Tag Archives: Gold

I Wear: Red And Gold

Dressing for the day often begins with one thing – an item of apparel, a colour, a fabric or even an accessory. The rest of the look is built around that point.

The newest addition to my closet is a handbag, a gift from the boy’s mum. As he gave it to me, he cast a wary gaze at my red tote and asked,

“You aren’t…terribly attached to that bag, are you?”

I laughed and told him a new bag was always delightful. He looked mystified. Ah well, the things a man will never understand about a woman! Sure enough, when I called his mum to thank her and tell her she needn’t have gone to the trouble, she just said,

“Shopping is always a pleasure!”

🙂 Cue rerun of mystified look.

So here’s what my bag collection looks like at the moment: A big lime-green Rhysetta handbag, the aforementioned red tote from Baggit (my favorite), a brown leather satchel and an identical black one (both used in my corporate days), a purple square bag from Esbeda, cloth bags from EcoFrendz (featured on I Style!), a kantha-embroidered jhola and sundry clutches of the neon-coloured plastic variety. (No, the boy still wouldn’t understand)

If there’s one thing the wardrobe has been lacking, it’s a dignified-not-boring, coloured-not-whacky bag. The colourful stuff has been fun to carry around and matches most of my looks. The staid brown and black are the ‘safe’ options for work and such occasions. But this new bag fits neatly in between.

It’s a sort of dusty rose coloured leather. My mum would probably call it cherry tan though I’ve never seen either a fruit or a skin colored that way. It’s a comfortable foot by foot-and-half size which makes it perfect for a day out (wallet, keys, handkerchief, make-up, water bottle, scarf, book, iPod). The flap has white criss-cross stitching over it which would have stood out starkly on a darker colour or yellowed in a dirty way on a white/cream bag. On this however, it blends in just right creating a subtle contrast with the rest of the bag without being in your face about it. The fittings are matted gold and include zippers down each pocket, a magnetic fastener and handle rings. In addition, a lock embellishment hangs down the front flap. To my surprise, I found a similarly themed key attached to the inner zip which fits this lock perfectly!

Now the colour proved to be a challenge for me. Red being my favorite colour, dusty rose would normally be a snap for me. But my look is usually silver (oxidized or polished), wood or plastic. Gold isn’t my usual theme but I liked the muted look of this one and how it added to the colour of the bag, so I set my brain to work.

It wasn’t long before I realised I already had several articles of the red-and-gold persuasion which had faced similar dilemmas earlier and hence hadn’t seen much use. I just put all of them together.

I started with a red wraparound skirt with bright prints and adorned by gold sequins (which catch the light when I move but make it a difficult garment to match with anything else).

This I paired with a muted gold mock turtleneck I once received as a gift and never had much call to wear (for the same reason). This top with its zipper that goes all the way up the front to the neck feels rather awkward, like it’s caught in an identity crisis between sportswear and glamour. Also, I’m not sure the gold fabric goes well with a silver zipper or with my complexion.

To break that up, I kept the zipper lower, opening out the flaps to look like a collar. To this, I added a bead-and-metal neckpiece bought from Delhi’s Tibetan market, years ago. A word on this necklace – I’d drooled over those exotic items of jewelery for years before I finally bought one. Once home, I realised that everything else I wore look drab in comparison. Yet another gold-coloured item relegated to the ‘someday I’ll figure out how to wear it’ pile!

My first choice of footwear was brown suede boots. But considering the drama of the neckpiece and the bright skirt, I thought that would be too much. I settled instead for my trusty red snakeskin sandals. Here’s how it turned out.

I wear:

  • Red wraparound skirt, embroidered & embellished: Lokhandwala market
  • Gold zippered top: unbranded, somewhere in the US
  • Dusty rose leather handbag: Suede, Kolkata
  • Red and gold neckpiece: Tibetan market, New Delhi
  • Red snakeskin sandals: JMC (nice designs, high prices, zero durableness, horrible service)

Cross-posted at Divadom.

Ideart: Sabu-Jupiter Jwala

Another edition of Ideart! It is most delightful to be able to gift something that you’ve put a little piece of yourself into. The boy is at the slightly flummoxed receiving end of this.

Being a typical boy in all such manner of things, he’s a comics aficionado. Grave conversations have been had about the merits of desi superheroes over the firang crusaders. He’s actually a Homer Simpson fan but the American sensation’s face is plastered over teeshirts right across town. I thought it would be fun to bring in a desi touch to the comic characters-on-teeshirts fad. So I started with something familiar to every Indian kid across the country (secretly in cases like mine since my parents didn’t approve of the bad English). The world of Diamond Comics!

Chacha Chaudhary would have been the obvious choice for the tee-shirt with the telling caption of ‘Chacha Chaudhary’s brain works faster than a computer!’ But I felt the concept of a bald, alien giant clad in gold earrings, belted shorts and boots had far more potential.

I looked through a number of images online and offline to get a good sense of Sabu. The drawings were actually a lot more detailed than I remembered them. For example, Sabu’s boots aren’t always the ubiquitous black. Sometimes they match the colour of his shorts, sometimes the belt. The mustache is finely waxed and shaped (presumably garden shears would have been put to use trimming it). And finally his body language lent itself to a delightful range of renditions. Since Sabu is the muscle end of Chacha Chaudhary’s adventures, there are several panels that depict high kicks or punches (with a star-shaped ‘Pow’ bubble).

I put together some amalgamation of all of these. The result shows Sabu preparing to land either a punch or a kick. I know a villian being punched might have added to the image but I wanted a dedication to Sabu, not just a scene from the series. As it turns out, I think Sabu could be mistaken for a (rather clumsy) ballroom dancer.

White and black were my choices for the background. But when I saw this grey, I fell in love with it. Sabu has neither the pristine moral science character of Chacha Chaudhary nor the dark, brooding past of some of the other superheroes. He’s musclepower, sidekick and comic relief all in one. Chacha Chaudhary has to restrain him from some of of his more angry ideas on occasion. He’s treated like a child, a rookie and even a faithful pet. Grey seemed the perfect choice for Sabu.

Given my low confidence with drawing male characters, I took a long time sketching the figure out. The simplicity of Diamond Comics artwork made this a good first step for me. I retained the slight errors in size and perspective because that’s what I see in the actual comics too.

Colouring was the easiest bit of this project, given that Sabu wears very few clothes. A skin tone for the body,  blue shorts, gold earrings and brown belt and boots. The effect was rather like a child’s colouring book so I added some shading. The way to do this is when the base layer of paint is still slighty wet but not runny. Lay a spot or even a thin line of a darker (in the case of the skin) or lighter (the shorts) shade of the same colour and blend in.

I’m rather happy with the way the shading turned out on the arms, especially Sabu’s left arm. The brush strokes left hairfine lines and I didn’t blend them in further because they give the impression of hairiness and add to the desi machismo look.

Sabu’s expression didn’t give away much and I didn’t want the Jupiter giant to be mistaken for a dance instructor. So squiggly lines radiating from his head were added to let the viewer know that Sabu was angry!

And my favorite part of the image – the caption, was detailed below. In Hindi for maximum impact:

Jab Sabu ko gussa aata hain, to Jupiter pe jwalamukhi phatata hain!

(When Sabu gets angry, a volcano erupts in Jupiter)

Garment: Standard size XL men’s tee-shirt

Material: Tee-shirt cotton

Background colour: Gray with white flecks

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no.02 Black (for outline, caption, mustache and anger strokes)
  • Fevicryl no.352 Pearl Metallic Gold (for earrings)
  • Fevicryl no.30 Flesh Tint (for skin)
  • Fevicryl no.32 Cerulean Blue (for shorts)
  • Fevicryl no.10 Indian Red (for belt, boots and skin shading)
  • Fevicryl no.305 Pearl Blue (for shorts shading)

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

If you liked this post, also see:

Other comic book art in Doga: Born In Blood & The Making Of A Superhero: Nagraj

Conversations

Some conversations are traps, some are escapes

Some are tunnels leading into dark corners
Some are treasure hunts turning up duds
Some are potholes ending in pots of gold

Some are mere rituals
Some are verbal dances

But only sometimes, are they communication.

Ideart: Native American in India

This piece began at the height of my ambition as a fabric-painter. It was one of the few ones where I actively went looking for the garment and bought it only because I had a painting project idea in mind.

It was a creamy-white cotton vest from FabIndia with flat straps and a fringe of hanging plastic beads at the bottom. They had it in a number of other colours but which artist can resist the lure of a plain white?

I saw it and knew it was perfect for a painting. I had initially imagined an Indian motif or scenery, in accordance with my craze at that time. But the garment design was more Western and I’d been doing so many village belles, traditional motifs and dancers that I was looking for a different challenge. The beads at the bottom made me think of Native Americans.

Their images are also colourful, not in same vibrant hues of India but in more muted earthy tones. The fact that the vest was cream and not pure-white made it even better since it would offset the rust and brown tones that I envisioned, perfectly.

The tricky bit was finding the right image to paint. My actual paint area was quite small since the vest is very close-fitting, almost like a tank top. I had to stay within the limits of my (considerably narrow and small) front torso view. You should always see the garment on its wearer before planning a design. It gives you a sense of your boundaries (you can’t exactly print all the way to the side-seams since the areas under the arms will almost never be visible.)

I decided to elaborate my experimentation and do a portrait. I’m more of a big picture person, I like fitting in plenty of details, little sub-plots into the story of a painting and I find portraits generally too boring and one-focussed. So this portrait would have to be a big enough story in its right to hold interest.

I picked a man (once again, rather ambitiously, since I don’t think my sketches of men turn out as well as the ones of women) for my subject so I’d be able to bring in the gorgeous head-gear that the braves wear. I decided he’d be on the older side so the interest value in his face would come from the weathered lines of age (symbolising wisdom and experience) rather than aesthetics. Also, he would have to be older to don an elaborately plumed head-dress (each feather has to be earned by an act of bravery).

I didn’t do any sketches or outlines but started right away with the forehead, worked down to the face and then started on the headdress. The shading on the face turned out much better than I had hoped. It was just a matter of dabbing on varying hues of skin tone before they dried completely, which gave them a chance to mingle and look more realistic. The right corner of the face was touched up with the yellowish hue and I deliberately let the line show since light falling on that side would end in a sharp line.

I didn’t spend too much time on the rest of his body and garments, which is why the neck looks a little off and the collar is of scant interest.

The headdress was the part that I was really waiting for. I stroked out hairfine lines emanating out in all directions from the headdress border. Each line served as the spine of a feather. Using a fine-tipped brush to give the feathery touch, I painted using Fevicryl no.

Quite to my surprise, the most interesting part of this painting turned out to be, not the brave’s headdress but his face itself. I didn’t plan it that way and I certainly didn’t think it would turn out that well (though I’m really thrilled it did)! Art is so much fun when it surprises you this way. I still look at this piece and think,

I did that?! Wow, someone else must have possessed my body at that time and guided my hand.

Garment: Short fitted singlet with plastic bead fringe at hem

Material: Thin cotton

Background colour: Cream-white

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no.02 Black
  • Fevicryl no.301 Pearl White
  • Fevicryl no.39 Carmine
  • Fevicryl no.352 Pearl Metallic Gold
  • Rust
  • Mustard
  • Yellow

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

Ideart: Rose Garden

This is part of my series on fabric painting (after Peacock and Kathakali). But this was actually painted much earlier than those two.

I had this terrycot shirt checked orange and white. The overall effect was a sort of mustard. It’s not a colour I’ve ever been fond of or one that flatters me. Painting it was a rather delayed decision since it doesn’t occur to one intuitively to paint over something that already has a pattern on it. But I realized that the pattern was neither overwhelming nor highly visible. And it would serve perfectly well as a background.

I used several pictures of roses to figure out the basic geometric shapes and swirl-patterns that I’d need to use. It turned out to be surprisingly easy. I started with a round wavy shape (like little kids drawings of flowers) using black paint (Fevicryl no.02 Black). Then I added more waves and curlicues inside it. After that it’s just a matter of colouring and adding leaves.

The painting was actually loads of fun, the messy, splashy way. I made blobs of the basic red paint (Fevicryl no.39 Carmine) on the fabric. Then before it was dry, I daubed on the shimmery pink (Fevicryl no.303 Pearl Pin). The pink was probably an older bottle so it had gone a little creamier while the red, newer was liquidey. The net effect was that the pink stood on its own but blurred into the red at the edges to give a lovely shaded effect. I waited for these to dry before outlining and highlighting in black again.

The leaves were done using a similar principle – outlined in black, filled in with basic green (Fevicryl no.06 Dark Green) and daubed with the shimmery green (Fevicryl no.357 Pearl Metallic Green). And finally redefined with black once that was dry.

The details came in later. I added hairfine strokes of black to show the stems. Tiny buds with triangle-shaped leaves in blue (Fevicryl no.32 Cerulean Blue); these were done with  a thin brush dipped in colour and then pressed flat down on the cloth. These were given yellow (Fevicryl no.302 Pearl Lemon Yellow) centers. The leaf veins were lined with bronze (Fevicryl no.355 Pearl Metallic Bronze).

I started intending to only paint the back since it had an unbroken visage (the front has buttons all the way down so it’s difficult to do one contiuous painting). Then it looked so good that I added some detail in the front to match the theme.

rose-garden-3

The front detailing is not uniform copy of the back. While the back is just one pattern of roses scattered all over, the front shows a rose-trellis creeping up on one side and small bouquet-like collection of flowers on the other side that look like they’ve been plucked off the plant and dropped on the ground.

rose-garden-2

On the same side, I added a tiny rosebud and leaf detail on the collar.

rose-garden-1

Garment: Waist-length shirt with short sleeves and collar

Material: Terrycot with tartan texture

Background colour: Orange-brown with white threads running through

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no.02 Black
  • Fevicryl no.39 Carmine
  • Fevicryl no.303 Pearl Pink
  • Fevicryl no.06 Dark Green
  • Fevicryl no.357 Pearl Metallic Green
  • Fevicryl no.355 Pearl Metallic Bronze
  • Fevicryl no.32 Cerulean Blue
  • Fevicryl no.302 Pearl Lemon Yellow

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

Katy And I

My school had an interesting way of encouraging children to read. An annual Book Fair was held every year in a couple of the classrooms. After school-hours, parents coming to pick up their kids could buy those books. It was a much anticipated event for me and I’d go and look over the books during my lunch break and go back tell my mother about what was on offer. A few days later, I might be surprised with one of the books I mentioned or perhaps she’d come and look at the books with me and then decide to buy something. Those are my earliest memories of browsing.

In the later years, as the school board got marketing-savvy, they’d also visit each classroom and display a few choice books and talk about them – a promotion of sorts. By the time I got to secondary school, I had discovered the vast library my school owned and was a regular there, matronly (scary) librarian notwithstanding. But the Book Fair was still a special event.

At the end of the year, would be the annual day when various dances, songs and recitals were put up for the benefit of the parents. And at the end was the long-drawn out prize distribution where children were rewarded for good academic performance, winning scholarships but also sports victories as well as cultural activities. I had the pleasure of walking up the dais a few times in my twelve-year long school career, for a few scattered academic wins and once for a music prize.

The annual day of my third standard yielded the first prize in the singing competition for my rendition of ‘My Favorite Things’. It was my first time on that dais. As I nervously shook hands with the school Father, he smiled and handed me the certificate. Attached under it, was a gift-voucher redeemable at the next Book Fair. I would learn the next year, when I walked that dais again to get an academic certificate, that all the prizes included a Book Fair voucher.

When the Fair came along, mum and I walked down the stacks of books on desks and as we came up to the teacher’s desk, I put down a heavy bound book and my mother handed over the voucher. I couldn’t believe my luck. I was the proud owner of the kind of book I had only seen in pictures. It had a solid navy-blue leather bound cover on which was embossed in gold letters,

Katy front

Hamlyn Classics

What Katy Did
and
What Katy Did at School

Susan Coolidge

The text was bordered by gold lines and edged with pictures of trees. I thought it was beautiful. The spine had the title and author’s name in smaller typeface, crowned with the same tree motif. I fell in love with the book instantly.

It actually was over a year before I got down to actually reading it. I was too scared to breathe on it till then but the fine-stroked pictures in it won me over and I dove right into the story. The adventures of a motherless, lively 12-year-old girl, eldest of six siblings kept me amused for many long hours.

Katy was only one of the many books that I had the privilege of growing up with, as my parents kept me well-supplied with good books. Owing to Mumbai’s space constraints however, my father was also equally strict that some books should be disposed off every year to make place for the new ones. I dreaded the annual book-clearing as much as I looked forward to the Book Fair.

The books that I had outgrown were removed and given to the raddiwalla. I was required to do the sorting myself, after which one of my parents would inspect my shelf and tell me that I needed to get rid of more, else I’d never have place to stock anymore. There were many accusations and tearful confrontations and books were handed over with a heavy-heart.

Katy resisted the clearing attempts of a number of years, my parents also yielding probably due to its beautiful binding (they are book-lovers too, after all). When it finally made it to the pile, I sneaked out of bed in the night and retrieved it – two years in a row.

Finally, the summer that I was twelve, the same age that Katy was at the start of the book, I finally sighed and gave up the fight. Katy went out of the door that day with a pile of books that were deemed too young for a soon-teenager. I didn’t sleep too well that night and was restless all of the next day.

Two days later, I couldn’t stand it anymore and went down to the raddiwalla’s shop in a frantic bid to buy back Katy. To my utter dismay, it had been sold already while the rest of my collection still lay in the same neat stack in one corner of the shop. If I had a best friend or a blog in those days, I would have ranted and raved all day.

I think Katy was special to me for a lot of reasons. There was of course, the fact that in a way, it was the first book that I really earned for myself. Then there was its beautiful hardbound leather cover, its striking pictures and each chapter beginning with old English lettering. And finally there was Katy herself. The book was about a girl, with a very different world around her, than mine. But inside, she felt so much like me, with her grand intentions that often came to nothing, her bright ideas distracted by momentary mischief and silliness and the mistakes she made. Yes, Katy was special.

I would come to realize just how special only in the years to come as I faced some of my own personal challenges, had my own little victories. I did read the sequel called ‘What Katy did next’ borrowed from the school library. But it was a paperback with a coloured cover and didn’t impact me all that much.

There must have been some kind of divine connection or perhaps my longing for my beloved book was so strong that – would you believe it – I got it back!! After I finished school, I took to haunting the raddiwala’s shop often. I had always known that his shop was a treasure-trove of books but till then I had been dependent on my mother to pick out good books and pay for them. As my pocket-money and my geographical boundaries increased, so did my browsing.

And one wonderful, brilliant, lovely day, I found my beloved Katy sitting atop a pile of magazines. It was inconceivable that the book should come back and be spotted by me but it did happen. I opened the leather cover lovingly, after all those years and sure enough, on the page leaf was my name and the date of purchase, albeit crossed out by a strange hand. On the facing page was the rubber stamp of a bookshop in another part of the city. My Katy had gone on an adventure and come home to me.

Katy spine

I just finished reading it again last week and as always, it kept me engrossed. This precious navy blue leather-bound volume will stay one of my treasured possessions and will be passed on to my children or bequeathed in my will to someone I love.

~O~O~O~O~O~

Friends of Books - Library that delivers and I connect with bloggers at BlogAdda.com

This post won the ‘My Oldest Book, its Memories‘ contest on BlogAdda. And the prizes were these.

Gold-Digger

Happy birthday!

Paper rustling, excitement tinged with apprehension
Glittering, blinding.. sheer intoxication

I can’t accept this, it’s too expensive!

So what? It’s just money.

Too much of it!

It doesn’t matter, there’s plenty.

Exactly.
When it is about something else,
that matters more,
even if there’s very little of it,
I’ll be delighted to accept.

Midas In Reverse

He insisted,

I tell you I have the Midas touch!

She said,

I believe you. Only you are Midas in reverse.
You only touch that which is already gold.

He laughed. She did too.

She didn’t tell him she was thinking

Midas turned life into cold metal.
But you could bring gold back to life.

%d bloggers like this: