Who’s The Prettiest of Them All?

I bought this panel of the Frozen princesses To make a quilt ( or wall hanging) for my grand-niece who is a great fan of the two!

The Frozen Princesses Anna and Elsa are my grand-niece K’s favourites!

She was due to visit us and I thought of a quick gift for her. But how boring would this be!

So I came up with this idea.

K goes to the centre of the panel, while the other two look at her admiringly.

I printed her face on a printer-ready fabric sheet after calculating the size I would need to make it.

Everything got more complicated than necessary because I planned to put K on the right side. I cut out the pink princess ( is that Elsa or Anna?) before I realised that that would make my darling Princess K an ‘outsider’ because the other two had interlocked arms.

So I disengaged their arms and locked them with Princess K’s who moved to the centre. Ah, that’s the way I like it. The Disney Princesses look at her admiringly ( and a bit enviously?). The Resident Consultant did not think much of my original idea of a silver dress for his Princess. So I retained the silver yoke and made her blue dress from…a rayon grocery bag! ( Jaipur is a big exporter of women’s clothing. With single use plastic being banned in India, our shopkeepers are using bags made from export-surplus fabric and export-reject dresses).

The quilting was kept to a minimum. ( Also because I had just over a couple of hours for the quilting and finishing). I folded the lighter pink border to the back of the quilted piece, leaving the darker plum inner border to frame the quilt. No binding. The top border became the sleeve.

Not that my Princess minded the short-cuts taken to finish her portrait! She couldn’t believe what she saw.

“How? wow! how? wow…”, she exclaimed!

And here is the Princess herself, posing with her quilted wall-hanging.

Princess K loves her quilt!

Now that done, I have to decide what comes up next!

Mirror Mirror on the Wall …G’bai

I regard this painting as one of my better executed ones.

G’bai first came too our house about 20 years ago. She came to do the sweeping and wash the dishes. She was then about 30 years old and married to a factory worker. She had the burning ambition to educate her 3 daughters and 2 sons, and ` make something ‘ of them. When her husband did not have the time to drop her, she walked a good 5 kms from her house to our neighbourhood to work.  She worked in about half a dozen houses.

She also was  an excellent masseur, and was greatly in demand whenever someone had a baby! She did not disclose all her earnings to her husband; I helped her open a secret bank account in which she would put her savings. She would then buy jewellery for her daughters’ weddings from these savings!

This diminutive yet gutsy lady, who had never been taught to read and write, dared to dream of a great future for her children.

Sadly, none of her children have grown  up to her expectations. Today she is financially much stronger and still working – but only as a masseur.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

G’bai likes to dress up, but because of the nature of her work, rarely has the opportunity.   Here I have caught her preening in front of the mirror. She generally wears only the `maang tikka’ on her forehead; I have dressed her here in all the jewellery she’d probably love to wear!

G'bai's proud forehead, crowned by her `maang tikka'
After all these years, G'bai's smile remains the same, albeit a bit forced
G'bai, as I would like to remember her, getting ready to face whatever, to fulfil her dreams for her family!

Painting Title – Mirror, mirror on the wall..

Size – 11.5″ X 17″

Medium – Water colour on handmade paper

Mangli – Portrait of a Lady -2

Mangli (whose name means `the auspicious one’) is a beautiful lady, with a regal bearing … always cheerful, smiling…  She would come to do my laundry and I always wanted to paint her. But she never had the time to sit for me. Finally, I could manage to convince her to give me her black and white passport size photograph, around which I built this painting.

I am very fond of this painting because I think have managed to capture the essence of her personality.

On festivals Mangli would come to work decked up in her heavy silver jewellery and her brightest red `bandhni chunari'(tie and dye veil) . Her hands were rough from washing clothes – I used my artistic licence here!

I placed Mangli in the royal surroundings she was meant to be in!

The painting is framed with a red tie and dye around it. The glass prevents a closer look – but some details can be seen here.

Total size of the painting – 11.5″ X 8.25 ”

Medium – Water Colours on handmade paper

Year – 1997

Colours of my world

Maji and Ush - A close up of the hands

Once upon a time, I thought I wanted to paint and sketch all my life.  I joined some summer painting classes and learnt to do oils.

But then, school and college happened.  Again, while in college, I joined a correspondence course, where I learnt to sketch in ink. That was very exciting – I think I have the `assignments’ lying around somewhere. Shall dig them out and may be upload them.

Again life intervened; this time it was a  husband, a job and children.

In 1997,  I had this great urge to start painting again.  I had given up my job to take care of  my daughter – that was a full time job.   But the itch to paint was so strong that I would paint with her in my lap or between chores.

Since I had not learnt how to use water colours, and oils/ canvas/brushes were exorbitantly priced – I painted with poster colours, using them like oils. Later, when I did buy proper water colours, I continued to paint with them like one  would with oils! After having spent a year in Kishangarh, I was influenced by the miniature style, so I enjoyed using detailing in my work.

I gifted away many paintings, even sold some – making about 30-35  paintings in 2 years. And then, as suddenly, I stopped.

May be, one day, the painter’s soul shall come back to stay with me.

So here are the paintings:

Maji and Ush