Sunday, June 24, 2018

In the style of Gustav Klimt

My ''Lady in Gold'' 

The mother of a dear friend passed away last year.    I was asked to do a portrait of her.  The only reference photo I had to work with was a photo sent on my mobile phone of a 2x2 inch B&W photo taken perhaps 50 years ago.  


Title : In the style of Klimt, Lady in gold
Size :  12"x16"

With this portrait I pay homage to the master Gustav Klimt.   

This project helped me to learn a lot about portraiture as it presented a few challenges; in addition to capturing the likeness ofcourse.  I was working off a photo with only head and shoulders and the values dimmed with age.  Importantly it had to be made into a portrait that would look better than just an enlarged photo.  Added to this was my personal preference for paper collage over other mediums. 

Paper collage in itself would not allow for a very good likeness so it had to be a mixed media.  I have used acrylics for the body and everything else is paper collage on canvas board.  Yes I also added in some Klimt motifs in gold paint into the collaged paper as I had decided to make it in the style of my favourite artist’s golden period.    

Interestingly, the original ‘Woman in Gold’ aka ''Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I'' (54"x 54") is not at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna where most of Klimt’s paintings are. 

It is at the Neue Galerie in New York.  There is very interesting real life story behind this that has been made into a movie.  

You can watch the trailer of the movie here or the real story in documentary format here and as a presentation by Randol Schoenberg here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Coppersmiths in Cannonball Tree

This collage combines a favourite tree of mine the cannon ball tree with the beautiful copper-smith barbet that is perfectly camouflaged among the flowers! 

Title : Coppersmiths in Cannonball Tree
Size :  11"x 17" 

Allow me to introduce the copper-smith barbet.  This delightful little bird flits from branch to branch and is always a challenge to spot as it moves so fast! Green and yellow with crimson red on throat and head, black lines on its back and near its eyes, it flits about quickly  calling out to its mates.  And it has the most impossible sounding birdsong. Those unfamiliar may not even realise that it is this tiny bird calling.  It does not move its beak. The sound emanates from its tiny throat and it is loud and metallic. Rhythmic too.  It is the sound of a hammer hitting metal, hence the name – copper-smith.  And when it calls in quick succession and two or more join in, it can get noisy!!  But it is such a happy noise.

Here is the most exotic tree of all. It does not have leaves and flowers on the same branches.   The leaves grow on the big branches like other normal trees.  The flowers grow on branches that only come out of the central trunk and the fruits are found on these as well.

Its called the ‘’Naga linga Pushpam’ in Tamil (Naga being cobra, Linga being God Shiva and pushpam being flower).  In South India and Sri Lanka, the flowers have a religious significance due to their centre being shaped like a serpent hood over a shiva-linga and so are usually found in temple courtyards.  

This flower has the most heavenly scent richer than any other tropical flower in my opinion. These large blooms are such a pretty peach and pink colour with the beautiful white and yellow centres.  So heady is the fragrance of these flowers that your nose could probably lead you to the tree in any garden even with your eyes closed.  The fruits can get as large as small melons and are round and woody on the outside.  It’s due to this shape it came to be given the name ‘cannon ball’ in English. 

I so love this tree that when I find one it’s very hard for me to walk away.  Inevitably, I return with a whole lot of flowers that drop down from the tree and preserve them for the longest possible time to enjoy their fragrance.  

Thursday, April 26, 2018


One of the magical places on earth in the Greek islands. 

This collage is hopefully the first in a series to translate my memories into art.  

Title :  Santorini (1)
Size  :  20"x 15"

 Santorini lives up to its reputation and more.  The light in this place is exquisite.  Very crisp and perfect, enhancing colours in a way that makes everything look prettier.   

The caldera with its volcanic rock so dark and beautiful, every possible level surface impossibly crammed with dwellings and walkways turning into steps leading to more houses! Yet there is a feeling of vastness on this island where every house, stair, chair and rock has been painted in bright colours and every outlook offers a beautiful view over the dark blue Aegean Sea.  The blue of the sea is dark like ink and the water appears to be still; yet it heaves slowly making hills and troughs on its surface and the waves slowly lap the rocks along the shore.   Close up,  the water is crystal clear.  One cannot but marvel at the natural beauty of this place and how the locals have protected it and even enhanced it.  

Happy are the cats that call Santorini home. They have the greatest views, are fed by the locals and hangout along the caldera sunning themselves. However, I never did spot any donkeys there though all their souvenirs have a donkey in it!!  

Acrylic painting
Title : Santorini (2)
Size 4" x 4"

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


This is my latest collage. A colourful peacock - the national bird of India.

Title : Peacock
Size : 19.5" x 29.5"

Monsoon Lilies

No other flower reminds me more of my childhood in Mumbai than the Spider Lily. It is truly an exquisite flower though its fragrance is very mild. 

It has a structure that is very intriguing; with a white translucent base cup on a longish light green hollow stem, six thin long white petals are attached to back of this cup with dark green stamen emerging from the front and rim of the cup aligned to these white petals. At the end of this stamen is the pod of pollen almost an inch long. The stigma stands out separately from the centre of the cup and is attached to the base of the long hollow stem. Perfectly round drops of water adhere to the surface of the base cup adding to the monsoon magic. When in full bloom each flower and every part of it stands out separately and the freshness and whiteness of bunches of these flowers is so pretty a sight that it is hard to forget.

Though it blooms abundantly in the monsoon in Mumbai it seems it can tolerate much harsher climes also. It is said that the harmonious design of this (desert!!) flower inspired the design of the Bruj Khalifa in Dubai which is the tallest tower in the world!!

In Mumbai, these plants are largely planted lining paths in gardens and flowerbeds around apartment buildings. The blooms are at just the right height for kids to reach out and pluck. The yellow pollen dust would readily stick to the hands and stain our clothes when we went picking these. The sticky gel oozing from the plucked stem of the flower did have an unpleasant smell but not enough to put us off. As kids we called these flowers Monsoon lilies and so I have named my collage the same.

– The monsoon Lilies. Size: 11.5"x8"

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Butterflies in the Garden

Here is another buttefly collage in post-impressionist stlye.
Title : Butterflies in the garden
Size : 11"x8"