Posted in Nature, Painting

5-minute sketches

This January, I was at mom’s and had a bit of time at hand so I drew these 5-minute sketches (using the pictures I had taken during our visit to the zoo) to entertain my daughter while she practiced writing hindi alphabets.

Now, my daughter has started water colours this month and as a gesture of comraderie, I joined in the fun and made these.

Here is the only one where I took a bit of time, around 30 mins.

Back of a golden pheasant

My reintroduction to art is so much fun I am having a hard time stopping to live the real life.

Posted in Random Thoughts

As Things Begin to Take Shape

My daughter was born Leonardo Da Vinci and she is just improving from thereon.

I still remember the eight legged lion with its legs sprawled out like a pretty spider, the minimalistic designs of a fish without fins and tail, the cat without limbs and kittens with various degrees of abilities (no hands no legs, hands but no legs, legs but no tail) and her adopted monkey baby.

But now those days are gone and what I see is real stuff.

Please don’t ask the logic of the train, elephant and giraffe in front of the cottage. The cat and rabbit make sense with the girl, so please be grateful for that. I have seen weirder stuff.

The new and improved variety of lion and tiger, along with giraffe half-hidden behind a kangaroo, along with a hippo (pink), gazelle and crocodile (guess?). The outline of the girl can be accepted as a jungle sprite looking over these creatures…

And then there is stuff like this which is actually is superb considering it comes from a 4-year old working only with her imagination.

I’m sure she’ll turn out to be a far better painter than her mom. 😁

Posted in My life

Busy Bee (Part 2)

I mentioned a couple of projects for my daughter in my last post, but elaborated only one–the folding kitchen. Well, the other one is a jungle/zoo/farm backdrop.

Everybody at home had been complaining about how my daughter’s toy animals turn up everywhere in the house at the most inopportune moment, like on the floor under your bare feet, on the pillows when your head hits it too hard, on the chair seat when you are too tired to check before sitting, under the bed where you can’t pull them out without getting yourself dirty, behind the huge almirah which needs four grown up men to move (we have only three at home)…

I guess, the herbivores have the habit of running away to go looking for grass and plants, and the carnivores follow them to eat them…

Well, it became important to build a ranch/sanctuary/safeplace where they were allowed to roam. It also helps my daughter create stories that I could, then, publish in the blog (Hah! Mastermind me, stealing stories of the minions…).

So, I used an old flat cardboard box to build the backdrop with water colours (all that I could find at home during lockdown).

The walls have silhouette of a deep forest.

I also built a detachable cave and a hollow tree out of a plastic box. The 4-year-old Madame Leonardo Da Vinci coloured it to perfection.

The forest comes with yellow and red trees built out of old coloured cardboard boxes. It also has a fishy pond and an even fishier river that can be moved around at will. These were made of the old plastic sheets from my old organiser diary. The stones donated by an unsuspecting relative add to the effect.

To ensure flexibility to convert it to a zoo, we have combined it with a set of foldable cardboard cages and coloured by the family artist a few months earlier.

The piece is a continuous work in progress since we plan to add grass, a few more trees, a lying down hollow tree, and other cool stuff to build stories. We are gradually working towards adding farm buildings to the set as well. I’m looking forward to building a nice blue ocean out of the box top, thanks to my daughter’s new found love for water creatures.

The best part is that it also works as storage space for all these sets.

All in all the hard work seems to have paid off, considering the time my daughter spends with the set. I had too much fun…so there’s that too.

Posted in My life

Lessons on Minimalism

My daughter is a minimalist. Her paintings contain only what is absolutely necessary. For example:

Two caterpillars and half-a-fish

Her caterpillars have multiple feet, yet her fish is an oval without fins or tail…but what’s the big deal! The fish knows she needs neither fins nor feet while living out of water. She is what she is and that should suffice.

Two horned (African) Rhino

This two horned Rhino…just so that you know, the horns are blue triangle patches and round orange patches are the eyes. She told me it is African, and hence the two horns.

Monkey atop a fish’s head

Her monkey has no hands nor legs but makes do with his tail. No need to add extra weight to his frail body that already carries the weight of an oversized head. The head beneath him belongs to a fish (a hammer head shark, it seems from the shape of it!).

Cat with her litter of five kitten and an adopted monkey.

The best part is the cat. She has two legs and a tail, and a litter of five kitten-blue and black. All her babies are unique in shape and have different characteristics (two legs, no legs; ears, no ears; body, no body…). She also seems to have adopted a yellow baby monkey (because I have been assured by the painter herself that it is indeed a baby monkey and not a cat). He also seems to be wearing a monocle on his eye, however, the painter declined to comment. I believe diversity and inclusion is the cause.

She created all these paintings in her first attempt at painting on the day she turned three. It was a hasty work to finish the masterpieces before any interception from a meddling mother.

The background was the walls of the playschool I had created for my daughter on her birthday out of an old refrigerator box (since she could not go to Playschool this year, thanks to COVID 19). My daughter quickly painted the inside walls while I was busy arranging food for hungry mouths. I hadn’t even finished sticking chartsheets on the outer surfaces by then. She had a gala time.

But now the playhouse had to be retired because of its depleted condition. I have pictures for memories though.

Here is some work we had done together on the walls. I had written a couple of posts about it earlier.

1.5 Dollar playhouse

3 Dollar playshool

Posted in Nature, Painting

My Neighbours: The Egret

The guy often flies pretty close to the ground and I can often take clear pictures of him from my roof while he makes baby deliveries. He was rather pleased with his last post–It brought him quite a lot of fans, so he is posing for more.

If you notice, the picture is looking doen upon this flying beauty. It is because I am on my fourth story roof and he flying at third story level.

Posted in Nature, Painting

My Neighbour: The Kingfisher

Kingfishers are a common sight where I live. Though weirdly, there are no fishes in here. I’ve seen them feed on dragon flies and bees. May be they should be renamed as Bee-eaters but the real Bee-eaters might get offended…

In an attempt to give my daughter company during her ‘painting’ escapades, I created this on a rough page with her wax colours. Then she decided the rest of page wasn’t colourful enough and added stuff of her own. I would have kept it too, but leaving a Kingfisher in company of a Lion is rather cruel.

So I cut it out of the paper.

Then she wanted to ‘take a closer look’, so I took a picture to immortalize it in case she decided to go ninja on him.

Posted in Nature

Not My Neighbour: The Sparrow

Painting is my first love. A picture on Unsplash.com lead me to create this sketch.

Out of all the birds I have seen here, I have always missed the unassuming little sparrows. There was a time when they abounded Indian cities but the loss of habitat led to a devastating decrease in their numbers. I hadn’t seen any in ten years. So, this year, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw them hopping around at a cousin’s place in my city.

This article shows how we can help them survive.

Posted in My life

Three Humans and Two-legged Crocodile

I’m sure a lot of you wonder how I look after growing up, since my current profile picture indicates my mental age, around three years. Well, I’ve decided to share a family portrait, curtsey my daughter, aged three and half…

I am the one on the right.

Please note the striking resemblance. It has a head of hair, two eyes, a nose and a smile, two legs and a hand with fingers. Not sure where the other hand is…probably busy typing this post…

The guy on the left is my husband. Again, please note the striking resemblance: a head with hair (though they look a bit short-circuited and slightly longer than usual but I guess, everyone has weird long hair during COVID-19 year), two eyes, a nose and a mouth, two hands and two legs. Not sure why he is wearing a skirt. He is definitely not a bagpiper…but then, she hasn’t learnt how to draw pants.

The one in the middle is my daughter. Again, note how she is being naughty on one side (probably plucking the feather from the pillows), while keeping an eye on her mum, ensuring she doesn’t get caught!

If you are wondering where the two-legged Crocodile is, he is the faint shadow on the top right trying to hobble into black water on its two legs on one side. As to why it has only two legs, my daughter declined to explain. But she told me that two were more than enough.

I do not question her judgement–she’s a pro. I remember the day I reminded her that her monkey doesn’t have a tail. After a quick thought, she told me its a Chimpanzee. Well, as long as she can defend her point…

Posted in My life, Random Thoughts

A Tough Assignment

Lately, my nearly-3-year daughter has taken to creating ‘bouquet’ of animals.

Ever so often, she asks me what animals I want. I give her a random list. Then she asks me which color I want them in. After half an hour of hard labor, the bouquet is ready and it looks something like this.

Or this.

Now the daunting task is to label each animal accurately without hurting her feelings. But by now, I have already forgotten the list and color code, not that she follows it anyway.

Since I am a small-town woman and her paintings are on more of the experimental side, I am at a loss most of the time. So, I try to get the information from my only source without showing my confusion. I admit, I rely heavily on flattery and treats.

“Oh! What a pretty animal! Such pretty wings!”

(Flattered and pleased) “Not wings, they are feet.”

This is my first clue that it is not a bird.

“Oh yes, it has a nice long tail. Very beautiful.”

(Even more flattered and pleased) “That’s the trunk.”

Mystery solved. “Such a cute elephant!”

I write its name next to it.

But being a small-town woman, I am bound by the old-fashioned thoughts and, at times, make monumental mistakes. “Let’s add his ears.”

(A little annoyed now) “But it already has ears.”

“Of course! How silly of me! Here, take a Chocolate chip.”

Placated, we begin with the next animal. After a week of labeling these mysterious animals, you would think I’d get the hang of it. But I’m a simple woman from a small town. Modern art eludes me.