Saturday, December 25, 2010


25 Dec 2010 - HorsesAll

I’m totally into horses at the moment. They are such bee-yoo-ti-ful animals. You realize it more when you draw them. These are preparatory sketches for a new illustration series.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Photo of the Week - Munchkin and Chubary

He’s getting a bit absent-minded. Loves sunning himself.
It’s Chubary’s birthday tomorrow. He was a 'Happy Holidays' puppy. ;-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

WIFI–Interesting Take on Education - Sir Ken Robinson

RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms

I’m learning more from my informal education than I did with the formal one.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Drawing–The Girl Pierrot

12 Dec 2010 - GirlPierrot1

I just gave my third grade violin exam yesterday. It was a grueling day, practice from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., then the exam at 5.15 p.m. I was too wound up to do much when I got back. Now I have a week’s holiday before I start with the fourth grade music lessons.

And, of course, I’ve to prepare for the third grade vocal exam in April. That ought to be easier since I’ve already memorized everything.

Work on the book ‘The Sunshine Time’ is coming along really well.  The characters are brilliant, if I say so myself.

The drawing here was done on a book that has long outlived its purpose ‘Internet for Dummies’. It was either throw it out or reuse, so I’m reusing.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sketchbook - Aai

25 Nov 2010 - Aai

  I’m reading ‘The Practice & Science of Drawing’ by Harold Speed. It’s quite interesting.

Here’s an excerpt -

 “…every age differs in its temperament, and the artistic conventions of one age seldom fit another. The artist has to discover a convention for himself, one that fits his particular individuality. But this is done simply and naturally—not by starting out with the intention of flouting all traditional conventions on principle; nor, on the other hand, by accepting them all on principle, but by simply following his own bent and selecting what appeals to him in anything and everything that comes within the range of his vision. The result is likely to be something very different from 76the violent exploits in peculiarity that have been masquerading as originality lately. Originality is more concerned with sincerity than with peculiarity.”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Children's Illustration - Kapok Girl

Kapok Girl3
5 Sept - Kapok GirlM

Instead of inking, I cleaned up the drawing with sharper pencil lines, scanned and added a red layer. Then I colored digitally over that.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Photo of the Week - Burning the Midnight Oil

Barkya4Barkya2Barkya1  Barkya3
Photo Credit - Kadambini Panse
I was up late working on an illustration, and I had company. This is Barkya, the pup. He came to stay with us on 17 June, and is now about 5 months old.  Great personality, but slacks on the job, as you see.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Working on New Illustrations

The project is a series of retold Indian folk tales.  There are fourteen stories in all. Woman1
The accompanying illustration is not part of the work, but I'm considering using the same pencil style for the new illustrations.
I enjoy working with 0.5 2B mechanical pencils.
I also like working in acrylics, and, as part of the illustrations are to be in color, I'll do them in acrylic. In  a loose painterly style.
I'm just about to receive 15 500ml acrylic color bottles and a huge canvas roll. Can't wait!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Photo of the Week - Munchkin and Meijin

Munchkin and Meijin2 Munchkin and MeijinZ
They are not usually a lovey-dovey pair, but they were in rare mood the other day.
Munchkin is the white chap. He was twelve in May. Meijin will be five in October.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sketchbook - My Sister

 Bini1 Bini2
















I like the lines in these sketches. The scans could have been better. 

There's a bit of an upheaval going on here with more work on the house. The new front gate is lovely - I designed it, so I'm extra proud. I'll post the design and the photo in the next post.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Rainy Day


It’s a warm, still day. I’m chewing on a blade of grass and really don’t intend to get anything done. Certainly I’m not going to write. Writing requires thinking. Right now I don’t want to think. I’ve been feeling jaded and worn for some time now and I want to get past that. The light in the back garden is amazingly beautiful. Sunlight and Shadow, and Shadow and Sunlight. It keeps changing from moment to moment, making leafy patterns on my dress as I lie there on the grass. I look up and there are only a few patches of blue sky remaining; the dark clouds are taking up the rest of the space. There’s a speck of a lone bird gliding high up amongst them. At length swirling shapes appear before my eyes and I blink and look away at a beetle crawling up my arm. I haven’t seen this specimen before. It’s orange and blue – nature is almost always complementary – bright, shimmery colors. Another one alights, and, no kidding, this one is red and green. How come I never saw these guys before? There’s somebody else eying them – a yellow Honeyeater. He’s sitting on the mulberry tree with a cocked head, contemplating, of course, how he’s going to get them away from this human. There are sparrows chirping in the background, interrupted every now and then by the shrill call of the Cuckoo. I feel an ant walking on my leg, and shake it off. It’s one of those large red, nest-building types – they stick leaves together to make fairly large homes – I came across one just yesterday on the Red Hibiscus. Somebody calls me. It’s one of the neighborhood kids, aged five.

“What’re you doing?” he asks.

“Nothing,” I say.

“Are you going to do anything?”


He nods in understanding and leaves me to it. Not a pushy sort, this kid. And young enough yet to give people their space. Henry Thoreau would love him. I think of what Henry Thoreau said – ‘It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?’ You’re thinking again, I tell myself. I hear my young friend sloshing his legs idly in the pond. The splashing water shimmers in the fading sunlight. Look, he calls, that was a RED dragon-fly! I prop up on my elbow to look – it’s red alright and hovering close to him. And the fish are nibbling at my toes, he calls ecstatically. Nibble them back, I tell him. He laughs. You’re so silly, he says, they don’t have any toes! He calls them rainbow fish – they’re plain old guppies really, put in the pond so we won’t breed any mosquitoes – and reports that they’re swimming in and out between the underwater lotus stems. Perhaps we’ll get some goldfish soon, I muse. When, he asks at once. Soon, I repeat. Geez, he says, you’ve been saying that for ages! Yes, I think, so I have, haven’t I? Alright, tomorrow then, I say. GreAt, he shouts and splashes more water, what about a turtle too? And some ducks and pigeons, I counter. And some cows and sheep, he adds. A cow would be a VeRy good idea, he tells me earnestly, it would keep the grass trimmed and save you a lot of work – and…and it’ll give milk and you can use the dung for fertilizer. We’ll get a horse too, I tell him. Yeah, he says, that will save the bus fare. A bright kid too. I don’t think I was so commercial at five. I mean, I was all for maintaining a menagerie myself, but it was more like for the companionship, you know? The management was supposed to be my parents’ headache. I don’t know what it is – are kids wiser these days, or have I just grown smarter with age?

There’s a rumble of thunder overhead. The sunlight has gone entirely now and there’s a stiff breeze bending the tree-tops. I pull down my billowing skirt and sit up and watch the fallen leaves go cartwheeling over the grass. The birds are making a huge din and the fruit bats are swooping low. There’s a momentous, excited feeling in the air. It’s always like that before a storm. One of my favorite moments was getting caught in a rain-storm on a mountain slope with a friend once. The clouds were low on the blue mountains and ringing about us in a cold mist, and the ruffling grass on the slopes was bright green and dotted with blue flowers. We stood there looking down at glimpses of the deep ravine through drifts of swirling mist and needed to shout to make ourselves understood to one another. It was one of those times when you just have to tell someone how simply divine things are – it’s not enough seeing them, experiencing them, they have to be shared – and that’s why I sometimes wonder about people traveling on their own, isn’t it a torture not being able to point out something to someone? – something they can see very well for themselves, of course, but which is made all the more worthwhile by having pointed out. But, anyway, so here we were on the mountain and THEN the rains came down. We ran, laughing all the way, to a small, ancient stone temple we had spotted earlier. It was some way off, so we were well and truly soaked by the time we reached it. We stood in the dark, crumbling doorway, shivering in our wet things, and looking out, beyond the streaming rain, at the wild landscape. And we began talking again, of course – deep philosophical and heartfelt matters this time that we had never shared before and would have normally shied away from in embarrassment. Now we spoke urgently, excitedly, one idea tumbling out after another, each sounding freshly-minted and utterly practical. Oh, what a difference we were going to make! I had the feeling of being perched on the edge of a wide, new world, just waiting to spread my wings and take off, and there was a strong conviction too of soaring once I did. There was something about that storm raging outside that convinced me of that… Well, that friendship hadn’t survived the confidences, but that feeling had… And every time it rained and the smell of the wet earth filled the air, I knew there was a point to my life, that there was something good and useful about it, that this journey I was on would only lead to a place better and more beautiful…

“Hey,” my young neighbor’s voice breaks into my reverie. “Your Ma’s calling for us to go in.”

I look about and so she is. My mother is a wonderful woman, but she has the unromantic albeit unintentional knack of turning up and ruining the best ruminations. She’s signaling from the back window. It’s going to rain any minute, she calls, get inside. My friend looks at me. Are we going in, he asks, reluctantly.

“Not yet,” I say.

“Not yet!” he calls back, full of cheer.

“You’ll get wet!” she calls.

“She says we’ll get wet.”

“Tell her we won’t melt.”

He laughs in delight and conveys that loudly, “She says we won’t melt!”

Ma, with an impatient wave of hand, withdraws. I grin back at my friend, sitting there with his shirt billowing at the back and his hair, like mine, swept all awry. This is going to be grand, I tell him. And after we get thoroughly wet, he tells me gleefully, let’s make paper boats and FLOAT them!

published on Buzzle,

Monday, June 14, 2010

Photo of the Week - New Lotus

Lotus2 Lotus1














Photographs: Kadambini Panse

It's a grand atmosphere here with the beginning of the Monsoon. Garden in great shape.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sketchbook - Tawang and Pelling


This was done on the last day at Tawang,  Arunachal Pradesh, in the early morning outside our hotel. We were waiting for the taxi to show up and it came before I could finish the sketch.

The main street were just starting to stir as we drove out. Leaving  was a wrench. We had had such a lovely time there. It had been such an adventure getting there in the first place -

  • Wading through a flood in Guwahati in Assam to get the entry permit
  • A tree falling in front of the bus on the way to Tezpur
  • Staying overnight in Tezpur due to bad weather
  • Two days of travel to Tawang
  • Several landslides en route
  • One car breakdown
  • Getting close and personal with leeches
  • Passing misty forests and towering snow mountains
  • Driving through a snowfall
  • Sharing one bed with the five taxi occupants (a married couple, a college guy and the two of us) at the night stop in Bomdila; it was election time and all the rooms were taken by the political workers, it was either share a room or stay out in the freezing cold.  So we all huddled under the shared blankets and laughed so much we took a long time falling asleep. When we got to Tawang, we found that the Congress Party had won the elections and people were standing around throwing gulal. Extraordinary how hopeful people get at election time, then it's back to business as usual.


This was a valley view from the behind the hotel.  We were the only people at the hotel that stayed on and on, so the staff treated us as 'one of the family'. They were a pleasant, cheerful lot, and it was really nice knowing them.

We met many Indian soldiers on our walks around Tawang, particularly at Tawang Monastery;  some of them were there to get acclimatized before moving on to the border, and others were stationed there. Most of them were friendly, but one took me to task for drawing a hillside view of their camp. It was a top-secret area, he said, and I was endangering everyone. I was really flattered. I mean, in these days of satellite spying and cellphone photography, it's something to be told that your little sketch could make such a difference; particularly a sketch that, due to your half-frozen fingers, isn't even coming out all that well.


This was done in Pelling, Sikkim, at the Rabdentse Palace Complex.

We went to Pelling from Gangtok (and we went to Gangtok from Darjeeling, where we went after Tawang) on rather a spur of the moment decision and stayed in a small family owned hotel that we had discovered on a travel blog. Really lovely people again.

We were a bit weary of traveling - we had been traveling for two months at a stretch by now - so we stayed put for ten days and did nothing except take long walks with Tashi, our Lhasa Apso - yes, we were traveling with a dog, we got her in Tawang.  The locals thought we were a bit cracke d - nobody stays here this long, they said -  and the tourists asked us for directions.


What I like about sketching when traveling, aside from the pleasure of the work, is how drawing seems to act as a people-magnet. Park yourself somewhere and soon there will be a crowd gathering to see what you're doing.  It's a good way to meet both the local and the visiting characters.

The nice ones don't bother you, are positive and encouraging, and sometimes overwhelm you with their kindness. I've had people bring tea and snacks for me so I wouldn't 'starve' while  I worked. There was the tea-stall owner in Dalhousie who made all the porters and customers sit for me for  a portrait marathon and kept plying the tea all the while - he refused to be paid for it later. There was  the chanawallah sardarji, again in Dalhousie, who gave a great big laugh when he saw his portrait and handed me an even larger parcel of free chana. There was the Tibetan lady in McCleodganj who brought a glass of tea and sat down nearby and told me about an English artist who had been in town a few weeks earlier. He was just like you, she said, you artists can't do anything unless you imbibe, can you?

Then there are the twerps and the smartasses. They stand over you and tell everyone else what they think you're doing. Or they plonk right down and try to get you to talk about every brush stroke or pen line, if not your very private personal life.

And then there are the idiots. I'm sorry for not being PC here, but idiots are idiots, they ask very dumb questions. Someone probably told them it was a good thing to ask questions, for there lies the path to enlightenment, and since then there's been no stopping them. There was the chap who asked, "Did you draw this with your hand?" and, no offence to the Foot and Mouth artists, but that's kind of a strange question when you're sitting there with the pencil so obviously in your hand.


Does travel broaden your mind? To an extent, I suppose. If you give it a chance. Otherwise it's just carrying around the same baggage in different localities.

Some people seem to travel just so the natives can live up to their expectations. I remember a Spanish man in Nepal, a very intense fellow with a gimlet stare.  He told me he had been a hippie in the Nineteen-Seventies and come to India seeking spirituality.

"Ah, those were the wonderful days!" he said. "Since then you lot have gone downhill. Every time I come to India now, all people want to talk about is getting a job, a flat, a car or a washing machine. You're getting as materialistic as us, and what's the point in visiting you if you're exactly like us?"

"To strengthen the kindred bond?" I suggested.

He wasn't amused.  "I need you to stay spiritual, goddamn it!" he said. "After all I can get my fix of materialism back in Europe!"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Photo of the Week - Awla



Photographs by Kadambini Panse

New leaves and blossoms on the Awla tree (Indian Gooseberry). It is a wonderful, stately tree.  Very useful from the dietary and medicinal point of view too.  Here are some of the things we do with the Awla fruit -

  • Make sarbat (juice).
  • Make loncha (pickle).
  • Make morawla (jam).
  • Make chutney.
  • Make supari.
  • Add to shikakai (for hair shampooing).
  • Make triphala churna (ayurvedic medicine).

When the tree was a lot smaller, a chum of mine caught his ear on one of its branches and he bled a lot. I don't know why I'm mentioning it, except I just remembered how fascinated we were with the bright red blood and how hard he tried, fueled by our fascination, to not burst into tears.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Movie Review - Revolutionary Road

When I first heard of Revolutionary Road, I assumed it was a movie about revolution in Cuba or some South American country. I'm always making these sort of wrong assumptions. I once misheard 'A Ballad of a Solider' as 'A Ballet of a Soldier' and I kept waiting hopefully, and in vain as the movie progressed, for poor Alyosha to get up on his toes and dance.... But to get back to the topic at hand, there's no such thing as an actual revolution here, the movie is based on the novel by Richard Yates and gives us an up close look at 'suburban angst'. A very curious term. I mean I've never heard a movie about slums or inner cities described as 'slum angst' and 'inner city angst'. Has anyone used those terms in those contexts? Anyway, the title is a deliberate misnomer. It is the story of a couple who live on Revolutionary Road, dream of leading a revolutionary existence, and, in the end, don't.

Read More....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

WIFI - Richard Dawkins Lecture at UC Berkeley

Excellent and entertaining lecture by Professor Richard Dawkins on his book 'The God Delusion' during his US Tour, delivered on 8 March 2008, Saturday, at Wheeler Auditorium on the UC Berkeley campus.

Estoy enferma - but I'm full of illustration ideas

20 Feb 2010 - RoughIllustrationIdeas

I had to go see the doctor the other day, and I did these thumbnails in the waiting room. I'm revamping my illustration portfolio on Maysun In C, and these are going to be the additions in the Animals and Birds section.

Visiting the doctor, never the most joyous of occasions, has turned into a conveyor belt experience. First, you wait in the waiting room and when the receptionist has the time she will summon you to get your weight taken on a very ancient weighing machine that I've never quite got the hang of -  you stand on it and the receptionist pushes the weighs around and announces her finding in a loud voice so everyone in the reception area knows how much you weigh. Once she made a mistake when weighing me and announced a figure that was twice the correct one and everyone in the room exclaimed, "It can't be! She looks far too skinny!"

After you've been weighed,  you go back to waiting until the receptionist says it's your turn to go down to the basement. You go down and wait until the assistant doctor is ready to check your blood-pressure, pulse and temperature. Then you wait some more, exchanging sympathetic looks with the other patients and trying not to get sucked into an exchange of ailment details, and then finally the doctor will see you.

He is a very nice man though. Worth all the waiting. Have known him for ages.


Speaking of doctors, I remember the one I visited when I was an art student in Bombay. I had an ear-ache and my land-lady in Dadar suggested a neighborhood doctor. He's brilliant, she said, I always take my kid there. So I followed directions to his clinic and found the front door bedecked with mango leaves and marigolds.  There was a quite a crowd inside in the waiting room.  Quite a festive atmosphere. 

I sat down and wondered if it was some sort of celebration. You never know in India. There's something to celebrate practically every day. I asked the fellow next to me and he shrugged and said he didn't know. Then a man looked out from the doorway to the inner room and beckoned and said, "Alright, everyone, come inside."

And everyone rose and went into the inner room. Soon I was the only one left outside. So I got up and went in too. They were all standing in a semi-circle around the doctor's desk, and he was asking each person in turn, "What's wrong with you? And you? And you?"

As I happened to be the nearest to him in the semi-circle, my turn came almost immediately. I told him about my ear. He had a look and said, "Hmmm!" and sent me out to the compounder.

The compounder was in a small cubicle, with two large glass beakers in front of him, one containing a red liquid and the other containing a yellow liquid. He was page deep in a film magazine and not pleased to be disturbed.

"Alright," he said in a bored, irritable voice. "So where's the bottle?"

I said, "What bottle?"

He  made an annoyed sound and said,  as if talking to a half-wit, "Don't you know anything? You need to bring a bottle along when you visit the doctor. I'll give you one now, but don't forget the next time."

With an eloquent sigh - oh, the fools I have to put up with! - he rose and extracted an amber-colored bottle from a bottom shelf. Then he scooped out a measure each of the red and yellow liquids from the beakers before him and poured them, one after the other, into the bottle. He screwed on the cap and thrust the bottle at me.

"Here!" he snapped. "Put it inside thrice a day!"

"Put it inside? I put this in my ear?"

"For crying out loud! In your mouth!"

As I went away I saw he was ladling the same liquid in the same proportion to the next patient as well.

When I got back to my lodging, the land-lady said, "Yes, he always gives my kid that liquid too. Sorry I forgot to tell you to take a bottle with you."

I said, "How can he give everyone the same medicine?"

"It must work," she said. "Everyone keeps going back to him."

After she went away, I poured the liquid down the drain. I recovered the next day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Drawing - Musicians

4 March - Music
Making beautiful music.  And that reminds me I need to tune my violin.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Illustration - A Nice Rosie Lea

Tea Cupcanvas

It's a Cockney rhyming slang. Fun :-)

I'm starting a new series of illustrations on each of the following  topics -

  • Tea
  • Jazz
  • Violinists
  • Gardens
  • Our Dogs
  • Our Town
  • Vegetable Markets

First I research the topics well and then I create around 10-20 illustrations for each. Work will be done in pen and ink,  water-color, collage and digital media. Partly realistic, partly abstract.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Illustration Friday - Perspective

17 Feb - Girl in Woodd
Where I currently am is totally a matter of perspective.  On the good days I'm way front. On the bad ones I'm way behind.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Photo of the Week - Summer is Here




Photographs - Kadambini Panse

We have four types of lotus plants in our pond - pink, yellow, violet and white. There are a great many guppies, tadpoles and three Koi. I'm going to add more Koi - I love those fish, they are very friendly. A great aspect about having a pond - and fruit trees - is that we are attracting a good bit of bird life. I've noticed  22 different bird species here so far.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Paper Girls

PaperGirl2 PaperGirl PaperGirl3 PaperGirl4    This is an idea I'm trying out. I've so many scraps of paper and until they can be turned into beautiful papier mache sculptures, we'll make paper girls out of them with the help of the scanner and the select tool in GIMP.

I guess I could have used the fill tool too.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Updated Website


Updated the article  'How to Create a Picture Book' on the Maysun In C website. I had linked to it on this blog previously, now I've rewritten the text and added a few illustrations. I rather like the result.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

La Mariposa y El Pollo

A couple of old illustrations that I dug up today.  I had these up on OrangeMellon. I'll be overhauling that blog this weekend, changing the black background to white and tweaking the html.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sketchbook - Taumadhi Square

Taumadhi Square

This is a view of Taumadhi Square in Bhaktapur, Nepal. If you ever go to Nepal, be sure to visit this place. They have done a wonderful job of preserving much of the ancient town. It actually feels like stepping back in time.

I have a particular fondness for Bhaktapur because it was where I met Meijin.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Photo of the Week - Meijin


This is Meijin. He is originally from Bhaktapur, Nepal. Now he lives with me in Nasik, India. He's four years old.

Here's how I met him - 'How I Met Meijin'


Here is Meijin looking particularly fierce. He had some aggression issues when he was a puppy - if he didn't like something, he would switch from sweet to savage with such speed it was scary - but we worked through that with clicker training, positive reinforcement and some helpful suggestions from the members at Agbeh.

We're working on search and find at present, and we both enjoy that very much. I'm glad I went online to seek help, rather than going with a local trainer the vet recommended. Many of the trainers here follow the 'old-fashioned' training methods, which usually involve punishments and rough corrections. I once saw one of them work with the neighbor's dog, wielding a stick and yanking hard at the choke chain, and I thought, no way I'm ever going to let anyone do that to my dogs. I have to mention here that my other two dogs, Munchkin, 11,  and Chubary, 6, are both local breeds and never once displayed the type of frenzied aggression that Meijin did.

Anyway,  that sort of training would have ruined him. He's very intelligent, he likes to have things explained to him, he does not like being ordered around or threatened or yelled at or being forced anymore than I do. It is important to respect your dog as an individual, to build up trust and liking rather than fear and submission, and clicker training has certainly helped us understand each other better.

I told the vet about it, so he would pass it on to his other clients and perhaps it'll help them too. The problem is some people like having an aggressive dog that nobody can manage, they somehow think it's a good thing.

A gentleman in the area has a six-month old bull mastiff that he is afraid of already, and there's a chap with a quite dangerous rottweiler - it has bitten him four times and recently it went for his mother when she ordered it off the bed; it bit her on her arm, going right down to the bone, and if she hadn't grabbed a chair and hurled it at the dog and got out of the room and slammed the door, it would have gone for her neck.

And these people still get a kick out of telling everyone what an aggressive creature their dog is. The vet said he has given up treating some of these animals. It's too risky for me, he told the owners, which probably only bolstered their egos more. Some people really shouldn't keep animals.
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