Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Trendy traditional

Comfortable and cool khurtas from Cotton Curio.

Items from Fabindia's summer range.

I love the print on this silk cotton mix stole from Fabindia.

Anokhi's stylish garments.

Hey Audrey!

I love how India supports its traditional crafts and crafters. One of these skills is block printing. Traditionally this was done with vegetable inks, resulting in intricate and beautiful patterns. Fabindia is a company that has worked with local crafts people for fifty years, and hand printed, hand woven, and hand finished products can be found in their stores in the glamorous markets of India's cities. Their philosophy is about offering customers an alternative to mass-produced products whilst creating sustainable livelihoods for the crafters. Cotton Curio had a beautiful range of hand block printed fabrics, produced by families of the Sanganer area. Anokhi is my favourite, not only is their hand block printed fabrics exquisite, but the designs of their garments are modern, beautifully detailed and impeccably finished. They also have a hand printing museum in Jaipur. All three of these stores are members of Craftmark, and the best part is that these quality garments come at affordable prices! I call that heaven on earth.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

God is in the detail

Inlaid calligraphy of Koranic verses in black marble.

Carved out flower patterns in sandstone and marble.

Even the paving outside has been carefully considered.

Pietra Dura: the technique of carefully creating intricate patterns from precious and semi-precious stones, and inlaying them into marble. What a skill!

Diamond motifs  underneath the arches.

The guest house that flanks the main building.

Hey Audrey!

I wonder: did you ever manage to visit the Taj Mahal? It is known as the most beautiful building in the world, built over a period of 22 years by a grief-stricken emperor in remembrance of his beloved wife. The Taj is magnificent from afar, but it is the intricate details everywhere that really left me speechless. The Moghul emperors were Muslim, and according to their belief no depiction of living beings, humans or animals is allowed. Therefore all the motifs are either floral or geometric. Audrey, I can not tell you how happy it made me to have had the privilege to visit this special place.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Of emperors and elephants

The 2008 film 'Jodhaa Akbar' starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in lead roles.

The bath at the Red Fort in Agra. It was fragnanced with thousands of rose petals for the empress to bath in. The Red Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The tower built by Akbar in remembrance of his favourite elephant, Hawa'i. The pertruding decorations are supposed to simulate tusks, but thankfully they aren't tusks!

Hey Audrey!

I want to tell you about the powerful Moghul emperor, Akbar. He lived in the 1600's and ruled most of India peacefully for 50 years, after ascending to the thrown when he was only 13 years old. He is known for his religious tolerance (very ahead of his time), he was born a Muslim, but married ladies from various religions, allowing them to practice their beliefs without having to convert. (This is portrayed in the beautiful and romantic film 'Jodhaa Akbar', which depicts his marriage to a Hindu princess). He certainly knew how to please the ladies, he had many wives and an extensive harem. Allegedly he liked playing hide and seek blind-folded with his harem ladies, or playing chess, using them as the chess pieces. He resided in many beautiful palaces, amongst them the Red Fort in Agra, and Fatehpur Sikri in the country, which he built when a sage told him that it was the place he would conceive a son.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Painting portraits

Lucian, 2002

Carmen, 2006

Julia, 2008

Hey Audrey!

I love people, I love looking at them, studying their faces, their behaviour and their quirks. I admire good portrait painters, like Lucian Freud. Marlene Dumas is my favourite artist of all time. I love her ideas, her mark making and her colouring. Sometimes I enjoy painting portraits myself of people that have come to mean a lot to me.

Family time

Hey Audrey!

Knowing how much you loved children and your family, I thought you'd appreciate these photo's. How sweet are those children! It's holiday time here now, so many families have organized outings to historic sights; the lovelies shown here were photographed in New Delhi, at the Taj Mahal in Agra, and at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy trucking

PS Horn Please


Blow Horn OK. Long Vehicle keep 30 foot distance

Use dipper at night

Friendly driver surrounded by flowers

Hey Audrey!

I love these colourfully and skillfully painted trucks I photographed on the trip from Delhi to Agra. Many of them have the beautiful eagle logo hand painted on. I saw a teenage boy next to the road painting them, imagine! The seats in the little motorcycle taxi's have different motifs sewn onto them. It makes me happy to see how nothing is unworthy of loving care and attention

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Delhi Residency

The Residency from the street. Love the mosaic facade.

View down the street with the entrance to the park in the background.

The front porch.

The open plan living/kitchen area.

The bedroom.

View from my bedroom. I keep the blinds drawn.

Mr Sandeep.

Hey Audrey!

Exciting news: I am spending some time in New Delhi. Currently I am living in the New Delhi Residency, for artists, but I don't think someone has stayed here for quite a while, except for Mr Sandeep, the friendly caretaker with a penchant for burning incense. The Residency is situated in the bustling suburb of Lajpat Nagar, well, the bustling starts from around 10:00 or 10:30 in the mornings. I can watch  a bunch of little children playing on the balconies opposite the apartment. Audrey, I must admit that I am considering moving to a quieter suburb, and a smaller apartment with a television and a very big bed in it, and a magnolia tree outside the bedroom window, but I haven't made up my mind yet, I quite like the bed here: very Gandiji.