A friend asked me to make another of these little coffee pot candle illustrations which I first produced back in 2014. It’s a fun technique: first drawing in charcoal, then painting with acrylic but the crackle glaze proved to be a bit tricky this time and took a few goes to get right. I rubbed white oil paint and beeswax on top of the glaze once I was happy with the cracks and finally a smear of glitter gel for the festive finish.
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.
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.
The hostel had lots of wallpaintings left by many guests so I offered them some cockerels…
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.
Painting in the reception area was a great way to meet people, and the cow and cockerels got a very warm welcome.
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.
This is Yogesh, one of the Moustache Hostel team. He asked me to draw his portrait so I worked in pencil from a photo.
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.
I was out at a concert in a bar in the village one night when I noticed a local photographer checking his camera at the bar; he’d taken some really striking portraits of the band and audience in black and white and I was particularly struck by the dark intensity of one of the shots and knew that I must make a drawn version. The photographer very kindly gave his permission, so I set to work with a charcoal version.
Having fixed the first charcoal layer I added to it to make the background and facial shadows more intense.
I then decided to ‘age’ it and to give it more warmth by adding an acrylic wash in a sepia tone and a layer of crackle glaze before applying stains to highlight the cracks.
It took several weeks before I ran into the subject of the portrait and was able to gain his permission to publish the piece, which I cropped close to emphasize the intimate pose.