Thursday, March 28, 2013

The fortuneteller and other stories

When I was walking through the streets of Ooty, I met this guy. He works a fortuneteller. I saw many of them  the streets but this guy was quite popular.  His age and experience provided him with the necessary confidence and skills to win the trust of his clients.

It was a fascinating thing to watch. First there was a talk. Then the woman  mixed the deck of cards. The parrot was locked out of its golden cage with some seeds. Then the bird picked up a card. The images in it would reveal the future of the woman.  The guy would explain to her in a kind manner the meaning of the card, asking constantly questions and watching carefully her expressions. She will nod some times of approval. At some point the guy threw some shells probably to check one of her questions. the figure the shells made would be the answer.
The Fortune teller
Later on I walked to the station. I was looking for information about the bus to my next destination. I saw a Korean girl drawing some people at the fence. I though wow! another Sketcher. I wanted to talk to her so I approached her but she was very concentrated in her drawing. So I picked up my sketchbook and I started drawing too. Then we exchanged a few words while sketching. By the time a crowd had gathered around us to watch us drawing. At some point she left when I was in the middle of my drawing. You can see in the drawing that some people very discretely get into the picture, like the guy with suit on the right, or enthusiastically  asked me to draw them like the two friends on the left.
waiting for the bus
Like in  most of the places I visit in India, the people wanted to see my sketch books and took pictures. I was always treated very friendly and with respect.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Through the Nilgiri tea plantations

The next stop of our trip was Ooty, a small city in the Nilgiri Mountains in the state of Tamil Nadhu.

The climate is quite different of what you would expected in South India. sunny and hot during the day but quite cold at night. We took a tour through the tea plantations.

The landscape is quite surreal: glowing bushes of green cover the hills. Silver oak trees grow between them.  I was told that they  provide shade in the summer, while in winter the leaves are trimmed..
Nilgiri Tea Plantations
The rounded shape of the bushes is the consequence of the constant trimming of the tea leaves.Nilgiri Tea plantations
The tour included a meal on a restaurant in the local village. The tables were covered with newspaper sheets. the Banana leaves served as plates to mix the food and eat.
The restaurant on the village
The men wore mundu, a piece of cloth around their waste instead of pants. Here in the Nilgiri mountains the mundu were in bright colors while in Kerala were mostly white. They combine usually white a western shirt.
Tamil Nadhu
We took a normal bus to go back to Ooty. When you travel with bus, and you arrived to a station you have to prepare to get out immediately. Otherwise the coming passengers will block your way out. 
On the bus

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Going around Mysore

Here is the Market BuildingMarket
In this trip I tasted Jack Fruit for the first time!Jack Fruit
Eating is one of the great experiences when you travel in India. A good meal
The bus station. We were waiting for the bus to Ooty, in Tamil Nadhu. We wanted to visit the Nilgiri tea plantations
Bus station

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

People working in Mysore

In the sunny India I got confronted with the fact that most interesting scenes happens in the shadow. How to capture the atmosphere of this places was the first challenge.

An eager rickshaw drivers offered us a free tour through some markets. Usually when you do so, they will get some money for the customers they are bringing. Be aware that this extra cost while be added to your bill.

Probably I was the worst business he had made in years, since I spent more time than usual in this places drawing and not buying anything.  However I think he also enjoyed the time watching me drawing.
Making beedi (local cigars)
He took us to a house, where in the first floor a group of men were rolling some local tobacco cigarettes called Beedi
Making beedi (local cigars)
After that we went to another house where they sell incense. A woman was sitting on the floor rolling the thin sticks.
Making Incense
The owners were fascinated looking at me drawing. He later asked me to do a drawing of him based on a picture, what I  did, and gave it to him. He was very pleased.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mysore Architecture

The most impressive building in Mysore is the Mysore Palace. A beautiful example of the mix of British and Indian architectural styles.
Mysore Palast
I used for this watercolor a new Stillman & Birn Hardbound Beta Sketchbook. It is 21.6 x 27.9) a little smaller than A4) Therefore quite easy to scan later. When I travel I like to sketchbooks in different format, sizes and paper quality, but since books are heavy I just take with me an (14 x 21. cm) Alpha and a (21.6 x 27,9 cm) Beta.
Mysore street
What I like about Mysore is the small scales of the buildings and the presence of many vintage signs on buildings. The tower you see in the back is the minaret of a mosque.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Markets in Mysore

Mysore is a beautiful city south of Bangalore. Their markets are fascinating places. Very clean and with a lot of motives to draw,
Light and Shadow
I forget that in the south most of the people prefer to stay in the shadows, so my drawings have to catch that atmosphere.
The white Cat
The white cat on the left captivated me to paint this scene. The old guy  had some white powder on his forehead, a sign of his religion.A place in the Market
Colorful spices and a guy with an interesting profile
The old man in the foreground is the same as the one in the next picture. I couldn't recognize what kind of herbs was he selling
Old man in the market

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I am back from India

Sorry for not writing lately, but I was in India for one month, doing the thing I like most drawing!

India is the best place for drawing. People are so friendly. They treat you like a celebrity. They want to makes pictures with you. I felt very flattered. On the other hand wherever you look there is something to draw. and the colors.. the colors are fantastic.

We left Frankfurt to Delhi. From there we change planes to Bangalore.

Flying to India
The first 3 weeks were on a very low budget. We got a Hotel, close to the Bus Station in Bangalore. We ate always in local restaurants.

The first meal in Bangalore
The food was got and different from what I knew in Indian restaurants in Europe.
There were always a lot of glasses of water on the table, that we never touched.  People come, eat and go sharing the table,. You eat only with the right hand.
Taking a Rickshaw
Driving a rickshaw is quite and adventure.The traffic in Bangalore is something I had never experience before. The fact that the drive on the left doesn't help, since car comes From you don't expected. This was a long ride. This was also the only one in Bangalore where the Rickshaw used the meter. To draw straight lines I applied a system of marking dots on the paper and later on the frequent stops I connected them. Check the drivers face and mine on the mirrors.
.Meeting new friends
I contacted a Urban Sketcher, Prabha, in Facebook and we met at Kochy's, a very popular Cafe in Bangalore. She brought some friends with. Thank you Prabha again for all the help!