Playing with Color and Style: London - Delhi Sketchbook

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Just back from a whirlwind two-week trip to London, Rotterdam, Delhi and Gurgaon for work -- and managed to cram lots of sketching into the mix! Started the night before we left, by sketching the twilight view from the Element New York Times Square West hotel.

Skyline from Elements Times Square Hotel, New York, NY

On the Sunday after we landed in London, I was lucky enough to be able to take the daylong workshop "Giving Life to Painting: Colour and Line" at Bankside Gallery with artist Salliann Putman. She gave us a few exercises to help us push our abstractions to the next level and then encouraged us to apply those techniques to subjects we often painted.

I'd never used charcoal pencils with watercolors before -- wow, what a revelation! I ran outside for a few minutes to look across the Thames and down the South Bank for urban landscape inspiration, and here are the results.

St Paul's Cathedral from near Bankside Gallery, London, UK

Looking East from the Bankside Gallery, London, UK

I think I'll have to add charcoal pencils and spontaneity to my usual kit -- what do you think?

Tuesday the 17th I went on a quick daytrip to Rotterdam to meet with my team there, and when I got back we had dinner at The Grazing Goat, near the Marble Arch station, in London. It has a cozy pub atmosphere -- with lots of goat-themed decor.

The Grazing Goat, London, UK

Then we were off to India! Saturday the 21st was the 35th Worldwide Sketchcrawl. I didn't hear back from anyone else in 95-degree Delhi so decided to crawl solo (why is it that this happens just about every time I am abroad for Sketchcrawl)?

Anyhow, started in the morning at Red Fort, the 17th century complex in Old Delhi built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan of Taj Mahal fame.

Birds at Red Fort, Delhi, India

Red Fort, Delhi, India

Next up was Jama Masjid, the mosque also built by the same ruler. As the courtyard gets quite hot, there are long strips of cloth crisscrossing it for those who don't shell out a few rupees for socks or slippers. I thought the cloth runners made an interesting contrast with the pink floor.

Jama Masjid, Delhi, India

Lunch was at the famed tourist trap Karim's in Old Delhi. Not sure I want to know exactly what was cooking in the large vats...

Karim's, Old Delhi, India

To get around the narrow bazaars of Old Delhi, a cycle rickshaw can't be beat. We hired one to explore the ancient winding market lanes, crammed with all kinds of goods for sale. Every street specializes in something -- stationery, hardware, bangles, etc. I clutched camera, pen and sketchbook as we hurtled through the streets, managing to draw whenever we stopped to let other rickshaws or carts pass.

Old Delhi street from a cycle rickshaw, India

Old Delhi as seen from a cycle rickshaw, India

We got off briefly in the spice market so I could sketch the heaping piles of nuts and spices. I attracted a crowd of onlookers, M. told me, but I was largely oblivious -- I just pulled my hat brim down and kept going.

Spice Market, Old Delhi, India

Sunday we went to Qutb Minar, where I sketched some of the details of the ruins in the complex. Again, there were many curious children peering over my shoulder as I drew, but I wasn't uncomfortable -- no one got too close or asked any questions.

At Qutb Minar, Delhi, India

I was proud of myself for not letting the weather be an excuse not to sketch on this trip -- it's easy for me to find excuses (too hot, too cold, too damp etc.) Hopefully our next trip to India will let us venture beyond Delhi -- perhaps to the desert so I can draw camels!

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  1. Suma - these are spectacular! The scale and composition of your architectural pieces are strikingly wonderful. Congratulations - what a fistful of treasures you came home with!

  2. Better than photos to keep a diary of travel! A