|A page from my sketch book|
It was a very lucky Friday 13th of February I arrived in India, to spend two sun filled weeks, with my sister Nicola and her family in Bangalore. They arrived here from Warwickshire in the UK on “their adventure" two years ago.
My sister’s life changing experience has impacted on my life of art.
I am an artist and I work not only with paint but with textiles, about five years ago, I went through a very stressful time and in order to cope I found comfort in stitching onto old woollen blankets.
My subjects are landscapes and figures developed from intense periods of drawing and painting. I layer my experience into the landscape so that it becomes psychologically charged with my own memories, emotions, narratives, dreams, and poems.
The passion and freedom encountered in the immediacy of sketching is developed and channelled through paintings, and then consolidated into textile pieces. Labour and repetition are central to this process and depending on the scale the finished embroidered textile can take many months to complete.
On my first morning I learnt about the fascinating art of Indian block printing under the shade of mango trees. This was with Poonam in Whitefield’s on the Nallur Halli main road in Bangalore.
We printed, intricate repeating designs with hand carved wooden blocks onto white cotton cloths.
The next day we walked through glades of patterned palm trees in Palm Meadows, then through the chaos of the city, to reach the small multi-coloured painted villages.Animals such as cows, goats and dogs were in abundance, amongst buildings, temples and swarming traffic, so integrated that they weaved with man amongst the tirade of vehicles.
The intensity of colour is intoxicating and exhilarating, everywhere I turned colour and pattern overwhelmed me, even coloured washing, hanging against the bright walls became exciting!
I was amazed by the fruits, vegetables and flowers piled high on rickety wooden carts by the side of the red dusty roads.I loved the petals and flowers arranged artfully floating in water bowls, the chalk patterns drawn on the pavements, the kaleidoscope of colourful clothing, saris and textiles.
In my sketch book I worked with pastels on different coloured papers to record not only what I could see but how this new environment made me feel.My drawing started to change, I altered my colour combinations, and the rhythm of my mark making became more intense and complicated.
Working instinctively I found my landscapes were becoming more exotic, taking on an eastern appearance.
I will share more of my experiences and drawings of India in my next blog post.