Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Ganesha the most popular of Indian deities.Vyasa's scribe and leader of the common people.Ganesh considered a bachelor by south indians is also associated with mental agility .Done on acid free paper with soft pastels.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Lone Singer

Many years ago as I was waiting at the Sree Krishana Temple at Guruvayur, for the doors of the sanctum sanctorium to open I was most pleasantly surprised when I suddenly heard soft drum beats and a lone attractive voice singing just behind me.It was a very moving experience ---so much so that it brought tears to my eyes and I never forgot. Later on I learned that was Ramapoduval singing 'ashtapadi' songs from 'Geetha Govindam' of Jaydeva.Here is my tribute to that beautiful moment.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The nature chose grey on this afternoon

Drama in the sky .Calm sea ! Peace on earth:-).The sky darkens suddenly on an afternoon during the monsoons.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The divine link.

The' poojari' dropping prasad into the eagerly extened hands of the devotees.A scene seen after every pooja at the popular temples of Kerala.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Safety of mother's arms.

The balancing act on the waves.

A fisherman balancing on a 'kattamaram'--catamaran,two logs tied up together used by our fisher folk.Further inside the sea is calm and another man happily floats on his catamaran fishing the traditional way.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Time to take a stand .

This painting of a worried mother waiting anxiously at the entrance of her home , in a troubled Indian city.
Done in acrylic on canvas.
I feel she must be praying 'O God protect my children from Thy followers who kill in Thy name.'
I saw today in news a mother from Cannanore telling the camera man that her son left the house on the tenth day of Ramzan saying he was going "to learn the religious text" and never came back home.He was killed in Kashmir recently while trying to cross the border ...had become a tool in the hands of terrorists.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Kudiyattam or koodiyattam --a painting

This is a painting done in impasto style using acrylic on canvas.
I got the idea when I read the news of the sad demise of Koodiattam Maesto Ammannur Madhava Chakyar (1917-2008) at Trichur.
Madhava Chakyar was one of the greatest modernday exponent of Koodiyattom,a centuries old art form of Kerala..forerunner of Kathakali.
His role as Bali in 'Bali Vadham' based on Bhasa's play 'Abhisheka Natakam' was a celebrated one.
By the way,did not Rama kill Bali as a political expediency rather than to serve 'dharma' as was claimed?According to the the popular belief SriRama intervened
on behalf of Sugreva in a most 'unrama' like way --hiding behind a tree and shooting an arrow at Bali killing him and thus winning the undying gratitude of Sugreva and devotion of Hanuman ,both so invaluable in freeing Sita.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rajeev Ramachandran

My son.Oil on canvas.


"Onam" is the harvest festival of Kerala and malayalees the world over celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm what ever be their religious faith. Onam is celebrated in the malayalam month of 'Chingam' which falls at the end of August or at the beginning of September.
The legend behind the 10 days of festivities is the story of how 'Mahabali' the just and righteous king of Kerala fell a victim of the jealousy of the gods --for his subjects were so happy and well cared for that they had no need for ,or forgot the almighty :-).The gods decided to set this 'wrong' right.
The gods conspired to cheat him of the kingdom and malayalees their peace and happiness.But Mahabali loved his sujects so much that he wrangled a boon from the gods---that he be allowed to come and visit his beloved people once a year --on the occasion of 'Onam'.So here we are ,doing our best to present a happy face to good old Mahabali on his annual visit.
There is a saying in malayalam "കാണം വിറ്റും ഓണം ഉണ്ണണം"(kaanam vittum onam unnnanam) ----you have to feast on onam day even if you have to sell your mortgaged land to do that! By the way the people shop during the days preceding onam, one feels that this is one adage that our people follow in letter and spirit.:-).
What ever that be -here I present a painting done in oil on canvas of women working in the rice fields of Kerala.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Camden Town Nudes

This is a post which I wanted to write a long time back.
It has been in my mind ever since I went to "Walter Sickert : The Camden Town Nudes" at The Courtauld Gallery, London with my son and daughter Rajani last winter .There were about 25 works on show by Sicket-a name not very familier to our public.But Sicket was a prominent figure in the world of art in Britain at the turn of 19th century.He was counted amoung the impressionist painters of England, yet he was different from the run of the mill impressionists as we can see from the almost 'naturalistic' and dark works he is famous for.
His paintings look sinister, and have a disquiting feel about them.In these paintings he showed the seedy-shaby side of London life.He criticized van-Gogh's technic and Cezzane ,he said is over rated.So one can see how very different his ideas were.
He was the leader of the 'Camden Town Group' of young artists.These artists were more interested in capturing the ephemeral in urban life .They were not interested in painting'nature' or country side in brilliant colors on their canvas.
In early 19th century Sickert set up home in a run down part of the city, at Camden amoung the Irish laboring class( who were engaged in buiding the railway stations of King's Cross,St Pancras, and Euston) after coming back from Paris where he had worked with the old french master -Degas.It was here that he painted these nudes .The nudes of Sickert unlike Degas are hardly erotic or colorful.These were lower class women often prostitutes of the area.
It is curious that he had writen-- "Compositions consisting solely of nudes are usually (I have not forgotten certain exceptional flights of genius, such as the Rubens, in Munich, of the Descent into Hell) not only repellent,but slightly absurd. Even the picture or two (I think there are two) of the master Ingres, which is a conglomeration of nudes, has something absurd and repellent, a suggestion of a dish of macaroni, something wriggling and distasteful." :-)
Virginia Woolf who knew Sickert has written at lenght about this intrigueing artist.He was a' literary painter 'to her.An artist whose paintings had a tale to tell--straight forward.Sickert was one of the first artist to paint from photographs.
It is not very surprising ,given the narrative nature of "The Camden Town Nudes" and the timing of these works, they became associated with the famous "Ripper" case...who, murdered prostitutes---the Whitechapel murders.,made famous also by Patricia Cromwell's novel 'Portrait Of A Killer'. "I do believe hundered percent that the artist Walter Sickert was Jack The Ripper" Cromwell said!! Ok here are some of the works that were on display.
The first clockwise is 'Despair' followed by 'What shall we do for rent'or The Camden Town Murder,followed by 'The Rose Shoe', 'The La Hollandaise' ,then 'The Iron Bed Stead'. The painting down below is 'Ennui' a couple sitting facing the opposite directions...:-).
Here are a few of my sketches.You find a woman patient sitting alone in a hospital ward when all of a sudden the govt doctors went on a strike recently.They forcibly discharged all the patients and this lady had no where to go ---she had come for treatment from far off and had no one to go to nearby. Then you find a group of refugees --in their own home land -India. Then again a small boy waiting for his mother to finish cleaning the fish for his dinner in a Kerala costal village. and then you have my take on 'What shall we do for rent?' :-)).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

'The Artist As Showman'

Some thing I found interesting from the May -June Issue of Humanities Magazine. " We’re drawn to artists who tell us that art is difficult to do, and takes a spiritual effort, because we are still puritan enough to respect a strenuous spiritual effort"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rhythem of Life

Two of my works done for the show at Museum auditorium on 21st May. 'Trends 08'
"For art and joy go together, with bold openness, and high head, and ready hand – fearing naught and dreading no exposure. (James Abbot McNeill Whistler)"
Poet Vinayachandran at the inaugrtation of the Chithrakalaparishath show at Museum auditorium on 21st May. Link

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Studying a great Master.

Done today in mixed media. I witnessed scenes like this infront of large paintings at National Gallery,London every time I went there. The painting of "Large bathers" by Paul Cezanne is being admired and studied by a group of friends .Of course the "Large Bathers" at NG was a different one...Cezanne painted a series of 'Bathers 'and 'The Large Bathers' were done towards the end of his life.It seems he was trying to come to terms with his 'repressed sexuality'..a fact made famous by his childhood friend Emile Zola through his novel "The Masterpiece" the story of the protagonist in this novel is based on the life and personality of Cezanne.(the usual story of a writer sacrificing his friendship on the alter of fame :-(. Paul Cezanne ended his more than three decades old friendship with Zola after the publication of this novel. Picasso and other later artists were inspired by these works of Cezanne. Link

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Piccadilly underground station on a busy winter evening.
Piccadilly lit up by neon lights --a bigger attraction now than the good old statue of 'Eros'.

Friday, February 22, 2008

On 'collectible' Art.

An interesting article this. Not just an eye for a bargain Jan 31st 2008 From The Economist print edition ART addicts will gather in London next week to get their fix when Sotheby's and Christie's sell impressionists and contemporary pictures by the hundreds. Market analysts will also be watching closely. Last November, when both auction houses held the year's biggest impressionist and modern art sales in New York, Sotheby's fell well short of its estimate and Christie's did less well than hoped. Economic and financial clouds have thickened since then, and there are fewer bonuses to spend on art. But many collectors will still turn up, motivated by passion rather than money. Why do people collect, many will be asking themselves? Kenneth Clark, a British grandee in the art world of the 20th century, thought it was like asking why people fall in love: the reasons were various. This book, surveying about 130 eminent art collectors and collections since the second world war, bears him out. From banker to couturier, from civil servant to tycoon, they are a group of fascinating diversity with a wide array of tastes. Some are flamboyant, some reclusive. A surprising number come in couples. Quite a few are scions of art-collecting dynasties. Many are artists or dealers as well as collectors, and often they become friends with the artists they champion (Picasso liked to have a particularly large coterie of collectors around him). A disproportionate number are Jewish. Many collectors started buying when they were very young, some later in life, and at least one of those featured in the book not until he reached his 80s. “Great wealth is unquestionably an assistance in collecting,” says the author, who as chairman of Sotheby's British arm meets a fair number of rich individuals. But some of his subjects started off with few financial advantages. Take Dorothy and Herb Vogel, a quiet New York couple, he a post office clerk, she a librarian, who over the years acquired around 4,000 pieces of mainly minimal and conceptual art, some of which now hang in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Or consider James Hooper, whose day job was with Thames Conservancy, the body that used to manage the river in south-east England, but whose real passion was searching for tribal art in the junk shops of the Thames valley. He never went near the places where his trophies came from. Collectors try to get in before the object of their passion has been discovered by the world at large. Typically they are buying a generation ahead of the market, which explains how people of relatively modest means have managed to build up collections that have since become immensely valuable. But most of the book is about those who either started off very rich or made a fortune and then spent much of it on art: people like the Rothschilds, the Sainsburys, Peter Ludwig and Charles Saatchi in Europe, or Peggy Guggenheim, the Rockefellers, the Mellons and J. Paul Getty in America, and a few famous collectors in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. This is a glamorous, colourful and often eccentric crowd. Mr Stourton met most of them, was shown round their collections and sumptuous houses and came away with lots of excellent stories, as well as a number of insights about what makes the art world tick. Before the second world war, collectors mostly gloated over their treasures in private. These days they have more of a sense of public mission, and most of them exhibit, lend or catalogue their possessions or even give them away. As fashions in collecting since the war have swung from old masters, English 18th-century art and artefacts and 19th-century impressionists to contemporary art, some of the collectors may have had little choice: a lot of the modern stuff is too big or unwieldy to be displayed within even the grandest apartment. Are collectors just magpies, or is there something creative in the act of collecting itself? Some are self-confessed omnivores, others become deeply knowledgeable about their chosen field and exercise great taste and discipline in putting their collections together. But many feel, as Henri Focillon, an art historian, once put it, that the collector creates “from the genius of others a nectar which belongs to him alone”.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

From London

From the National Gallery.

Turner's 'Blue Regi'

My visit to London coincided with an awsome exhibition of Turner water colors at Tate Britain."The Hockney on Turner".I spent many happy hours there looking at the beautiful works by one of the greatest artists of 20th century.Unforgetable ,once seen.
The Tate holds the largest collection of paintings and sketches by Turner.The most famous (and controversial) prize for young artists 'The Turner Prize' is also given by the Tate.
The above is one of his most captivating paintings.'The Blue Regi' recently acquired by the gallery by public donations.
The painting's beauty has to be seen and felt to believe.How extraordinarily skilful Turner was in putting on paper what he felt,in manipulating the colors and light on his canvas as he wished.
You see the mountain through a pearly morning mist .The simmering light of the morning star is captured so delicately and it reflects even more hauntingly over the waters of the lake.
Oh ,what a beauty!!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Tate Modern and "Shibboleth"

I spent many happy hours at Tate Modern this December.On an visit with Rajani I saw the latest installation by Doris Salcedo, a Colombian artist.Was rather surprised by the sight... a big long fracture on the floor of the 'turbine hall' and I was not the only one amazed.
It was an interesting sight .The artist wanted to take a swipe at Tate for turning a blind eye to the colonial art...exclusion of non European art from the commonality of the purpose of art.Tate Modern is exclusively European.
The word"Shibboleth" originates from Hebrew Bible-it seems, in the Book of Judges Chapter 12.
This word was used to distinguish one tribe from another - the defeated from the victorious for they could not pronounce the word correctly , they had no"sh"in their dialect.All those who could not pronounce the word were hunted down and exterminated.
Looks to me this installation has trivialised a weighty truth .

Friday, February 01, 2008

Scowling at the weather :).

Sktched the face of a girl I found on the open railway platform of Stratford on a very very cold windy evening.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tube Scene.

A quick sketch of some co- passengers on the London Tube.All with their ears plugged -in their own world of music or i-pods , 'in the crowd and still removed'.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Room with a view.

Window of the front room of Rajeev's flat at London, on a sunny morning in December 2007.
From my sketch book.

Louise Bourgeose at the Tate.

I chanced to see the enormous spider installation by Louise Bourgeois being set in position on the banks of river Thames at Tate Modern ,for her retrospective there.I consider my self lucky to have been able to see this work by the famous artist who is now in her 95th year and still active and full of ideas.
It was a strange experience standing under this huge spider looking up at its underbelly with eggs in there.Overwhelming.Sinister and protective at the same time.Towering and yet appears fragile- looks ready to topple over.Like a mother ???

Artist Namboothri's Exhibition at Trivandrum.

Actor Mohanlal inaugurating the exhibition of artist Namboodiri's works at 'artsmart gallery' Trivandrum.
A couple of Naboothri's works at the show.

Monday, January 07, 2008

National Gallery

1.Photo taken on my last visit to National Gallery in December.Many a happy hour I spent there with my children studying the paintings.
2. The view from the window of the restuarant at National Gallery where Rajeev and I had lunch.

A post (Write up ) that appeared in relation to my show 'Where the green grass grows'. I had forgotten to save in the blog.

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