Drawing Challenge #Day 16

So the original drawing challenge #16 was to draw an owl in an iconic style. I started it, but somehow never got around to completing it. I guess I found it boring and not challenging enough.

Anyway, months passed, and I still hadn’t done it. I suppose I could simply have moved on to the next one but it would have made the numbering all wrong. So I decided the best way out was to do a substitute challenge more to my liking. And I got a chance to do it this week. Yesterday was Vishu, the New Year festival celebrated in Kerala.

The most important part of the celebration is the “Vishu Kani”, an assortment of fruits, rice, coins, yellow kanni flowers, and other auspicious items. Seeing the Vishu Kani first thing in the morning is supposed to bring in a good year. The Vishu Kani, with a lit metal lamp at its centre or by its side, is placed before an image of Lord Krishna.

I haven’t celebrated Vishu since childhood. Both my husband and I are very passive believers in God. Basically, we believe in God but don’t think there needs to be a special place or day or mode of worship. Or maybe we are just plain lazy.

Anyway, the point is, I didn’t have an idol of Lord Krishna at home. Anything remotely religious in our house is a gift by well-meaning relatives and friends. This hasn’t been any great concern for either of us in the past, but this time my mom was with us for Vishu. She has always celebrated Vishu, and I felt she would want it this time as well.

Unfortunately, this realisation came pretty late in the evening on the day before Vishu. I promised mom I’ll make a painting of Lord Krishna instead and sent my husband out to get flowers, fruits and so on.

The challenge here was time. We had just returned from our vaccination and popped down a paracetamol each. I looked up on YouTube, the best teacher in the world along with Google, and found one I liked and started off.

I only had poster colours at hand so I used those. The YouTube video was fairly easy to follow. Although I was just copying and not creating original art, I learnt a lot about using shadows and highlights to add depth to the painting. I haven’t internalized the process quite yet but it’s like magic how an expert artist can make an image come to life by adding a shadow here and a highlight there. I’m hoping if I keep studying these YouTube tutorials, I might eventually be able to figure out the shadows and highlights on my own in a live setting. Meanwhile, I’m quite happy with the way my Krishna painting turned out.

And here’s how our Vishu Kani turned out.

I reused an old certificate frame for the painting. My husband couldn’t get the actual kani flowers so we substituted marigolds. If you zoom in, you can see the small Balgopal (Baby Krishna) picture that my husband got just in case my painting didn’t turn out as planned. 😏

Unfortunately, we were all a bit peaky yesterday due to the vaccination side-effects, so the Vishu celebration was muted to some extent. Hopefully, the new year will pan out better for us and everyone else.

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Published by Leena T Pandey

I have been reading voraciously since the age of five when I first discovered the joys of reading. I would lap up anything in print. Unrolling an emptied newspaper cone with one hand, stuffing roasted peanuts in my mouth with the other, all the while devouring the printed content on the cone with my eyes, was one of my first experiences in hedonistic pleasure. In fact, sometimes I feel that I am on an adventurous journey through the secret dreamworld of other people's imaginations, interspersed with occasional visits to my own life to attend events like graduation, first job, marriage, and so on. As a true-blue reader, I think I am uniquely qualified to comment on and critique other people's works of labour. I can tell exactly what puts the average reader to sleep, what sets their pulse racing, and what has them salivating for more. Write to me at leenatpandey@gmail.com.

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