Artwork in India (5) – Jaisalmar Workaway


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I chose to do a Workaway at a hostel in Jaisalmar because I wanted to go on a desert safari and the hostel owner said he wanted some help to decorate the rooftop terrace (along with some basic IT tasks).

When I got here it was apparent that many people had already contributed to the roof terrace decoration…some in a lovely way, some in quite a haphazard way!

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So, my exclusive rights to the wall space scuppered I set about capturing the beautiful view (above) of the fort while planning my strategy for mural painting in limited areas amongst a hotch-potch of other images.

camel, stencil, cutting, drawing, craft knife

I decided on a stencil with the .most obvious theme for a desert safari hostel – the camel.

camel, stencil, cutting, drawing, cardboard

I found a craft knife and the lid of a photocopy paper box in the market by the fort and set about preparing my template.

camel, stencil, painting, mural, illustration, repeat, acrylic paint

Having painted several camels along with a bit of red shading and yellow highlights  I added a border inspired by a Rajasthan folk art design.

wonbin safari hostel, roof terrace, jaisalmar, rajasthan, India, camel, decorative painting, mural, wall art, wall painting, folk art, acrylic paint, illustration, stencil, camels

wonbin safari hostel, roof terrace, jaisalmar, rajasthan, India, camel, decorative painting, mural, wall art, wall painting, folk art, acrylic paint, illustration, stencil, camels

wonbin safari hostel, roof terrace, fort, jaisalmar, rajasthan, India, camel, decorative painting, mural, wall art, wall painting, folk art, acrylic paint, illustration, stencil, camels

I did go on a camel safari, it was tremendous fun if a little hard on the thighs. Even though we didn’t venture very deep into the Thar desert the peace and vastness of the landscape were still impressive. We had chai on the dunes while watching the sunset, then ate dinner around a campfire before settling down to sleep under the stars. Gorgeous.

camel, camels, desert, dunes, safari, desert safari, Jaisalmar, wonbin safari hostel, rajasthan, India, travel, adventure, camping, sand, trek

While wandering around Jaisalmar old town I was struck by the number of Ganeshes painted on the houses.

jaisalmar, Ganesh, wall painting, elephant, elephants, god, hindu, marriage, rajasthan, india

Then someone told me that since Ganesh is the Hindu god of celebration (elephants are lucky) the people get him painted on their houses every time there’s a wedding.  In fact the paintings serve as a kind of invitation since they contain the names, date and location of the union. Ah-ha!

And talking of weddings, I just got invited to one! I went up to the fort for a massage, my second in a week since hard beds, overnight travel and painting have taken their toll on my middleaged bones. There’s a team of sisters who offer Ayurvedic loveliness in their home but the house was very busy when I got there so I expected to be turned away. One of the sisters explained that they were preparing for her neice’s nuptials and I got my massage and an invitation to the wedding in two days.

Excited. There is definitely an advantage to sticking around in one place for a bit longer than is usual on the backpacker trail.

jaisalmar, rajasthan, fort, India, thar desert, travel blog, workaway

 

Artwork in India (3) – Pushkar

Pushkar has been wonderful; a strange and delightful mix of the spiritual and the decadent with a bit of filth and hassle thrown in for good measure.

pushkar, India, camel, temple, travel blog

Don’t touch the flowers that are offered down by the ghats (sacred lakeside bathing areas)- you’ll get dragged into a lakeside blessing ceremony  and charged well for the honour.

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I sat in the doorway with some kind young musicians while I sketched this little market stall. They insisted that I showed the greengrocer the painting afterwards. He loved it.

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Unknowingly I arrived in Pushkar during the most sacred week of the Hindu calendar, which coincided with the famous camel fair.

The streets were full of pilgrims from all over India and beyond. I met an Argentinian Hindu who was staying at the same hotel and he explained a bit about the bathing rituals and took me to a couple of temples.

Photography is strictly prohibited at the lakeside so I thought I’d sketch the scene instead.

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The photography ban didn’t stop me being asked to pose for a couple of pictures!

camel, pushkar, camel fair, camel decoration, pen and wash, watercolour, drawing, sketchbook, watercolor

In Udaipur I met a lovely young camel expert from New Zealand who spoke so passionately about the camel fair that I decided to visit. When I arrived in Pushkar I met up with her again and spent a very interesting hour or so meeting the camels. They’re surprisingly sweet and dignified.

Inspired, I drew the camel above, the circle is a design based on the ornaments the camels are dressed with.

camel, mural, pushkar, camel fair, wall painting, painting, decoration, decorative painting, acrylic paint, illustration, travel, india

I then painted this version on the hotel wall before I left.

pushkar, moustache competition, moustache, beard, facial hair, rajasthani

The annual moustache competition was a hilarious highlight of the camel fair – Rajasthanis are certainly blessed in the hair department!  

Artwork in India (1) – Udaipur

new delhi, railway, station, train, overnight, journey, sketch, sketching, sketchbook, illustration, travel, figures, platform

I got to the train station in New Delhi early with the intention to draw. It was a little overwhelming but a kind man insisted that I sit on his blanket with him and his son which made drawing more comfortable. My train to Udaipur left bang on time at 7pm and I had a good 12 hour journey in a bunked sleeping compartment.

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This is the view across Lake Pichola from the roof of the Moustache Hostel in Udaipur. Rajasthanis have famously luxurious facial hair, hence the name of the hostel. 

wall painting, artist at work, stencil, cockerel, rooster, mural, acrylic paint, surface decoration, illustration, decoration, birds

The hostel had lots of wallpaintings left by many guests so I offered them some cockerels…

wall painting, artist at work, stencil, cockerel, rooster, mural, acrylic paint, surface decoration, illustration, decoration, birds

They then asked me to paint something in the space above the birds so I drew a design in my sketchbook inspired by a beautiful cow I’d seen on my first morning walk through the city.

holy, cow, sacred cow, holy cow, pen, watercolour, drawing, painting, watercolor, sketchbook, travel, India, rajasthan, udaipur, marigoldsAnd then transferred it to the wall (below) 

holy cow, cow, mural, wall painting, wall art, detail, nose, acrylic paint, emulsion paint, decoration, illustration, surface decoration, decorative painting, artwork, india, rajasthan, udaipur, moustache hostel, travel

Painting in the reception area was a great way to meet people, and the cow and cockerels got a very warm welcome.

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Here’s a pen and watercolour sketch I made at a little Hanuman temple in the street. The lady selling flowers next door kindly lent me a stool to sit on while I drew.

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This is Yogesh, one of the Moustache Hostel team. He asked me to draw his portrait so I worked in pencil from a photo.

udaipur, rajasthan, india, pen, sketch, lady, sari, cafe, illustration, travel

And here’s a quick pen sketch I made of a lady wearing a sari while she sat in a lakeside café. I’m sure she twigged that I was drawing her, she didn’t seem to mind but she did leave before I had a chance to add colour.

All in all a very enjoyable and creative first week here in India. I’m leaving the Moustache Hostel today to go and spend a few days with an Indian family here in Udaipur. 

Wednesday Beach Sketches

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This was a rather lovely way to spend a Wednesday afternoon in late October; great weather, swimming, beach tennis and a sketching opportunity provided by splendid company.

Life Drawing 3

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Here are a few of the charcoal and pastel sketches I made during last Saturday’s life drawing session with the Vejer Sketchers.

Many thanks to our delightful model who braved the first chill of autumn to pose for us in the Arte Vejer castle headquarters.

Sunday Beach Sketches

life drawing, model, sketching, beach sketches, charcoal, pastel

A couple of charcoal and pastel sketches made on the beach this Sunday

life drawing, model, sketching, beach sketches, charcoal, pastel

Life Drawing 2

life drawing, model, sketching, vejer sketchers, charcoal, pastel

I joined the Vejer Sketchers in the castle for another life drawing session on Sunday morning, easily one of the coldest days we’ve had this winter.

life drawing, model, sketching, vejer sketchers, charcoal, pastel life drawing, model, sketching, vejer sketchers, charcoal, pastel

Our model valiantly disrobed and while we drew, swathed in hats, scarfs and woollens, she patiently posed with a couple of meagre heaters and a hot water bottle to ward off the chill. Brave and generous to a fault.

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All sketches charcoal and chalk pastel.

Life Drawing

life drawing, model, sketching, vejer sketchers, charcoal, pastel

The Vejer Sketchers met today for the first life drawing session in the new Arte Vejer castle headquarters.

life drawing, model, sketching, vejer sketchers, charcoal, pastel

 

 

The model we’d booked to sit for us couldn’t get her car started but luckily found us a splendid last minute stand-in and all went well until our half time coffee break in a local bar…

 

life drawing, model, sketching, vejer sketchers, charcoal, pastel

 

 

We returned to the castle to find ourselves locked out with all our equipment still inside. It took a fair amount of door thumping and shouting to attract the attention of the key toting tour guide inside.

 

 

All in all a very enjoyable if slightly chaotic morning. It was the first outing for my pastels too, I love the intensity of the colours, the granular texture and the smooth way they go on…I’m looking forward to conducting more experiments with them soon…

Sketching Vejer

kathryn hockey, vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing

my first outing with the Vejer Sketchers

 

Late last year (2014) I was delighted to be invited to join Arte Vejer, a community organisation which aims to promote visual arts and creativity in and around the Andalusian town of Vejer de la Frontera.

 

Vejer Sketchers is a subsidiary group of Arte Vejer and part of the worldwide Urban Sketchers movement.

 

 

vejer sketchers, vejer de la frontera, urban sketchers, pen, drawing, sketch

Calle Sagasta, Vejer, pen

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Vejer, pen and coloured pencil

 

kathryn hockey, vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing

sketching on a roof terrace, Vejer

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sketching enthusiasts, from various walks of life, of different nationalities and ages, meet once a week; usually to draw in the streets of Vejer, sometimes joined by sketchers from other towns,

vejer sketches, concentrarte, vejer de la frontera, urban sketchers

Vejer Sketchers with sketch groups from other towns at Concentrarte, Vejer’s annual art street fair

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Calles Reyes Cátolicos and Rosario, Vejer, pen and watercolour

sketch, vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing, pen and water colour, vejer de la frontera, concurso de patios, patio competition, andalusia

some of the entrants in Vejer’s annual patio competition, pen and watercolour

sketch, vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing, pen and water colour, baelo claudia, bolonia, andalusia, roman ruins, poppies, cadiz, ayuntamiento vejer

Ayuntamiento Vejer, Baelo Claudia Bolonia, 47th Sketchcrawl Cadiz, pen and watercolour

 

 

sometimes traveling to join sketch groups in other locations,

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sketching in the rain in Bolonia

 

 

 

 

 

life drawing with a model,

vejer sketchers, life drawing, charcoal, crayon, sketch

charcoal and crayon

ejer sketchers, life drawing, charcoal, sketch

charcoal

ejer sketchers, life drawing, charcoal, crayon, sketch

charcoal and crayon

or even drawing each other.

vejer sketchers, watercolour sketches, portraits, sketch

watercolour sketches

In this Arte Vejer video, which features stills of some of my pre-Sketchers artwork, I talk (in Spanish) about my New Year’s Resolution to join the Vejer Sketchers, saying that street sketching in a group is brave and interesting and a great contrast to my usual controlled method of drawing and developing images in my studio with photos for reference.

vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing, pen and water colour, vejer de la frontera, chorizo

chorizo, pen and watercolour

Actually, the Vejer Sketchers experience has surpassed all my expectations; the group dynamic is incredibly friendly and supportive and diffuses the potential self-consciousness associated with drawing in public places (safety in numbers!).

sketch, vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing, pen and water colour, vejer de la frontera

Vejer, pen and watercolour

I’ve enjoyed painting with watercolours since I was a child and the Vejer Sketchers have inspired me to try new techniques and different formats – my confidence, speed, motivation and skill have all improved.

sketch, vejer sketchers, urban sketchers, drawing, pen and water colour, vejer de la frontera, hibiscus

hibiscus, pen and watercolour

Come and join us if you can!