Thursday, December 29, 2011

Photo of the Week–Meijin and Barkya


They’ve just had their baths in readiness for the New Year. Meijin is growing a new winter coat. It’s very cold here, and Barkya likes to warm his bones in the early morning sun. We all do actually.



Monday, December 26, 2011

WIFI - Fallacies, Biases, and Heuristics

Design 13


Wikipedia's List of fallacies

“A fallacy is incorrect argumentation in logic and rhetoric resulting in a lack of validity, or more generally, a lack of soundness.”

Wikipedia's List of cognitive biases

“Cognitive bias is a general term that is used to describe many distortions in the human mind that are difficult to eliminate and that lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, or illogical interpretation.”

Wikipedia's Heuristic

“Heuristics refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery.”

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Practice and Plans

Violin2bI read an interesting idea in the Reader’s Digest booklet – ‘Personal Excellence’ – that arrived unexpectedly a couple of days back and cost me Rs. 400 to get it away from the Postman. One of the writers wrote about how we needed to continually practice living our life. Not exactly new or earth-shattering, but I hadn’t quite thought of it from the ‘practice’ angle. I mean, I know practice is essential for drawing, for painting, for writing, for music. You really don’t get anywhere very far if you don’t practice. If you can’t get a drawing right you keep repeating it or try different variations until you get it right. You don’t give in to frustration, or at least you learn not to. And that is why I think everyone ought to take up some craft or the other, so you understand the benefits of a continuous, sustained effort – it’s one of the most fulfilling things on earth to get that awkward paragraph right, to master that seemingly flummoxing piece of music. The same effort ought to go into living your life philosophy, instead of getting despondent and falling off track when things don’t work.

“It is really pointless to make plans,” a friend of mine said recently. “I make plans and they don’t work out or at least in the way I want. That happens all the while. So why bother really?”

I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. I’m never going to give up making plans and lists. How are you ever going to do something worthwhile, see something worthwhile, be something worthwhile if you don’t have a clue about it all, about what you want? Whether a thing works out your way or not is quite secondary – knowing the direction to take and at least getting started is the important part. And then, of course, comes the equally crucial part of putting in enough time and effort, and keeping on with it. Anyway, so planning beforehand is necessary for me. I don’t want to drift through my days mindlessly, although on occasions I might.

On the whole, I’d rather have my head up in the rosy clouds of possibilities than in the smoky haze of doubt and worry.

My greatest supporter, of course, is Meijin. I turn around from my desk and there he is, chewing his carrot nearby. He looks up and cocks an inquiring ear (he’s always all ears for me).

I say, “Aren’t I the greatest thing since sliced bread, hybrid tea roses, and blue gladioli?”

And he goes, “Whoooooooooo-OOOOOOOOOOOOOO-ooooooooooo-OOOOOOOO!!”

Which translates to, “And also since Entire Cantaloupe Slices, Whole Carrot Sticks, and the Entire Bag of Pedigree!!”

It is so touching when someone shares your faith.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Learning Curve - Apollonian Gasket

Vihart - Doodling in Math Class: Infinity Elephants


This is a really fun video. If math had been taught this way in school,  I would have totally converted.

Here's Emil Ernerfeldt's app for creating an Apollonian Gasket.

An Apollonian Gasket, incidentally, is a fractal.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Photo of the Week–New Canna Lilies

30 September 2011 008

30 September 2011 010




I’m thrilled with both of these, but particularly the magenta one. It’s my favorite color, and- continuing with my saga of forgetting things – I don’t even remember getting this variety.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sketchbook– Pritam Nakil

4 Oct - Singers24 Oct - Singers1

This is from September actually, during the Ganesh Utsav. I went to a really wonderful cultural program, Nashik Kalawant Ganesh Utsav 2011 - dancing, classical music, and poetry reading – at the Kulkarni Hall in town, organized by Mohan Upasne, Vived Garud, and others. I painted on the sidelines during the performances. They were truly inspiring. The above sketches are of Pritam Nakil, who is an absolutely amazing singer; I wish I had taken along a video camera to record everything. The sketches are on cardboard packing; I’d forgotten to take along sketching paper too. :-)

Saturday, September 17, 2011



I seem to be more fond of drawing hands than feet. Mrs. Jasani, back in art college, wasn’t impressed – she reviewed the assignment she had given (100 drawings of the hand) and said, “I’m giving you eight marks out of ten only because you completed the assignment. Don’t think it’s because you are good.”

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Illustration – Tree Collage


I’m playing around with collage again, and it’s such fun!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011



I like to see a thunderstorm,
A dunder storm,
A blunder storm,
I like to see it, black and slow,
Come tumbling down the hills.
A plunder storm,
A wonder storm,
Roar loudly at out little house
And shake the window sills!

- Elizabeth Coatsworth (1893-1986).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sketchbook–Dattatreya Square

23 July - Bhaktapur5

As the title says, this was done in Dattatreya Square in Bhaktapur, Nepal. We used to have many similar old buildings over here, but most of them are being torn down in favor of modern, totally unaesthetic  monstrosities.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Photo of the Week – New Hibiscus



We have added two new hibiscuses to our garden. This one was called ‘American Beauty’ at the nursery. They have a whole range of American Beauties, and I’m going to add all of them to my garden one by one.  The second one is a beautiful creamy pink; I’ll post the picture when it blooms.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


9 April - Dueta

Doing one drawing a day can really build up your collection. It’s part of the ‘Twenty Minutes’ philosophy. Do a little, but with consistency.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sketchbook–House in Tawang


I found a sketchbook of work I’d done in Tawang, and this sketch is from it. I remember having a lovely time doing this – until a crowd gathered behind and the people started pushing each other and some of them fell over me. Fortunately that doesn’t happen every time.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Photo of the Week–Barkya

25 March - Barkya

25 March - Barkya325 March - Barkya2

I could seriously eat up this puppy. He’s an absolute darling.  A really joyful personality.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Drawing–The Dragon

17 March - HadesSAndThe DragonN

The dragon was there. The dragon was real. And now I’ve had my Hemingwayesque moment.


17 March - Sonal1I did a blood check last week, and it came positive for three strains of malarial parasites - Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium vivax.

I had been wondering why I was feeling feverish and tired all the time. This explains it. I  can’t tolerate quinine, so I’m on a doxycycline course for the next ten days.

In the meantime,  I’ve been having an interesting time reading what malaria does to the red blood cells. Not nice at all. Oh no.

This is what I look like when I have malarial fever. The other day a neighbor told me I looked horrible. I’ve never understood why people think it is necessary to make these kind of remarks. They’re not soothing and they are certainly not cheering. And nowhere in my research does it say it’s a prettifying condition. ;-)

At least it hasn’t stopped me from working. That’s a good thing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Illustration Friday – Stir

13 March - ViolinistGirlsMa

13 March - 3ViolinistRoughSketchM

I’ve been playing the violin for about three years now, and it is one of the really special, joy-stirring things in my life. I practice for three hours every day, and on weekends I often go out to play in public parks. I started doing that to resolve some stage fright issues, and the more I do it the more comfortable I get.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


24 Feb 2011 - Lions1Some of the Lion studies I did for ‘The Woman and the Magic Pumpkin’.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Photo of the Week–Awla in Bloom


Photo Credit – Kadambini Panse

It looks like we’re going to have a really bumper crop of Awlas (Indian Gooseberry) this year.  The tree looks just beautiful. The Mango mohor is somewhat less than what it was last year; I’ll post those photos next week. We have lots of drumsticks, Ramphal and Tuti though. The new Coconut, Cashewnut, Grapefruit and Lychee trees are really shooting up.

I’ll add the feed this evening; we try to do that every Sunday. We’ve been making our own compost.  No inorganic fertilizers used.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Illustration–Wait A Minute


I was playing with water-color this morning and came up with this.  I think this could have been more loose.  Well, there’s always the next one for improvement.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sketchbook–Girl with Scarf

23 Feb 2011 - Bini6cI’ve been listening to a really interesting podcast discussion about the necessity of knowing how to draw. This is a topic that is nearly always guaranteed to get artists fired up.

One of the speakers said, “If you don’t know how to draw what is in front of you, how can you draw what is in your mind?”

True. What I find funny is the argument that it’s okay if artists can’t draw.  It’s possible to get along, I suppose, but why not learn? We create visual things,  after all, and the more adept we are at depicting these visuals the better.

Speaking of my own work, I think my lines have improved from what I was doing a couple of years back. I’ve been doing a lot of gesture drawing and life drawing, and that has helped.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Typography–Robert Frost


This was hand-drawn with a gel-pen and then digitalized. I’ve used the first one in a book cover design.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Writers’ Rights and the Disney Pitchkiaow Contest

Harlan Ellison venting his spleen


I came across this video way back and thought it was pretty amusing.

And it seems really apt today, because I just got an email about Disney India’s Pitchkiaow contest.  They are looking for ‘original’ story scripts.

It’s supposed to be an ‘amazing’ opportunity for us Indian writers – until you read the contest terms (PDF file), and particularly the  ‘11. Ownership/Rights’ section. 

This paragraph in particular is entrancing -

“Each entrant unconditionally assigns and transfers all ideas, concepts, copyrighted materials and trademarks contained in his/her/its Participation and any and all rights including without limitation “moral rights” in his/her/its Participation. Disney shall be entitled to make use of the Participation or any part thereof in such manner as it shall in its sole discretion think fit, including without limitation the right to make changes, alterations, substitutions and additions thereto, deletions therefrom and adaptations and rearrangements thereof and translations into any and all languages for any use, or not used at all. Disney shall also be entitled to use and exploit the Participation in whatever manner, media and format without incurring any liability to any entrant (including without limitation the requirement to pay any compensation in respect of any use or exploitation of the Participation) or making any acknowledgement of the Participation.”

So, unless I’ve got it wrong,  you give up ‘all rights’, including ‘moral rights’, for perpetuity by just participating in this fabulous contest.

They can take your story and use it, without compensating you in any way.

And even if you win, think about it, Rs. 50,000 (about $1162) is peanuts for conferring Disney with all the rights.

No respect for creative people, that’s what this amounts to.

And the sad part is they could have so easily turned this into a win-win opportunity for everyone involved.

Morals from this Story:

  • Don’t be swayed by a ‘Big Name’, unless that Big Name is willing to warm your bank account.
  • Don’t give up all rights, unless you are very adequately compensated.
  • Don’t enter such contests, unless you happen to have scant respect for both your creativity and your time.

Children’s Book Illustrations Section

19 March - ChildrenBookPage

We’ve added a Children’s Book Illustrations section to the Maysun In C website.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Become an Artist


How To Become an Artist.  New article on Maysun In C.

Sometimes I like getting up on the soapbox. Besides it’s only advice I give myself all the time. I wouldn’t dream of dosing anyone with medicine I didn't personally take.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Illustration–Three Girls and Three Trees

11 Feb 2011 - ThreeGirlsB

I like trees. I really do.  I have a new Fig tree that I’m wondering where to plant.  There’s space between the two new Coconut trees in the front garden, and perhaps that will do. I figure, when they are all taller and productive, we can always climb the Fig to get to the Coconuts.

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