Monday, October 27, 2014

Sketching at Harimandir Sahib, in 2012

I always wanted to sketch Harimandir Sahib. So when I visited the gurudwara on Aug 25, 2012, I took about 40 minutes to sketch this. 

When you start drawing, boy do people wana watch you draw! I still remember the scene, it was a very memorable and yet familiar moment.

A crowd had gathered around me and there were people who were passing by, stopping for a few seconds to take a look at what was happening.

There were pilgrims lying on the floor right behind me who were watching me draw. There was this kid, who was observing me very closely. He later told me that he liked to draw and wanted to learn from me. After I finished, we left the temple with some fond memories.

Last year, when I was working on this commission on Harimandir Sahib. I actually used this sketch for the painting!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Episode 1 - Hari Singh Nalwa

In this video, I paint Hari Singh Nalwa's armour. And I narrate my painting process.

Prints available at:

Hari Singh Nalwa was great general of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s kingdom. At a young age, while on a hunting trip, he was attacked by a tiger. With his bare hands, he pushed back the tiger, drew his sword and decapitated the beast. He was known for his excellent swordsmanship and chivalry. His father had been serving Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s army. All of this became the deciding factors for the Maharaja to accept him in his royal service. He was given a small army of horsemen and so began Nalwa’s career as a General.

He participated in the conquests of Sialkot, Kasur (1807), Multan (1818), Kashmir (1819), Pakhli and Damtaur (1821-2), Peshawar (1834) and finally Jamrud in the Khyber Hills (1837). He defeated the Afghans, something the British failed to do, and annexed a segment of what was the Kingdom of Kabul to the Sikh Kingdom. In Peshawar, he rebuilt the Bala Hisar Fort in Maharaja’s name. He also built a chain of fortresses on his conquests to strengthen his hold. He also built one in his own name, Haripur. This expanded Punjab towards the North-west into the lands of Afghanistan, blocked off the Khyber Pass (which was pass through the mountains often used by Persian and Afghan invaders to loot and plunder Hindustan), and instilled fear of his name among the Afghan tribes.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Guru Arjun Dev ji - Sketch

Meditating on Hari, my and mind are totally rejuvenated, and the garden of my mind has blossomed forth in lush abundance. - Guru Ramdas ji, 849

I want to carry this metaphor of the garden to the painting, and show an abundance of greenery, flowers, and birds and animals around Guru Arjun Dev ji, as he meditates.

I also want to try experimenting with giving him an instrument at some point. But I also like the pose from my previous painting of Guru Sahib, which maintains continuity.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Guru Arjun Dev ji - Facial Resemblance

Using my previous painting of Guru Arjun Dev ji's martyrdom, I am trying to get a similar face for a new painting. I think having some resemblance will connect the two paintings and therefore identify the Guru in the new painting as Guru Arjun Dev ji. 

This is important because the new painting isn't portraying any event that is from Guru Arjun Dev ji's life, and so it will be harder to identify the person in the painting without a foundation. So in this case that foundation is the painting of Guru Arjun Dev ji's martyrdom.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Portrait of Dasam Pita - Colouring Process 2

I finished the base colours. At this point I am going to paint on top of it, clean it up and detail it.

This is a huge painting, 5" high. Guru Sahib's larger than life personality requires a larger than life portrait!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Portrait of Dasam Pita - Colouring Process

Back when photography was in early stages, they didn't have a way to capture colour on to film. So they would take black and white photos then add colour to them later.
This painting has gone through a similar process. I painted it in black white and I am just now beginning to add some colour. Starting with Guru Sahib's face. I apply the first layer of base colours.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bhai Kanhaiya - Slow Painting 2

I'm satisfied with how Bhai Kanhaiya ji's clothes are turning out so far. But there's still some more work to do. 

The original speed painting can be found here:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Bhai Kanhaiya

It's happening! Been working on Bhai Kanhaiya all night and converting it from a speed painting to a ... slow painting!?

You can see the speed painting here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Today I just had a burst of inspiration and I spent all day working on this. Started out as a sketch of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Then everything else just naturally flowed in and came together with ease.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Thinker

A commission I did back in 2010, showing a Singh contemplating his actions, his purpose in this world. The men in the back are going to war, but this man has stepped outside the herd.

Based on the bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin, 'The Thinker'.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

'Nihang' Then and Now

I was feeling a bit agitated earlier. And so when I was looking through some old stuff, I saw this sketch I did back in 2007, titled 'Nihang', depicting some kind of a young nihang superhero. The expression resonated immediately. I had a thought, "what if I redid this sketch? what would it look like now, in 2014?" I got to work. Focusing mostly on the expression, I tried pushing it to a heightened level of anger, frustration and vulnerability. "Letting it all out"

Memories of Summer 2012

While rummaging through my files and folders, I found this really cool photograph that my sister took while I was sketching in Baba Budda Sahib Gurudwara.

I was going to use this concept - a silhouette bathing in light in deep meditation - in a painting but it's been 2 years and I never got to it.

I am going to see if I can find what I was sketching at the time.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Blind Chakram on Howdah - Colouring Process 4

The sky is set ablaze, and the lightning burns the retina.

Hathi Mere Sathi

As you can see from the bottom corners, the base colour is blue, meaning I am painting other colours on top of a blue underpainting. So that blue is gona pop out in places, especially shadows, and complement the oranges and reds in the sky.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Blind Chakram on Howdah - Colouring Process 2

This weekend I returned to Blind Chakram on Howdah, colouring and detailing the driver and the howdah.

Looks like this Singh is gona need a bit more work. He's a little too rough-looking for my taste. Once all the colours are in place, I'll be refining him and the rest of the painting.

Next up, the elephant!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Portrait of Dasam Pita, 10th Master

It's a work in progress. I am still thinking about whether I should complete it, and whether I should colour it or leave it black and white.