Monday, September 24, 2018

Pelican flight day

Our day was rainy here. From what I can see, it's raining in Fairhope as well. The weather seems appropriate enough to match our moods. Time together well spent, with lots of bonding done with Neel and family here. Then there's the sigh, the tears begin to flow and my heart hurts at the thought of leaving.  I told Christina, "I'm not ready to go yet."
She said "Then stay."
It will be hard to pull up anchor and sail away to a distant shore after feeling the love here and being inspired.

Yet, there is a pull from our place we call home so far away right now. Tomorrow is our last day here and adventure awaits after we get home. First, we will drag our tired bodies into the place we call the Raccoon Retreat. Then the dachshund screaming, barking, and happy whimpering  will begin. I am certain we will just sit on the floor and allow them all over us for a happy reunion. We will then shower and crawl into our own bed.
(Or maybe on the recliner sofa,  covered in dachshunds!)

Thursday finds us hitting ground running. At least I pray we are functioning!  Chris has orders for stretcher bar frames, both from a local artist and of course from me. I have completed a lot of work here and two have sold already. Saturday and Sunday I have the Jubilee show in Daphne. Monday I am shipping colored crab II to a lucky birthday girl in Georgia. There is also a lot of stretching, varnishing, painting, and wiring to be done before shrimp festival.
Permits to be bought for a show, a place to stay during Kentuck near B'ham.
The list is long, but I will never forget my time here.
Time well spent............

Pelican flight day, 12x12, acrylic on canvas.
Day 86 of the 100 days-100 paintings 2018

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Great blue heron

Today was a full day for us! We had a great breakfast that kept us full for the morning rush. We got into the car and started our adventure. Christinas mother in law, Sumita took us on a hunt for a very small table for next to the chair in Neels room. We started down a long row of shops and open air markets. Not finding what we wanted, after going to several shops, Sumita took us to a magical place......

Shamar Farm is behind a gate with guards. What is it......amazing!

This once working farm is now a venue for weddings and large events. What most people don't realize is there is a portion of the farm that is a resting place for varying amounts of antiques and modern furniture .  This place has some the the most beautiful British Colonial furniture I have ever seen. The wonderful thing is, the craftsman here can replicate and or refinish virtually any piece of furniture in the place. They not only have furniture, but they have awesome amount of architectural pieces from old buildings in India. I have so many ideas for a new series of architectural art, done in sepia on my traditional white backgrounds. My month in India has been an inspirational, beautiful,  sometimes overwhelming experience of Family, friends, food, and ART!
P.S. check out my facebook page for photos from our trip to the farm!

Great Blue Heron, Acrylic on canvas, 12x12
Day 84 of the 100 days- 100 paintings 2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Carlin the loggerhead turtle

Carlin was at the turtle center on Jeckle Island. We toured the facility and found this little guy swimming in a tank. The state of Georgia allows them one rescue turtle to use as an education ambassador  for a year.  Carlin was hatched on July 29th 2017. The nest was excavated a few days later and that was when carlin was chosen to be the ambassador. They also knew who his mother was. Her name is Cinco and appropriately enough because she was tagged on Cinco de Mayo. She also had 5 confirmed  nests that year.

The days are winding down here, we are one day closer to home. I am torn though, I know it will be hard to leave and yet, I  miss home. Family , friends, and fellowship, all that makes India,
Well.... India!

Carlin the loggerhead sea turtle, acrylic on canvas, 12x12
Day 83 of the 100 days-100 paintings 2018

Friday, September 21, 2018

Blue crab tango

Today found us on the road to help a new friend relax before she leaves to go back home to Florida. She stayed here at the house in Neels room for one night. She is fresh off a medical mission trip and talked about the experiences she had while working in the villages. She is a delight and lives in Ft. Lauderdale and wants to see a show when we come back down to Melbourne. I will be so glad to call her friend.
We started out our morning at the Durga Puja site where the statues are still being built. She loved the artistry and complexity of the statues. The framework built from bamboi is now being covered in fabric and tarps for the coming market that is before the big holiday next month. Hand made articles from all over India will be for sale, as well as street food of all types. I'm certain it will be a feast for the eyes and I am certain I will want to overindulge in the beautiful works. It opens on September 23rd and I can't wait!

We again found ourselves at Lodi garden again in the heart of Delhi. These gardens are truly lush, with plants from all over the world. We found periwinkle, crape myrtle, roses, honeysuckle, and the strangest lawnmower we've ever seen! The lawnmower is a beast, weighing in at a couple hundred pounds. Did I mention it's a walk behind too? We came in at gate number one, and followed the trail from the front to the Lodi burial tomb near the back. There is a large lake here, that winds it's way around the tomb. We went inside, they are in the beginning process of restoration,  and saw some of the most beautiful hand painted tiles near the ceiling. We also went into the mosque on the grounds, covered in the remnants of incised plaster arabic(?) writings. Niches, arches, and beautiful carved stones made what was probably resplendent in it's day. The history here is amazing and they left beautiful architecture to let us get a small glimpse into their lives. The domes to me are the most intriguing parts of the buildings. How they were built in such gorgeous detail, with iron rings in the walls. The iron rings I imagine were used for either lanterns or fabric hung from the walls. How beautiful they must have been before robbers took the pieces for sale to make a living. We walked the entire garden, with Chris taking us on a wrong turn going backwards instead of forwards. Our new friend told him was fired as our guide and could no longer lead! By then we were all soaking wet with sweat and grateful we had purchased drinks at the beginning. Cokes 16 oz are 40 rupies here (about 60 cents).

We then traveled to Kahn market. Kushal and Christina told us about a restaurant and we were on the hunt. We also stepped into shops filled to the brim with merchandise of all types. Uneven sidewalks,  cars crammed into every possible spot, motorcycles and people all jammed into a square block area. We even had one guy with his wife pass us with their groceries,  looked at Chris and said Gday mate! People visiting here from everywhere in the world. 

We found the restaurant called The Big Chill but found a wait of 15 minutes, Chris wandered and found a barber shop in the corner that has been there for 32 years! He went in and enjoyed their air conditioning, a head massage, and a much needed trim. Meanwhile we were seated and ordered our meals. Turns out The Big Chill is a wonderful Italian, Mediterranean,  Continental cuisine restaurant. I ordered Rosemary chicken for Chris, Tuscany chicken for myself, and our new friend ordered a smoked grilled cheese and vegetables plate. I cannot speak for the others, but mine was amazing! Heavy cream, butter, parm cheese, roasted dried tomatos and spinach  combined with tender chicken. The green beans and carrots were cooked to perfection with just the right amount of garlic and crunch. I did not even try the potatoes, the rest was all so good! Italian paradise in the form of chicken in the heart of Delhi!

We finished our day watching Neel for a bit so the parents could have some time at a wedding for a bit.

Painting?

Did that too!
Blue crab tango, acrylic on canvas,  8 x 16
Day 82 of the 100 days-100 paintings 2018

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Small blue crab sepia V

Whew!
This has been a day of love and worry.

Surrounded by love and care by the people that are here. Feeling the love from home and that people are missing us there.

Worry because of naughty dachshunds rifling through things they should not, and eating things they shouldn't.  The pups have not been angels since we left home and we will have some retraining to accomplish. We will also have a gate to build that I have wanted for over a year now. No ordinary gate, it will have to be a collapsible one that will fit against my cabinet on the end of a peninsula in my kitchen. The reason for the gate, a naughty girl or boy perhaps? A naughty girl most likely! I mean there are 4 girls to one boy in our house.......

One in particular has my heart, Divya. She loves everyone and will love on all who come her way.
Unfortunately she also loves food, things she thinks is food, and things that smell like food. This penchant for food comes with her ability to get up on things! She has been caught more than once on the counter in the kitchen, which requires a jump up on my banquet, then another one to the counter. Hence the need for a gate. Why do I know ? How do I know it's her? Because the sneaky little devil gets caught red pawed with her stolen goods in the kennel! She is also protective of her ill gotten gains when confronted with her mischief in plain sight.

Then there's Bandit, maybe it's him!
He usually not completely innocent in the food racketeering.  We've found him on the counter as well, although he runs when he sees us coming! I would not be surprised if this brother and sister daring duo weren't working in tandem. Bandit is much more agile than his overweight sister and I could see him taking advantage of the sitter's momentary lack of an eagle eye on them. I would also not be surprised if the greedy sister wouldn't take the spoils of his efforts away from him!

But wait! There's Trixie, the dynamic duos mother. She's been caught doing the counter dance as well.

There are two others in the house, Frida is almost 14 and too smart to get up there. She's smart enough to let the others do the work, but take advantage of the spoils. Tut, she'll take the blame for everything, she puts Gollum to shame with her groveling when we're actually fussing at someone else!

They have managed to get an entire loaf of whole grain bread that was all the way at the stove. Mind you, it's not a mile but it is up a banquet, onto a counter, past the coffee pot, through the sink,on another counter to get to the prize. Then a reverse trip to take it to the kennel.  This time, my poor sitter was subjected to them hauling her purse off a load of laundry on the banquet, then hauling said purse into the kennel. I've held this woman's purse, its large and heavy! Both the sitter and I were concerned the little devils had gotten ahold of her iron pills. Fortunately when it was all said and done, it was expensive multi vitamins that will have to be replaced.
Hopefully they won't become ill from their adventures!
Yes I contacted a vet, fingers crossed!

One thing is certain, there's never a dull moment at the Raccoon Retreat Studio!

Small blue crab sepia, acrylic on canvas 8x8
Day 81 Of the 100 days-100 paintings 2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Small blue crab sepia IV

Another sunset falls here in India, while you are now near noon. We are having a restful time here, with long days of painting with food, family, and new grandson in between. Our days start about 8 with showers and breakfast on the second floor. We then try to help in the kitchen, being shooed away by our most gracious hostess. We barely even have to clear our plates from the table. After our morning meal, we may go for a walk or head to the studio on the third floor for me to paint in between helping with Neel. Chris reads the paper, then heads upstairs where I am.
We sent him to the grocery store today with the driver to get a few items for the evening meal. Lunch was typical indian fare, with lots of choices to be made. Chris will indeed be spoiled when we go home and there's only two choices for dinner, take it or leave it. After a rough night the night before, we both took advantage of afternoon nap time. I rested for a while, then headed back to the studio to paint and wait. Later in the evening,  Christina made minced chicken burgers with jalapeños,  quite tasty, but hot! She also made navy potatoes that took 1 1/2 hours in her toaster oven. You see, ovens are a luxury item here. They are too hot to be considered a necessity in this environment.  Bappa bought her a countertop oven for baking. Not the best for baking, but it will do! It heats up almost the entire floor , it would work really well in winter here !
After dinner at 830pm we had family come for a visit. We have been invited over to their home hopefully before we go to our own home in the US. Family cooed over the baby, and Christina whisked him away as he was asleep. She came back down with the monitor, but only had a brief time before she had to go back upstairs because the monitor quit working.
Such was today here in India hot, happy, and habitually relaxing. Home is one day closer, but it will be hard to leave here!

Small blue crab sepia IV, acrylic on canvas 8x8
Day 78 of the 100 days- 100 paintings 2018

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Blue crab small sepia III

Our day today was spent together as husband and wife. India is a very historical country and we took the time to see some of the sights today. We visited a tomb that was built in the 1700s.  The grounds are quite large with the tomb itself in the center.  It is surrounded by four pools with fountains in them. The pools themselves were filled from aqueducts that surround the area. It was probably quite beautiful in its day. Sadly though, a lot of the area is in the process of restoration.  This makes for pathways that are uneven and if you don't watch your step.... The tomb itself was an amazing piece of architecture with beautiful plastered ceilings etched in gorgeous designs. It is said they were painted as well, with lovely frescos that are now only a very distant memory. The exterior still shows signs of grandeur though with the tilework that is glorious to look at, if only at a distance .

We then went to Lodhi garden. This garden is an oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle. Tour buses aside, I was extremely grateful to have the driver from the house. He dropped us off at gate no. 1 and off we went in the India heat.

While I mention the heat, let me emphasize that the heat here is nothing you have ever experienced.  We thought because we were used to our southern exposure,  we would be able to handle the heat here. Not the case at all! If you come here, wear good quality walking shoes and bring your own water. Don't refill your bottle from public sources, buy bottled! I am not kidding,  this heat can melt your shoes and make you dripping wet with hardly any exertion. It's worth it though!

Back to Lodhi.......
The gardens are beautiful with restorations going on here as well. Apparently the Prime minister wants to preserve the beautiful history of India. These gardens have many historical buildings as well, one of then being where the Lodi is buried. The enameled blue glass is resplendent although a lot is missing. It is easy to see why it is called the glass temple. I can only imagine how glorious it was in its day. I am saddened though by the apparent lack of respect, (or lack of a sense of history) that the local college students have for this beautiful piece of architecture.  They were jumping up on crumbling walls, to take photos. This particular piece of history was over 500 years old! We continued our walk deep into the far reaches of the gardens until we reached the large lake at the rear. By then we were soaking wet with sweat and still had to walk back to the gate. We were offered chips by a vendor, but said no thank you. However, when he said coke, Chris could not resist. We turned around and coke was actually a mango drink. We said no coke? He shook his head. He then said I'll get coke and took off running.  Sure enough as we continued our walk, here he came with two cold cokes. We parted with our 150 rupies and thanked him very much. The people here are always eager to please, albeit a little pushy sometimes !

We the headed to the Indian center to take in some art. One gentleman was being successful,  having already sold three of his pieces. One of the shows we happened upon was a cultural show. Masks, paintings, and embroidered cloth were all on display for the public to enjoy.

We then made our way to the American diner. It is a restaurant offering American style food. ( minus the beef of course! Mutton is the meat of choice here) Chris ordered a plate that had several types of meat (mostly chicken), sausage (chicken)and a small piece of what looked like spam ( as a serving of pork). I ordered cajun chicken with alfredo spaghetti and mushrooms. I must admit, when the manager came by to ask how our meal was, I told her wonderful except when I ordered cajun, I expected spicier fare. She said she would tell the chef. All in all it was a delicious meal in air conditioned comfort, cokes with filtered water ice, and a brownie blast dessert sundae that we barely finished.

We then headed back to the house, for an afternoon of paint, finished off with tea at 5pm. A wonderful day had by us!
Small blue crab sepia III , acrylic on canvas 8x8
Day 79 of the 100 days- 100 paintings 2018