now dwindled to single panels for home décor.

Cherial art scroll painting

Cherial Art Sai Kiran Varma. Workshop with Strings of Heritage

 

The preparation of this scroll painting is a laborious process, where the base is the khadi cloth which needs to be prepped before painting. Rice starch, white mud, tamarind seed paste and Arabic gum are mixed to form a paste and this is then applied on the cloth. Each layer needs to be dried before the next layer is applied. This is repeated atleast three times to provide some stiffness to the material. Thereafter, it is painted.

Cherial Art Sai Kiran Varma. Workshop with Strings of Heritage

Cherial Art -Mask making Sai Kiran Varma. Workshop with Strings of Heritage

 

Cherial Mask Making-

Cherial art is not only about scroll painting but also masks and dolls. From these scroll paintings, characters were adapted for masks, general characters such as man, woman, cow, tiger etc which were used in plays and for story telling. These masks are again prepared on a base of tamarind seed paste mixed with saw dust. The features are made in free hand, allowed to dry thoroughly, covered with a cloth, painted a base coat in white, after which they are painted in bright colours of green, red, blue or yellow. A fun activity for kids and grown up alike, the material is much like clay and easy to work with.

Cherial Art Sai Kiran Varma. Workshop with Strings of Heritage

Cherial Art Sai Kiran Varma. Workshop with Strings of Heritage

Cherial dolls-

Cherial Dolls are made from the locally available light weight wood called ‘Poniki’. The three dimensional figure is created with tamarind seed paste mixed with saw dust. These are used to create features on the dolls. This is then wrapped in cloth pieces and a coating of liquid white lime is applied. This is the base over which colours are applied. The colours bring in the beauty of the work with the stylized features and ornaments.

Cherial Art Sai Kiran Varma. Workshop with Strings of Heritage

Cherial Art Sai Kiran Varma. Workshop with Strings of Heritage. Pic Credit- Spandana

 

Cherial Art Sai Kiran Varma. Workshop with Strings of Heritage

Cherial Art Sai Kiran Varma. Workshop with Strings of Heritage

Cherial art needs patrons to spread the word and preserve the art form. In the olden days with the kings and kingdoms there was also the love for art. Otherwise these art forms would have died a natural death. But now, with our prosperity we are leaving behind the artists who are preserving this legacy.  Let us learn Cherial art fom artist Sai Kiran Varma, bring home these pieces of art and our heritage and spread the word.

 

Lots of Twinkles to all of you.

Anu

 

PS- Strings of Heritage conducts Cherial mask making and scroll painting workshops in collaboration with the artist, Sai Kiran Varma.

Vidya Vox

Vidya Vox

Well, what would you do if you had a blog and loved Vidya Vox? Ask her for an interview offcourse! Un-edited and from the heart. Vidya has found her Calling…have you?

Hi Vidya,

I would like to ask you a couple of questions for my blog post on you. Actually when it comes to asking questions to a celebrity the problem is that most of it is available online. So even before i started thinking of what I wanted to ask you, most of my questions stand answered. The Q and A you did with Shankar, your interviews in Dubai and Mauritius, your blog and so on…But I write about an artist from the point of view of their journey to and through the art. So I would like to have a sense of Vidya Vox before she became a celebrity and the after effects of being famous.

Vidya Vox

Vidya Vox. Photos used with Vidya’s permission

 

I had sooo many questions and here are Vidya’s answers. 

 

Strings Of Heritage – You were in India until you were 8…was the relocation and transition to a different country and culture difficult for you? What made the transition easier?

Vidya Vox – It was really difficult in the beginning. I had different terminologies for things like “dustbin” instead of “trashcan.” Most of my elementary school and middle school years it was tough being an Indian person. My mom would pack me roti and daal for lunch and while I’m so grateful for that today, I would beg her to pack me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead, because I’d be bullied for having lunch that smelled like “curry” and “gross.” I hid my Indian roots for a while and it was only the last year of high school and fully in college that I figured out how to balance both.

 

Strings Of Heritage – Was music always important for you? When did you start training in music?

Vidya Vox – I started training when I was 5. Music has always been my source of calm, anti-stress. Anytime I would feel stressed out by academics, I would resort to practicing scales as my stress reliever and center myself. I still do that today. And I love that it has stayed that way.

Vidya Vox

Vidya Vox. Photos used with Vidya’s permission

 

Vidya Vox

Vidya Vox – The Diva. Photos used with Vidya’s permission

 

Strings Of Heritage – We keep changing our dreams, ambitions and goals when young. So what was your dream when you were 8, 13, 18  and 21? Was it always music and singing?

Vidya Vox – Maybe when I was 8, my sister and I would prance around our bedroom thinking we were rockstars. But as I grew older, music was only in my wildest dreams. I started loving science and I really wanted to be an environmental engineer. When I was 18 or so, I wanted to be a doctor, that’s what I set out to do in college.

 

Strings Of Heritage – You were about to pursue a career in Medicine…so what happened?

Vidya Vox – I met Shankar Tucker and collaborated with him! He was definitely the turning point in my life, and showed that YouTube can be a platform for self-expression in ways that people didn’t have access to it before. He was doing it in India when not many people had turned to YouTube for music at that time. That’s when the seed was planted in my head. I started touring with him while in college, and I really saw that maybe it could be a possibility. I think its crazy that I can upload a video in LA and people across the globe can see it.

Vidya Vox

Vidya Vox -Passionate about singing. Photos used with Vidya’s permission

 

Strings Of Heritage – How many languages do you speak? You have sung in so many languages, any plans to learn any new language?

Vidya Vox – I mainly speak Tamil, a little bit of Malayalam, a little Hindi. When I sing in different languages, I always ask a native speaker of the language to correct any pronunciation errors and the accent. I would love to learn Spanish. I took classes in high school and college but I don’t remember much of it anymore. I would also love to learn Malayalam properly! My grandmother and mom speak it fluently.

 

Strings Of Heritage – Of all your albums, which ones your favourite song?

Vidya Vox – Ahh! That would be like asking me to pick my favorite child. Just kidding –  I really love all of the original songs that Shankar and I have written like Kuthu Fire, Be Free, Show Me Your Light, etc. The process of writing these was difficult. I think while doing covers are great, you don’t get to explore your own style or music. I’m so proud of the way the EP turned out!

Strings Of Heritage – Did you have a mentor or an inspiration for singing?

Vidya Vox – So many! Beyonce, Adele, Major Lazer, Coldplay, AR Rahman, Kaushiki

Vidya Vox

Vidya Vox. Photos used with Vidya’s permission

 

Strings Of Heritage – You mentioned in your interview in Mauritius that after your graduation you felt that a career in music may work and you came to India for training? Could you tell me about this phase?

Vidya Vox – After graduating, I was working in a cardiology clinic and studying for my MCATs and I really was miserable. It was then I finally decided I was going to take the plunge. I needed to get back to training and practice a lot before I could even think of putting out a video. At that point, it had been a few years since I had taken a music class. I started learning Hindustani classical as well as Western vocals in Mumbai. It was an amazing time, I made some really lifelong friends there. I was still touring with Shankar in India at that time, and it was so much fun. I still learn today, I feel like I can never stop learning!

 

Strings Of Heritage – Your favourite memory from childhood? Something that you would like to tell us about? How were you as a child…naughty, quiet or a prankster?

Vidya Vox – I was a shy and quiet child. It was my sister who was naughty and outspoken. But that changed in high school, I became more outspoken.

 

Strings Of Heritage – What was your childhood like? did you win any prizes for singing, something that you cherish?

Vidya Vox – I didn’t actually. Up until I was 12 or 13, I didn’t enjoy music much so I didn’t take practicing seriously. I really had to work hard on music as I grew up, it was something that I loved, but it took a lot of hours of dedication. I do have a lot of amazing memories with my grandma, who would play music games with us when we were kids. She would keep testing us on ragas while listening to movie songs, etc.

Vidya Vox

Vidya Vox. Photos used with Vidya’s permission

 

Strings Of Heritage – I love your sense of style, the Indo western style that you have, the chunky accessories…Who is your inspiration? Do you put it together yourself? Some tips to your fans on your style quotient?

Vidya Vox – Thank you! Yes I do, I do it myself! I love fashion. You can say so much without saying anything, and I think that’s powerful. It’s a form of self expression – I say just wear what you are comfortable in and don’t be afraid to take risks! It can be fun, even if they don’t work all the time. My style inspiration is Rihanna and MIA. I really love their attitude towards fashion – they are bold and wear what they love.

Vidya Vox

Vidya Vox – Vidya’s Style quotient. Photos used with Vidya’s permission

 

Strings Of Heritage – Whats your favourite part? Singing or composing?

Vidya Vox – Both! I love the process of it. Singing is a part of composing, its always present. I love the feeling of taking an idea and finish it into a fully completed song. That’s a rewarding process. Sometimes the songs don’t work; however, it’s the process of writing it that leads to better ideas and eventually better songs.

 

Strings Of Heritage – Who are you as a person? What do you like, dislike, are you a desserts kind of person? A little about yourself…I do know you like to watch movies with pizza or tacos in your pajamas. So something other than that.

Vidya Vox – Oh man, I’m such a foodie! It’s so hard, especially on tour because you have to try and eat as healthy as possible, but that can be so hard. I also LOVE interior design. I’m constantly revamping my space and decorating my friends’ houses. It’s one of my favorite hobbies. I absolutely love dessert, especially cake. I love a fresh fruit cake, one of my favorites and I get it every year on my birthday.

Vidya Vox

Vidya Vox. Photos used with Vidya’s permission

 

Strings Of Heritage – How was it when you started? When we start off with something new there is always this doubt…so did it happen to you? When did that change and how is it now when you are a celebrity?

Vidya Vox – It was terrifying. I spent a lot of sleepless nights, but I never doubted my path. Music felt right to me, and I was going to do it no matter what. But sometimes the path didn’t seem so clear and that would keep me up at night. It’s so weird to even see “celebrity” and my name in the same sentence. I don’t give it much thought, as things like that can change. My main focus is my music, and being able to create songs that other people can connect with. That’s the best part of being able to be a musician.

 

Strings Of Heritage – Why Vidya Vox and not Iyer?

Vidya Vox – Vox means voice in Latin. When Shankar and I were thinking of names for my channel, I wanted to make it something interesting, not my name, and not something like “Vidya’s music” etc. When recording my vocals, Shankar names my vocal tracks as “Vidya Vox” and he suggested that could be a cool name for the channel and I loved it.

Vidya Vox

Vidya Vox. Photos used with Vidya’s permission

 

Strings Of Heritage – I have asked quite a lot of questions….hope you will answer them all. Last one…what would be your advice to youngsters who want to make a career in music? Something that you learnt in your own journey?

Vidya Vox – I realized the importance of efficient practice when I was in high school and I think that’s really important. Even if scales seem basic, it’s important to always be practicing them as they are the foundation for everything else. Also, never give up! Every career path is tough, but if you love it, it won’t feel like work at all. Cheers!

 

And that dear friends is Vidya Vox for you….thanks a ton Vidya for taking time to answer my questions. 

Follow your heart!

Lots of Twinkles to all of you.

Anu

 

Museum of Goa

Museum of Goa

The idea was not to go to a museum. It was just another beach holiday. Though we were born and brought up literally next to the beach, once you uproot yourself and live elsewhere, the beach has a special pull. And with a five year old, reason goes right out of the window…otherwise who in their right senses thinks of a beach at 11 in the morning? Well to cut the long story short, we just gave in to her demands and set off for the beach.
Museum of Goa - A must visit

Museum of Goa

At the intersection to Calangute beach, we see a board ‘Museum of Goa’ History of Goa through contemporary art..five minutes away. Well, guess what? We take a detour. I think so much like life…you set out with a plan but life offers you an unexpected choice and you change your mind. Everything happens for a reason. The Museum changed the way I saw art and especially contemporary art. I think just like the artist Subodh Kerkar, whose work is displayed at the museum, I have to start educating myself on how to interpret this beautiful medium of expression.
Museum of Goa

Museum of Goa

A holiday in Goa cannot be complete without a visit to this museum. Right from social, economic, religious and emotional aspects, it explores Goa through the medium of the ocean, shells, coconuts, chillies, laterite stones, indigo dyes and all that has shaped, transformed and made Goa, the Goa we all know. Subodh Kerkar’s work explores the many social, economic, emotional layers of Goa and the Goans. Also on display are works by other artists …..
Museum of Goa

Museum of Goa

Museum of Goa

Museum of Goa

The video happening in the auditorium gives us a glimpse into the artists mind and motivation. Subodh Kerkar is a successful doctor turned to watercolour artist to an ocean artist working in contemporary art and art installations. His work speaks of his evolution and inturn helps us evolve and learn. I especially loved the different formations by the fishermen as a boat, a fish demonstrating their oneness with the ocean. Their life and fortune is entwined with the ocean and the tides. This depiction totally moves an empathetic audience.
Museum of Goa

Museum of Goa

Museum of Goa

Museum of Goa

Then there was the collaboration with the ocean….sounds wierd right? How can an artist collaborate with nature or something as vast as an ocean? The artist Subodh Kerkar,   deposited antique ceramic plates in cages on the ocean bed and after months when they were retrieved, they had oysters and pearls on them.
Museum of Goa

Museum of Goa

Museum of Goa

Museum of Goa

And these are just some of the many exhibits here. A lady we met, a visitor from London got talking to us. She shared that she came every year to Goa and every year there was something new to see and experience. That’s Goa for you. A beautiful place full of art, beaches and good food …I could see many art installations at different places in the state. Definitely worth visiting again and more leisurely next time.
Twinkles to all of you.
Anu
Ps- the museum of Goa has a minimum ticket fare of 100/- for Indians and 300/- for foreign nationals.
Tanjore Art

Tanjore Art

Tanjore or Tanjavur art immediately brings to mind gold, precious stones and cherubic Krishnas. It is the art of the royalty which truly flourished as it is today under the rule of the Marathas. Initially adorning walls of temples and palaces, it slowly moved to planks made of teak and rose wood. An elaborate process of preparation is involved in getting the plank ready for the work of art. In the earlier days, the artist would create a piece as per the patron’s wish including the precious stones provided by the patron himself. This was a form of sacrifice, where the riches go back to the Lord but adorn the patron’s house.

Tanjore Art by D Sreenivas

Tanjore Art by D Sreenivas

 

I truly admire the will of the artists to have even to this day maintained the same process on the planks as on the walls. But with the intervention of modern techniques and supplies being available, many of the laborious processes have been tweaked to give the same effect with less pain. This has its advantages as well as disadvantages. Where the end product remains the same, many argue that the natural materials enhance the beauty of the painting over time. Though materials are more easily available when we opt for the modern techniques, the processes largely remain the same.

 

D Sreenivas - Tanjore Artist

D Sreenivas – Tanjore Artist

 

 

Tanjore Art by D Sreenivas

Tanjore Art by D Sreenivas – Work in Progress

 

Mr. D Sreenivas is one such artist who has been working on Tanjore art and Mysore art for more than 20 years now. He tells me that initially it was only teak or rosewood planks being joined together and used as the base. His large repertoire of work consists of the three broad categories of Tanjore, the ones devoted to Vaishnavism, Shaivism and the last one of kings, saints and others. Tanjore art mainly portrays Gods and Godesses as the main icon under the canopy or Prabhavali flanked by other gods, humans and animals. In the earlier paintings, gold was not used as extensively as in the later mid 19th century paintings. The earlier works also had influences of the west where angels could be seen in the sky showering flowers on the diety. In the present context most of the paintings have large isolated deities compared to the more elaborately composed works of the yesteryears.

 

Tanjore Art by D Sreenivas

Tanjore Art by D Sreenivas Work in progress

 

In the earlier days, the canvas consisted of sliced wood planks over which a cardboard would be pasted and over that two layers of cloth. The glue used in those days was made of tamarind seeds. After which white lime paste formed the base to toughen the canvas. This lime paste actually later reacted with the colours making them brighter over the years. In the current format most of the artists use cartridge sheet as the base. The lime paste canvas was then smoothened with a polishing stone and the sketch drawn. An adhesive paste was then formed using raw unboiled lime with the glue of a local tree. The main attraction of Tanjore art is the three dimensional effect given by this layer of paste. Applying two layers gives it a raised platform mainly used to depict and engrave the architectural details, the canopies and jewellery. On this raised part the gold foil is applied and precious stones placed after demarcating and cutting out the gold foil in the identified areas. The remaining portion is then painted. The colours that stand out are pink, green, blue.

Tanjore Art by D Sreenivas

Tanjore Art by D Sreenivas

 

Mr Sreenivas has done several paintings ranging from the tiniest frames to the huge ones. Having loved art from a very young age, he says his notebooks had more drawings than notes. Choosing to follow his passion for art, he pursued a course offered at Chitrakala Parishat in Traditional art and also had mentors in the field of art. He also teaches Tanjore and Mysore art to art enthusiasts. Some of his Tanjore paintings and some work in progress which he generously shared with me have been featured here. Strings of heritage will be collaborating with Mr. Sreenivas in this coming year to bring the beauty of Tanjore to many more homes. Will post updates on workshops shortly.

 

Until then, twinkles to all of you.

Anupama

Bakula Nayak

Bakula Nayak

Here I am writing of an artist, Bakula Nayak whose work is a love story with elements of the fairy tale and whimsy. And I can only think of what a lovely person she is. Shall I tell you of the artist, her journey, her work or her home? It’s been days since we met and the post is pending as I wanted to include her video, which is yet to happen. But even after so many days, I can still feel her exuberance, her positive vibes and her creative instincts. Having visited her home, seen the books she loves, the artwork she chooses to display (none of her own!), her notepad of sketches and ideas, her love for the ordinary and the extraordinary, I can see why I am so muddled and lost for words. Bakula is the fragrant flower who spreads the joy of love through art, but has a sad place in her heart from where soulful poetry flows.

Bakula Nayak - An Artist's Journey

Bakula Nayak – An Artist’s Journey

 

Bakula Nayak - An Artist's Journey

Two cozy rabbits – Art by Bakula Nayak

 

I first came across her artwork in Facebook, which had a lovely pair of birds having tea and her trademark was the vintage paper she used as her base and inspiration. One good thing about blogging is that you lose all inhibitions you would otherwise have. So I immediately connected with her and wanted to meet her. When I meet someone like Bakula Nayak, it makes me very grateful for my work. Otherwise how else would I have met such a wonderful person? Luckily we have a connection and she shares her life with me. Having lost her parents, she treasures their love letters she came across a long time after. Having only seen them as an ordinary couple who never publicly expressed their love, she tells me that it was a revelation for her. Seeing all her drawings treasured by them, brought it all back and she started drawing after a gap of nearly twenty years.

Bakula Nayak - An Artist's Journey

Birds! Seeing this my child asks me if they are her mummy and daddy? A child’s favorite subject…And yes they are her parents!

 

Bakula Nayak - An Artist's Journey

Birds, tea and a garden. All that Bakula loves.

 

Flashback -Though her first love was always design, she could not attend the interview at NID as her father was against her leaving Bangalore. With limited options she completed Architecture, but decided to study design in the US after her engineering. “It wasn’t easy, especially as I had to follow the heavy Southern accent, use the internet and live alone in a foreign country.” But she did manage and came back to be with her mother who was suffering from cancer. Her mother’s only wish was to see her daughter married and Bakula relented. With just a few emails she knew that she had found her soul mate in her husband and they got married. Her mother’s health improved dramatically after the marriage and she lived for some more months happy that her daughter was finally married. She talks of happier times, the drawing competitions she would prepare for, the prize that she received from Rekha (the popular Bollywood actress) and rolling shields. Her mother would always encourage her to conceptualize and plan before she started drawing. She had to draw events from the newspaper such as Indira Gandhi’s cremation and that habit helps her plan her sketches even to this day. She extends the same encouragement to her children and I saw one of her son’s painting which was awesome.

Bakula Nayak - An Artist's Journey

Bakula Nayak’s workspace

 

Bakula Nayak - An Artist's Journey

Motherhood

 

Inspiration –Bakula Nayak finds inspiration everywhere. Her Unplugged series is a witness to her curiosity and attempt to bring the extraordinary to the common man in a simplified and child like manner so as to render it accessible. Tyagayya unplugged, Sangam unplugged, In Adoration of Krishna are her unplugged series where she decodes and demystifies. What connects me to Bakula is that each of these unplugged series is her personal journey, her understanding of the each of these subjects “which picked her rather than the other way around”. I feel the same way with my blog posts, they are my journey, my learning and experience which I share with all of you.

Bakula Nayak - An Artist's Journey

Interpretation of the Pichwais . Art by Bakula Nayak

 

UnpluggedTyagayya was one of the greatest composers of Carnatic music  who wrote musical compositions in Telugu using that which he found in everyday life. Bakula Nayak happened upon the translation in English and rendered it in watercolours. This series sees Rama and Lakshmana sharing a moment of brotherly love but as birds. The Yamuna in another painting is shown in all her splendor as a kind mother who loves all the flora and fauna around and in her. I loved this elaborate painting. Nauka Charitham shows Krishna as a bird, where he works up a storm so that the Gopikas who were teasing him will have to ask his help and be humbled. Sangam unplugged is Tamil poetry on love and war. In Bakula’s words she “only knows Love” as a mother, an artist and a lover. With any tragedy in our lives, it becomes difficult to keep our faith in God and her faith was shaken with the death of her parents. ‘In Adoration of Krishna’ explores her relationship with Hari and the more formal settings of the Pichwai paintings find their place on Bakula’s canvas showing aspects of motherly love with a cow and calf, and divine love with a pair of herons. With the final painting, she says that she just could not do it and Hari had abandoned her. It is this creative honesty which is so much a part of Bakula that endears her. Her signature style of whimsical on vintage paper is usually presented in collaboration with artists from other spheres.

Bakula Nayak - An Artist's Journey

Romantic love -An interpretation of Romantic love. Art by Bakula Nayak

 

Bakula Nayak - An Artist's Journey

The Yamuna river forms a part of the Tyagayya Unplugged series

 

Collections –She collects anything and everything vintage. Right from matchboxes, matchbox holders, frames, mirrors, photos to aftershave lotion bottles fashioned like cars. I loved her collection of antiques and her ‘vintage stash’. But off course with Bakula, it’s the birds you see everywhere.

Vintage collection- Bakula Nayak

Bakula Nayak’s love for all that is old

 

Bakula Nayak - An Artist's Journey

Bakula Nayak – An Artist’s Journey

 

Bakula shows me a passage from a book that she is reading and it’s all about the ‘creative surplus’ in an artist which creates an interaction and ‘impels the artist to love and understand the world for its own sake.’ With inspiration, Bakula dips into books to understand and love the world. Bakula Nayak is an inspiration to explore all that is within you waiting to be explored and let free. It is not just her art, but her courage in exploring an aspect of herself which had not seen the light for twenty long years. Her courage in fighting back when her health is not great and losing herself in art which only shows love. Her poetry is a small window to her soul but she chooses to assert with love. Her home is a reflection of her personality and I have some lovely glimpses from her home. But that is for another day. Until then stay inspired. Light up from within.

 

Bakula Nayak - An Artist's Journey

Bakula Nayak – An Artist’s Journey

 

Bakula Nayak - An Artist's Journey

The bird is lost in the melodies just as we lose ourselves in the beauty of these paintings. Art by Bakula Nayak.

 

Lots of Twinkles to all of you.

Happy Diwali.

Anupama

PS – Images of artwork by Bakula Nayak are her property and need her permission to be used.