Sunday, 21 April 2013

Pencil Jammers at Dakshina Chitra

Dakshina Chitra is a heritage village which showcases the art, architecture, crafts, culture, and traditions of South India. It is located on the Southern edge of Chennai on the coastal road to Mamallapuram (formerly known as Mahabalipuram). Dakshina Chitra is a very interesting place, well worth visiting for anyone, and in particular for tourists if they wish to experience a bit of many parts of South India in a short span of time without actually travelling to all the places.

My wife, daughter and I are frequent visitors but most of my sketch group friends from PencilJammers were visiting Dakshina Chitra for the first time. They were bowled over by all that was there to see and sketch, and decided that this was yet another place that the group had to visit regularly. You can see a small sample of it here.

Villages in South India have a guardian deity at the entrance to the village and in Tamilnadu this deity is known as Ayyanar. Dakshina Chitra too has an Ayyanar Temple for the benefit of its visitors and this is the place that we all met at. But while we were sketching the subjects of our choice, a procession of men in huge colourful masks accompanied by trumpeters and drummers swept past us. We were all very curious and followed them and found that this was a troupe from Karnataka (a neighbouring state in South India) who were there at Dakshina Chitra to perform a traditional masked dance.

The dance was very attractive and energetic and at the end of it the dancers took off their masks and rested for a while. Some of my friends sketched the dancers in motion and a few attempted quick portraits when they took a break. I chose to do a quick pen & ink sketch of the masks which the dancers had lined up on chairs while they rested.

After that we all went back to our orginal spots to continue on the sketches that we had started earlier. I made further progress on a sketch of the Ayyanar Temple which I had started earlier and then had to leave. I completed the sketch later that day at home.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Dream Of The Black Sun

I was with the Pencil Jammers once again early in Oct 2012 at Cholamandal Artists Village and this time we had a large number of children for company as you can see from the pictures here. The children were merely visiting the village but many of them seemed to like watching us draw. Several came and chatted with us. A few complimented us on our drawings. I was very impressed with how polite they all were and felt very stimulated by their visit.

This time I did two sketches. My first was a pen and ink sketch of a sculpture called "Dream of the Black Sun" by ND Rajasekharan. I completed the outline and mapping of contours, light and shadows on location and then worked on increasing the value range at home.
The second is a 30 minute sketch of the still life set up for the day by the Cholamandal artists. Many of the artists gathered there that morning concentrated on the still life. But I was keen to see what I could manage in half an hour using just one pen and that too without any graphite pre-drawing. I therefore sketched directly with a 2.0 Sakura Calligraphy sketch pen which allows me to vary line weights.