Friday, October 28, 2011

ROM 2: European and Indian Firearms

Last weekend we paid ROM a visit yet again. This time with a smaller sketch group we put our attention to the European firearms section.

I left this section after drawing several pistols and revolvers to draw Indian medieval guns: Toradar and the Afghani gun: Jezail. Let me tell you, looking at photos online and looking at actual guns in front of you are two totally different experiences. The latter is much more rich and vivid. "You had to be there" sort of thing. All the details on the guns are visible from the designs and embellishment to the marks and scratches that it accumulated over the years.

By the way, Toradar will be seen in my Hari Singh Nalwa painting, and Jezail appears with the Afghan musketeers in the Age of Empire 3 Mod I am working on.

There are always lots of children in the ROM. At one point, while I was studying the bedsheet/curtain motifs, a whole bunch of kids gathered around me to look at the designs I was studying. But never have I had a child look at my work so closely. While I was studying firearms in the European section, one Asian kid came up and literally hovered over my sketchbook to see what I was doing. He was so intrigued and fascinated by it! We also talked a little bit before I went back to my meditation.

We are filled with so much curiosity when we are children. We look at things and enjoy them simply through our senses without thinking about events from the past or worries of the future. We simply look and are satisfied by the act of looking. Fulfilled with any sense experience that comes our way.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sheridan, ROM and Birds

Sheridan's been awesome so far. I am enjoying the experience of drawing for hours and hours everyday. I have been drawing from life, still life and boxes mostly.

The first week I just happened to stumble into like-minded people who (with intensity) wanted to get better at making art. We were sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch talking about art and artists mostly. We somehow got into a discussion of making a sketchgroup that would go around sketching things, people, environment, etc. While we were still discussing the details, I suggested that we get started without wasting precious time discussing it. Usually when you want to do something, you end up talking about it for hours and hours and when the time comes to actually do it, you are too tired to actually do it. If you still have the energy to do it sometimes you feel gratification for just having discussed it. You feel satisfied that you discussed the idea and think you can get away with delaying action. I was not going to let that happen to us.

So I said "Let's do it!" and we began sketching people in the cafeteria. I discovered that I really enjoyed doing this. Not only because some people are really cool and you get into interesting conversations with them while you sketch them but also because in the caf, people are talking, gesturing, going through series of facial expressions, eating lunch and moving around. These moving faces and hands are very difficult to draw... and I found I really enjoyed this challenge.

Yesterday, we took our sketchgroup to the Royal Ontario Museum to study things like dinosaurs, animals, birds and carpet motifs. Yes carpet motifs. For my Hari Singh Nalwa piece, I wanted to study Indian carpet, bedsheet and curtain motifs so I can make the painting look authentic. I want to have the painting look historically accurate and have a royal feel to it. After my study, I will paint similar designs onto the carpet and walls, which right now are the only major things that are left in the painting.

I studied the hanging bedsheet/curtain thing for an hour or so before moving on to birds and animals. People were walking by complimenting us and asking us question about our program and why we were drawing etc. Sometimes hovering too closely to look at the work... which sometimes got awkward... Good times. :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Akalini: Warrior Monk

I'll keep this one short since I want to keep a balanced post length on this blog.

I always wanted to do a female warrior inspired by Sikh aesthetics. I have painted several Akali-inspired males in a fantasy setting so I thought my next one should be a female. Luckily everything here just fell into place, the colours, pose, armour and everything. The male ones did not turn out as well as this one, which is why I did not upload them. However, they became a source of ideas and inspiration for me.

Inspired by Akali Snake Charmer piece, the idea came from a painting of one of those male Akalis, in whose background I had drawn a silhouette of an Akali with a really tall turban and armour spikes. So I cropped out the silhouette, enlarged it and started working on it.

This piece was obviously inspired by Akalis but Akali women never dress like this nor are they ever monks. This made it really exciting for me to work on it. I intended to push the fantasy style and context of this piece by adding armour pieces that are clearly unreal. It is not possible to fight in such large turbans either. (Hint: This is a fantasy piece NOT a historical one.)

This was a nice break from my Hari Singh Nalwa painting.

Click on the image to see the full version.