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Food

Imagine a world with no limits...what would you eat? Where would you go to eat? Who would you share these Divine Delights with? ...Read More

Wine

From young root clippings in dry, arduous conditions to fruit bursting with the essence of the surrounding countryside, grapes are cultivated over a long period of time to bring you an explosion of sensory impact...Read More

Art

Where does inspiration come from? Travel has always been a vehicle to carry an artist off in a new direction. Travel, it has been said, purifies the mind, body and soul.Read More

Archive for Art

Kerala Boats – Travel Through The Intracoastal Waterways By Boat

Oil painting by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar titled "Kerala Waterway Workers" (c)2017

Oil painting by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar titled “Kerala Waterway Workers” (c)2017

Kerala boats are unique to the Malabar Coast and dot the intracoastal waterways that lie parallel to the Andaman sea. These boats are a significant part of the local economy as they bring important commercially grown produce such as rice, coconuts, bananas and spices to the coast for distribution. These boats are capable of carrying the equivalent of 3 trucks.

Oil painting by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar titled "Kerala Waterway Workers" (c)2017

Oil painting by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar titled “Kerala Waterway Workers” (c)2017

These Kerala boats are called vallams in the Malayalam language, native to Kerala. Vallams are canoes made from local wood called ‘Anjali’ or jack-wood and deeply oiled with a black resin from the kernel of cashews, a locally grown produce. The black silhouette of the canoe on the water is a signature of the waterways. Racing canoes are much longer and can hold up to a hundred oarsmen. These often have more prominent prows with carvings and paint. But it is the common Kerala boat that I loved seeing on the still waters being pulled along by poles and paddles.

 

Oil painting by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar, Kerala Boat

Oil painting by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar, Kerala Boat.

These two oil paintings on canvas of Kerala Boats measure 36″ x 18″. The solitary boat moored alongside the river is typical of the boats used to move people and cargo. The oil painting with the two workers transporting wooden planks was captured after sunset on the waterway to Alleppey. We were traveling north on a Government Ferry from Quilon (Kollam) after spending considerable time on Lighthouse Beach in Trivandrum.

Kettuvallam (Converted rice barge for Kerala Tourism); Kerala Boat, Houseboat; Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar photography; copyright 2002

Kettuvallam – Converted rice barge moored alongside a rice paddy on the waterway to Alleppey, Kerala India. Photography by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar (c)2002.

 

Kettuvallams are the large houseboats covered in intricate bamboo and palm leaves. Everything is tied together with coir or rope made from coconut fibers. From what I recall, there is not a single nail or screw holding these canoe planks together…just the coir. These larger Kerala boats are in the 60-70′ length with a 15′ beam. The houseboats are converted barges and designed for the tourist industry. The pace is slow and leisurely, which is ideal for anyone birdwatching, photographing the local riverscape or wishing to just take in the journey and relax all day long and night.

Kerala Waterways are hot, humid and immensely beautiful under the blazing Indian sun. It is easy to spot kingfishers, sea eagles, water snakes and water rats. Fish jump and birds skim the surface seeking insects.

Along the shore people wash dishes, shower or bathe. Bamboo outhouses line the river. The waters are brackish. Salt water from the sea doesn’t penetrate the intracoastal waters due to a natural and artificially supported breakwater. The lakes, lagoons and rivers are fed by mountain streams inland.

At night, just after sunset, women in a stunning array of jewel tones sarees walk single file along the river. The rich color against the palm frond backdrop is perfectly reflected in the silvery water is simply beautiful to behold.

Kerala boats; women in sarees along the Kerala waterways India. Photography by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar

Kerala boats; women in sarees along the Kerala waterways India. Photography by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar (c)2002.

Converted rice barge for Kerala Tourism. Photography by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar (c)2002.

Kerala boat: Converted rice barge for Kerala Tourism. Photography by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar (c)2002.

Scenic Kerala Waterways at sun down. Photography by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar (c)2002.

Scenic Kerala Waterways at sun down. Photography by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar (c)2002.

Traditional Hindu Foods and Our Beloved Kitchen Terrorist

Traditional Hindu Foods, oil painter Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar, India, Art

Oil Painting by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar of Aji Nirmala Kelkar

Post Munja (Thread) Ceremony in Pune, India, Anand’s maternal grandmother (aji) was sitting at the table that was laid out with a feast of traditional Hindu foods. She had waited for the ceremonies to be over so she could see us in our fancy dress and watch us eat the classic Brahmin food that had been specially prepared for the feast over the last three days. Before we sat down to eat, she insisted that Anand’s mother and my “Indian foster mother” who were already exhausted from their early morning efforts, put rangoli in a colorful and decorative design around our plates that we were going to eat from.

Aji got the nickname of “Kitchen Terrorist” from me after we realized that she had driven all the hired help to quitting, and her own children crazy with demands from the kitchen, the pantry, appetizers and meal requests that were out of season and out of the question. In her heyday she had been the most awesome cook according to her family and friends. After she broke her hip and had some other health issues that prevented her from standing up, she became a bedridden dictator much to the sorrow of everyone near and dear to her.

It took me under three minutes to quickly taste my tiny portions, which Anand’s mother thoughtfully placed on my plate, knowing full well that I wouldn’t like or want to eat any of it. My problem with the food in India is difficult for me to explain. I don’t like heavily sweetened foods, especially fruit; I have sensory aversions to the smell and taste of curry leaf and heavy saffron flavors; additionally I do not like lentils, broccoli, cauliflower, okra or eggplant; and at the time I was doing my best not to eat carbs like rice, flour, potatoes, refined grains or other root vegetables. Take a wild guess what traditional Brahmin food is loaded with? Sugars and starches. Aji was at a loss to understand me and why I would not partake in her traditional Hindu foods.

Traditional Hindu foods are used on holy days. They abstain from strong herbs and spices, such as garlic, onions and chilies as they are too stimulating when one is to be in a meditative or prayerful state.

This oil painting is on canvas and measures 12″ x 16″.

Hindu Fire Ceremony As Still Life Painting

Hindu Fire Ceremony, oil painter Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar, Art, India

Hindu Fire Ceremony by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar (signed with her Hindu name “Amrita”)

A Hindu Fire Ceremony is something to behold. The natural ingredients are dried cow patties, mango sticks, ghee (clarified butter), dried grasses and string made from coir, marigolds, rice, copper bowls and basic clay bricks present a lovely collection of textures and harmonious colors.

This oil painting is on cotton canvas and measures 20″x24″.

Personal Story About This Hindu Fire Ceremony

Half way through my husband Anand’s Munja’s Hindu fire ceremony, the fire that was built using dried cow-patties, a few twigs and fueled heavily by ghee started smoking to high heavens. The recreation hall doors were all open, and the wind was changing directions causing the priests to lean left then right in a weak attempt to avoid the smoke as they chanted their lines. I ran around the room closing windows and doors trying to channel the smoke between the gents, but each time the wind outwitted me.

Anand, patient as ever and acting respectful, was completely smoked out as the flames worked to steady themselves in the clocking breeze.

I turned to his Uncle Kumar and said, “I know Anand, as a scientist, must be hating every minute of this and he is probably staying put to make this part of the ceremony end fast. Can’t we do something about the smoke?”

Kumar-mama just laughed and said, “Don’t you know Annie, it is a holy fire making holy smoke that will purify Anand.” Right. All I understood was that my sweetheart had to inhale the ash and smoke from burning cow dung, which motivated me to make one more attempt to channel the draft. When I successfully directed the smoke between the Pandits and away from Anand, sure enough it was all over in another two minutes.

Hindu fire ceremonies are pleasant enough. Between the chanting of the priests to the gods and the simple offerings it is a reflective time. If you ever have a chance to sit through one take it!

 

 

 

Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas Nevada – Fun Stuff I Saw

Inside the hotel, there are numerous areas that have been decorated in a fantastical manner. The artsy touches and designs change with the season and are always spectacular, designed to be whimsical and take one’s breath away. As my visit coincided with Mother’s Day and Springtime, the presentation was along the lines of “April showers bring May flowers, what do Mayflowers bring?” –the answer might surprise you. Take a look!

Handpainted umbrellas with large colorful poppies hang upside down from wires in an artistic show, under the glass ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Icelandic Poppy Painted Umbrellas Overhead

This is a photo of hand painted umbrellas hanging from various wires in the ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

Poppies always delight the eye

This is a photo of umbrellas hanging from the ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

This is a photo of hand painted umbrellas in detail as they hang from the ceiling of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Seriously, what's not to love?

This is a photo of hand painted umbrellas as viewed through an archway into a garden.

I want to have cocktails under these umbrellas!

This is a photo of the garden scene behind the concierge desk at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

Maybe after a few cocktails I'd feel like Alice...

This is a photo of large planters with flowers tucked into a large fountain basin at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Genius! No need to throw out your old fountain, stuff it full of planters. But make sure they've had a few cocktails first.

This is an image of a vintage Schwinn bicycle resting against a ticket booth in a flower bed inside the Bellagio Hotel and Casino Conservatory of Flowers, as part of an artistic display.

No locks needed

This is a photo of the heron bird sculptures made from moss, seashells and paint inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Bigger than life herons

This is an image of a floral sculpture at the Conservatory in the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Floral Sculpture or Floral Painting?

This is a detail of the floral sculpture inside the Conservatory at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

All I could think of when I saw this masterpiece was, "Wow!"

This is a photo of the painting referenced by the floral sculpture inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

The floral sculpture is inspired by this painting by David Hockney. The original is inside the Bellagio Hotel in the Fine Art Gallery.

This is a detail of the floral sculpture inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Someone gets an "A+" for artistic cleverness. How I wish it was me...

This is a photo of a handcrafted butterfly that hangs from the ceiling inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Butterfly Magic!

This is a photo of a large pink butterfly resting against a handcrafted tree inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Butterflies are best seen from a distance. Up close, they are quite creepy.

This is a photo of a handcrafted tree with pink blossoms and butterflies inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Blossoms and Butterfly...how much more enchantment can a person handle?

This is a photo of my daughter Arabella inside the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.

Arabella inside the Bellagio Conservatory

Surfer Dude car in Laguna Beach

Note that this surfer has a tail, so maybe the dreadlocks are the mane of a lion?  And the board may have teeth!

Surfer dude car

Taken April 9, 2011

Close-up of surfer dude car

Terranea Resort – Things That Catch The Eye

This site has provided me a platform to write and show image of all that I love: the beauty of the outdoors, the beauty of the indoors, food and wine and more. Terranea captured my eye in many ways from the wide sweeping views to minute decorating details in the resort. Take this wall in the spa for example. I think it is made from saki cups that have a hole bored out in the bottom for attaching them to the wall in a concentric manner to replicate the white blossoms of spring. Dang! That is clever in my mind!

This is a photo of what appears to be white ceramic saki cups nestled into each other and attached to the wall in a formation of scattered blossoms.

White Ceramic Blossoms at the Spa in Terranea Resort

This is a photo of the spa wall from a distance to capture the look of white blossoms cascading from the ceiling towards the floor. The blossoms appear to be made from white saki cups.

Spa wall of blossoms

Other things that caught my eye there:

This is a photo of an oil painting of a sailboat at the dock framed in gold.

Plein Aire Impressionism Abounds at Terranea Resort

This is a photo of an oil painting (Plein Air Painting of the Cove at Terranea Resort, Palo Verda, CA.)

Plein Air Painting of the Cove at Terranea Resort, Palo Verda, CA.

And the outdoors are decorated here and there, too:

This is a photo of glass Morrocan Hanging Lamps hanging by the pool area.

Morrocan Hanging Lamps

Outdoors I spotted many beautiful plants, flowers and details.

This is a photo of the center of a cactus plant.

Ruffled Succulent

This is a photo of a lucious lime green cactus plant.

Geometry in nature casts a spell!

Florist setting up a magnificent outdoor wedding let me poke around with my camera.

This is a photo of the center of a white lilly in a wedding arrangement.

Oh, Lily! Where are your stamens?

This is a photo of white hydrangeas in a wedding arrangement at Terranea Resort, Palos Verde, CA.

Pure. Fresh. White Hydrangea.

This is a close-up photo of the center of a decorative white cabbage.

When did cabbage start looking like a rose?

This is a photo of a wedding arrangement at Terranea Resort, Palos Verde, CA.

Timeless arrangements...

I hope you enjoyed some of these images. I could do an entire month of posting on the artwork hanging in the resort there is enough to fill a museum! Does anyone know if the artwork is by local artists?

Port San Pedro – ‘The Thing’ aka ‘The Quarter Million Dollar Mistake’

At the corner of West 7th Street and South Centre Street, next to Portside Cleaners, in Port San Pedro is a strange sight.  “It” doesn’t have a name that we could determine but it has a story.  According to some locals, this gizmo-gadget senses your every move and it follows your movements when you walk by…when it works. The locals we spoke to about this gizmo-gadget say that it was (or is) some architect’s far-out idea of “cool, fun, modern sculpture” but no one there seems to appreciate the suggested $200+k price tag it came with. It’s been broken for some time and there is no sign of it getting fixed.

This is a photo of a gizmo-gadget in Port San Pedro that the locals scoff at.

Gizmo Gadget Thang-a-Ma-Bob

This is a close up photo of the gizmo gadget in Port San Pedro, CA.

It looks like the high intensity lamp in the name Pixar Studios.

This is a photo of the red top on the gizmo gadget in Port San Pedro, CA.

Oh, thank God it's not looking right now!

This is a photo of Anand standing in front of the gizmo gadget in Port of San Pedro, CA.

Height reference: Anand is almost 6' tall

Cool Cars Seen in Port of San Pedro, Los Angeles CA “Pharaoh’s Car Club”

I just have to share some really cool cars we saw at a young bride’s wedding in Port San Pedro. The bride’s uncle owns the cars and leases them to Hollywood for period pieces according to one person we spoke with. We smiled broadly as all the groom’s men posed next to the cars and had their photos taken. I couldn’t help but admire how beautiful these cars are and share them with you. It is moments like these that make travel fun. Enjoy! -Annie

The Pink City of Jaipur: Visiting the Summer, Winter and Spring Palaces of the Maharajahs

Rajasthan is India’s largest state, and Jaipur is its capital.  It is called the Pink City because its buildings are constructed of pink stucco and forts of red sandstone.  The 9 block grid was laid out in 1727 on Hindu principles, with unusually broad avenues for its time.

Now, 2.5 million people live here.

We first entered the city at night, and predictably, the first place we were taken was shopping in the bazaar.  Raj, our driver, maintains this is the best shopping in India.  We enjoyed watching him buy cheap screened colorful twin bedspreads for his 3 children.  Each shop is set back from a well-kept arcade sheltering a raised sidewalk, and families sat on narrow padded benches buying saris (it’s wedding season here).  We were shown silk scarves and bought 2.

This morning, our guide Anapurna brought us up the thorny, sere hills to the Amber Fort, perched high on a mountain 11 km outside of Jaipur.

It was originally built by the Kachhwaha Rajputs, who were rewarded for their allegiance to Mughal court in defending them in skirmishes. Using booty from wars, they began construction in 1592.  It is a perfect defensible site, made stronger by Great Wall of China style defense works on surrounding hills.

After waiting in line 40 min. we got on board an elephant sidesaddle in a sort of padded metal cage and wound our way up the hill.  The elephants are painted with pink and green designs and lurch back and forth enough to make you feel you are going to fall off or crash into the next elephant.  Gail touched his bristly stubble and was surprised at the texture.  They eat sugar cane and love naan bread with butter for snacks!

Feeling highly relieved to get off, we visited the red sandstone Maharajah’s Hall of Public Audience, with white marble columns hidden in the middle.  The Summer, Winter and Spring Palaces surround a garden irrigated by rain water collected in cisterns.  Their capacity was sufficient for 10,000 people for 3 years.  The water was cleaned by a system of filters, screens and bowls made of clay under the palace.  The Hall of Victory’s mirrored surfaces are being restored.

In the Hall of Pleasure, a slanted board fed water to a channel that cooled the room. It was then channeled to water the plants in the sunken garden.  In the Summer Palace, reed curtains were wet down, and the wind passing through them cooled the terraces.

The technologies used 350 years ago have been abandoned.  But we marveled at the use of shiny white plaster to brighten dark corridors, the advanced sunken (Jacuzzi) marble bathing octagon high above Lake Maota, the clever working of marble to permit ladies to sit above the courtyard and see but not been seen…this place was, and is, an engineering triumph.  It is also beautiful, with its Persian influenced flower paintings on gates, and its intricate mosaics and mirrors.

After a delicious lunch of local desert specialties, we spent several hours…shopping, what else!

We were shown wood-block printing.  Designs were carved into teak and a long piece of cotton cloth was laid out on a table.  The worker chose the background color, dipped the wood block in that color and went down the row.  In the wood block there was a little symbol to let him know where to place the next design so it would line up correctly.

The vegetable dyes became set after 2 days of sun exposure, transforming from dark to brilliant.  Green color comes from mango leaves and spinach, black from iron oxide, blue from indigo, etc.

Although the Maharajahs no longer rule, they are rich and live in palaces in the city.  The complex contains a museum with royal costumes and polo outfits (the game was invented here).  Near the inner courtyard are the Peacock, Lotus, Green and Rose gates symbolizing the four seasons.  It’s overlooked by the towering yellow Chandral Mahal where the family lives.  Salmon-colored arcaded pavilions with glass chandeliers, silver thrones and giant water vessels, fine paintings all speak of lives of unimaginable excess.

The coolest site was the Observatory, built by Jai Singh in 1728.

It’s like a giant outdoor playground for astronomers.  The largest is the 27m (90 ft.) high sundial with a staircase to the top.  Its arm is set at 27 degrees n. latitude.  The shadow cast moves up to 12 ft. per hour.  There are 12 zodiac instruments and others calculate declination (angular distance of heavenly bodies from celestial equator), and altitude and azimuth of celestial bodies, determination of equinoxes and location of the Pole Star.

We photographed the one-room deep Palace of the Winds, a pink sandstone building of 5 ethereal stories, which allowed royal ladies to watch the city life below.

When the British were rulers here, the photos show a clean uncrowded city.  However, Jaipur suffers from the same squalor we have seen everywhere in India.  Efforts to restore the red historical facades won’t mean anything unless everyone pitches in to clean up the garbage in front of their own shops.

Claudia and Gail

Fatipur Sikri Architecture – The Fort and Abandoned Moghul Palace

Fatehpur Sikri architecture, oil painting, oil painter Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar, Moghul palace Fatehpur Sikri in Agra, India.

Moghul Palace “Fatipur Sikri” – Agra, India

We had left the Taj Mahal behind us as we traveled by government bus back towards Delhi, but not before we visited this Moghul palace that had been deserted, it is believed, for a lack of water. This is where the city of Fatipur Sikri architecture is showcased in the fort and abandoned Moghul Palace.

It was late in the day, perhaps 4PM and the sun was straining through the white smog to keep the scene well lit. A few national tourists roamed the area and children gave furtive glances as they took stock of who was present in the great open square. Later we would find ourselves surrounded by half a dozen kids all trying to pickpocket us.

Without warning or invitation, a self-appointed guide materialize out of nowhere who started telling us facts about the place. We reluctantly let this entrepreneurial fellow tag along, but on this day, money was extremely tight and he would be looking for a tip thereby leaving us with nothing once we got off the bus in the middle of the night in Delhi.

We had arrived at the Taj Mahal only to discover to our horror that the policy had changed regarding fees and currency. We would be admitted if we paid $15US each. Nationals, by comparison, paid the equivalent of thirty-five cents US. Anand attempted to buy one national ticket for him and a US one for me, but they had him figured out. He was an “NRI” –non-resident Indian and he would have to pay full price. We rarely carried cash on us in any great amount when out and about as we didn’t like to take risks, but whenever we knew we could face a major change in plans where we might have to stay in a hotel, for instance, we brought about $40US cash with us. This entrance fee at the Taj Mahal ruined our insurance plan.

This is a photograph of an archway inside Fatehpur Sikri palace in Agra, India. Fatipur Sikri Architecture

Fatipur Sikri Architecture “Archway”

Not only did the recent ticket hike take us by surprise, we saw many Europeans and Asians who did not have US dollars on them get turned away. We were shocked by this and had extreme sympathy for these tourists who had traveled by train –some for two days only to be met by this dual pricing system. It seems that a recently appointed politician made an abrupt decision shortly before our visit and changed the policy. There was no system in place for accommodating other world currencies, no credit card sales or ATM nearby to help those who didn’t carry dollars. (Westerners couldn’t pay in Rupees either, which made no sense at all.)

It was painful to watch tourists get upset and try to reason with the clerks at the entrance to the park. However, it was more painful to open our wallet since our fees represented one and a half times our daily backpacking budget in India. When you travel around the world for almost half a dozen months, most people have a daily budget that is in keeping with your lifestyle but you must make cost comparisons at the local level. Feeling gouged and taken advantage of for being Westerners added to our frustration because it wasn’t the first or last time it would happen to us in India.

I grumbled the whole way into the park, but the moment I saw Taj Mahal, all grumbling ceased and I got completely lost in its stunning –no, breathtaking beauty.

This is a photograph of one facade of Fatehpur Sikri from inside the plaza. Fatipur Sikri Architecture

Fatehpur Sikri Architecture – From inside the plaza.

Thinking that anything after the Taj Mahal would be anti-climatic, I wasn’t expecting anything from the rest of the tour, but I was wrong. Something about this magnificent red sandstone palace captured me in a way I wasn’t expecting. The minarets, domes, archways, door details, carvings, filigree and play of light and dark on the rose colored stone left me speechless. It appeared to me as one big, gigantic stone that had been masterfully carved to reveal a palace. Of course, that is not how it was created, but that was the impression left upon me. Fatipur Sikri architecture is stunning.

This painting is from a photograph I took. I saw humor in it; Three women looking away from something incredibly beautiful. Whatever were they looking at? If you had been there, you would have known they were looking at an equally beautiful facade of arches and doors, columns, domes and more architectural detail than one’s brain can register in the moment.

In my painting, on a small 9″ x 12″ canvas, the detail was frustrating to paint and took many hours with a size zero and double zero brush. A painting on a large scale canvas would have been ideal and, if I am inspired to try my hand at this scene again, I will work on a 4′ x 5′ canvas.

Exploring The Hues of Fatipur Sikri Architecture

The sandstone itself creates some strange optical illusions because it changes color here and there. The inconsistency of color warps the perspective. For example, imagine what happens when the normal rule of “darks recede and lights advance” is reversed or mixed up. I fought my inclination to correct some of this because it made the floor look pitched downwards and not on level with flooring elsewhere. (Should I even point out these inconsistencies? –or is it a  disservice to myself?)
In painting this facade on a small canvas with a “fine” texture, I learned that it wasn’t fine enough. The natural warp and weave in the canvas could create distortions in the building’s lines and it added to my constant, never ending frustration as a realist painter. A wooden surface, such as a mahogany panel that had been prepped for ultra-fine realistic work, would have been best.

This is a photograph of a domed roofline in Fatehpur Sikri. Fatipur Sikri Architecture

Fatehpur Sikri Roofline

Red sandstone of Fatipur Sikri’s architecture, ranging in hue from deep bloody purples to light ivory peach, created a luscious palette to work from. The antiquity of the buildings has stood the test of time burdened by hot desert sun, winds carrying abrasive sand, pollution and dirt cover every architectural detail, etchings from rare rains, highly acidic bird droppings, and normal wear and tear from humans and animals…yet these harsh conditions have rendered these palace buildings full of character. Nothing is perfect or regular which might be why I chose to paint it: it was a very forgiving building for a realist painter to capture on canvas.  [Note: Make no mistake, this painting was extremely challenging in its own right and I would never wish the task on anyone. <LOL> Definitely pick something easier to paint…that’s all I have to say.]

Visitors in my home press their noses up against this small canvas as they examine it. Four hundred and forty-four years later, the Moghul palace of Fatehpur Sikri does not disappoint. In my humble opinion, it holds up well against the Taj Mahal as a treasure in Moghul architecture and history. It should not be missed and I think, for best viewing and as an artist, visit it at a time of day when the sun strikes the building facades at an angle. and you will be guaranteed a feast for your eyes.

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