Saturday, February 16, 2019

Playing some serious catch up folks!

Boy what a week it has been!
While I don't think I've had some jet lag, I guess I have.
I've been creating, just not painting as much.
Today ended all that nonsense. While the crab was painted today, the magnolias 
were actually painted while in India and given away as gifts. I will have to paint more though, as the gallery in Fairhope has sold a couple lately as well. These four paintings will catch me up to this past Wednesday.

The hold up? 
Putting our bedroom back together after Chris built a fabulous storage bed!
Chris and I have purchased a new trailer for camping.
I convinced him to purchase it sight unseen for me, while I was in India. 
He wanted to wait for me to come home and look at it, but I told him I trusted his judgement.
 After 40 years of marriage, I should trust his judgement! 

Chris has been looking for a new project and this trailer presented itself to him while he was walking the dogs one day. He is not a bold person, but he inquired about this little trailer and found out it is a rare U-Haul camper. Approximately 2,000 of these were created in 1984 and 1985. They were rented by U Haul until 1992 and then sold off to the public. Some are in better shape than others! 
Ours is a 13 foot and I could not be more in love. After a lot of back and forth, messages, and talk, I convinced him to go ahead and get it. The weight is perfect, as it only weighs about 1200 pounds. My van can pull it with ease! We will have to be careful in loading her up though.
Anyway, the past week has been a lot of dreaming on both of our parts. Lots of forums, lots of parts hunting, and the removal of the trailer body from the frame. The frame could be in better shape, but for a 35 year old trailer it's okay. There is fiberglass work to do as well, but only a small amount.
Needless to say, it will be a work in progress especially for the next few weeks as we need it for a trip to Gulf Breeze, Florida the weekend of the 23rd of March.

Playing some serious catch up folks!
Acrylics on canvas, Magnolias I,II,III,& IV, Blue crab, crab 10 x 24
Days 65, 66, 67, 68,& 69 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Friday, February 8, 2019

Airing out his wings

I left New Delhi airport last night on a flight from Delta airlines. This was after finding the airlines gate for Airitalia that Delta put me on for the first of my legs home. 
I had tried to check in earlier online to no avail. After several failed attempts to check in about 20 hours before flights, Bappa suggested I try closer to flight time, maybe 12 hours.
 That attempt failed as well. 
Check in at the airport then which is a whole nother  bit of craziness . New Delhi Ghandi airport was really busy last night with lots of people traveling. Delhi is a major hub, with people from around the world. First Bappa found me a cart as I could not handle my luggage alone without one. I then had to locate the gate for Airitalia. Once I found the line it was a waiting game. Internet problems aside, it took quite a while to get my luggage checked in and a boarding pass.
He kept looking at me and saying 2 minutes mam. 
One boarding pass?
Madame your other flights are through Delta, you will have to get other boarding passes in Rome.
I then had trouble locating security area. I got into another line, and waited again. I was glad I was there 4 hours before my flight!
In security I had to remove my boots, put electronic devices into a bin, bag, and carry onto conveyor belt. I am in a panic, because the line for ladies to go through is long, with a guard, sustained off area, and wand check. Once through my luggage and other things I was confronted by "Is this your bag madame? " yes
Unlock. I am struggling to get boots, passport, purse, scarf and other things, now I need a key. Fortunately I had my keys in a lanyard hooked to the handle of my purse. Unfortunately, it was tangled up with my nametag. I plopped the purse in the counter, unlocked the case only to have him rummaging through my last minute dirty laundry and 24 paintings. He located a splinters I bought for my daughter in law. Then holding the bubble wrapped piece up asked " What is this? " I replied spoon rest. " Spoon rest? Ceramic? "  Yes. He then waved me through security. I am left with a suitcase in complete disarray, I'm now warm and the scarf comes off. I hurriedly pack my case and head to passport check. Another long line, lots of people, this is much more fun when you're with someone! Finally get to passport check, questions, stamps  and I'm on my way. The gate is number 8 and it is a long way to walk at 130 am. I bought a bottled water along the way and found a seat. I then wanted to repack my carry on, removing the fire from my purse as it was heavy. After repacking, I went to relock my case.
No lanyard.
No lock.
They fell off, after security somewhere in the two miles I walked in the wee hours of the morning.
I messaged Chris, asked him to Google removing TSA locks.
I also remembered he might have an set of extra keys.I
I sat and started reading my bible.
Chris messaged me that he has keys.

By this time, a 3 hour wait is down to one
We start boarding at 350.
I managed to find my seat, get in and settled. 
8 hour flight ahead.
 I am not impressed with Airitalia.
 The seats are hard, the service is terrible, and trash was not picked up until after breakfast service. 

Upon landing, my next task was to locate a Delta ticket counter. I stood for a long time, staring at the board and could not find my flight. I decided to get in one of the trains and go to next terminal. I met a young lady that was looking for the same flight and needed boarding passes as well. We decided two are better than one. Problem was we had to go through security again! 
once through security, we still did not know where to go, other than terminal E. I googled the flight number and it gave me the gate number. We went to gate, fielded numerous questions, and got the boarding passes.
Now sitting at the gate, I have had a thought.
My baggage claim tickets are attached to my pass for Atlanta. 
Do I have to get luggage, recheck luggage, find gate, security, and passport exam all within an hour and a half in Atlanta.
Say it isn't so!

Airing out his wings, Acrylic on canvas, 4x24
Day 63 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Coming in for a landing

The heat is starting to rise here. I am feeling it at least. This morning we started working on Neels album and it is going to be so cute! I think Christina enjoyed having a creative time, both of us working to sort, cut, and place photos in their proper places. I really enjoy working with my girls and my son when possible. Adult children are different, easy to have conversations with, and even take care of themselves. Anyway we spent the first naptime getting started on the album. After the nap, a feed, then 4 hours of freedom!

We went back to Dillihaat market to kick around after grabbing a bite to eat. The market is all outdoors, with stalls carrying food, purses, shoes, clothing, fabric, bric a brac, toys, and so much more. The colors are amazing, the variety astounding, and some of the vendors just plain annoying. Everywhere you look is something different, all of it wanting your hard earned money. In the end, I got 3 bags, 3 pairs of pants, and a whole lot of quality time with my girl Christina. Oh and a painting too!

Coming in for a landing, Acrylic on canvas, 4 x 24
Day 62 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Lionfish trio

Oh the lionfish! 
I think I'm in love with this one too!
Such a pleasure to paint and then share with you.

On this, 48 hours from heading to the airport, I am reflective. 
Christina and I are having a great time, just enjoying each other's company and watching Neel change from moment to moment. He has a personality starting to show and he will just grow more adorable with time I'm sure.
Sound like a Ya ya talking?
I am grateful for my time here, but I am ready for the flight back in time. I know going back is easier with the time change, but I will leave a piece of my heart in India when I go home.
It won't be easy, but to home, hearth, and husband I must go.
Besides, I have people and pupples that love me at home too!

Tomorrow we work on Neel's photo album that I brought with me here. I also brought the photos, papers, and other parts that make scrapbooking so fun. It will be delightful to hear all the sighs from cuteness overload. Neel turned 5 months old today and it has been a ride for these still new parents.

We went to the India Habitat Center this evening. Several openings for art shows that artists wait 2 years to get in for 5 to 7 days of hanging time. One of the receptions was for an artist with lovely abstracts, very well attended, food and wine flowing. Well done young lady, well done. 
Bappa waited outside the venues, because Neel had fallen asleep in the stroller. Such a kind,  patient, good husband and father he has become for our daughter. I love him so much myself! 
We ended the evening with a meal at the American Diner. Good food, although my Cajun chicken was not Cajun seasoned! You'd think in a country with so many spices, they could get Cajun right. Nope! Anyway this place is popular, fun, and has great service too. 50's themed, clean, and great menu too!
Best of all, Neel was a complete little gentleman. He slept, woke quietly, drank his bottle, and was quiet. Not one time was he upset. Christina and I both thanked him profusely when arriving here at the house. 
I pray the rest of her night goes as well!
Goodnight from India!

Lionfish trio, Acrylic on canvas, 8 x 24inches
Day 61 of the 100 days ~ 100 paintings Spring 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019

Lionfish study III & IV

 Oh the challenges of being in a foreign country. In addition to navigation around, different foods (which I enjoy very much!), Language barriers ( Our daughter's Hindi was complemented by a local vendor), there is the problem with internet and phone.

Quite frequently here at the Banerjee home a call will come in. They will answer and say hello hello and there will no one there. The same person may call 5 or 6 times before
 finally making a connection. 
Then sometimes the call drops. 
This happens with both cell phones and landlines. The cell phones are  most of the issue, so many of them trying to be in use at the same time. Christina said at one time, the city removed 15,000 illegal towers from Delhi alone. 
Ah life as an expat in a foreign country she dearly loves.

Any way the long and the short of it is that my phone, being older especially does not like it here too much! Last night the fire I have also went haywire, and hence I have a two for one post today.

Today we had no helper for Neel so we went on an adventure with him. We waited until after his morning nap and we had our lunch. We then hit the road, going to Kahn market where we both got excellent chocolate desserts. Mine was cake, Christinas was an incredible triple layer cheesecake.
Neel was happy at first, sitting in my lap content.
Almost finished with our desserts, he began really losing his composure. We wrapped it up and took him to the car. Upon checking, we found the source of his
 displeasure was a dirty diaper.
A really dirty diaper if you know what I mean!
This began the adventure of changing a baby in the back seat of the car. He was at an angle and the sun was in his eyes. 
He doesn't like the Sun so he's kicking and turning. 
Christina down in the floorboard, working on the mess, me bent over from the outside of the car. I'm trying to keep his hands out of the way, as well as the sun out of his eyes. My purse formed a sun shade, and we finally got him cleaned up.
I picked him up, dropping his wubba pacifier on the
 ground in the process.
Christina scooped up the pacfier, and put it away in the diaper bag. I brought Neel around the other side of the car
 to put him in the car seat.
This put me in the line of constantly driving by traffic.
With the driver holding the door, cars honking as they passed, Christina and I buckled him in.

Then we headed to Lodi Garden. Lodi Garden is an incredible place, with lots of beautiful greenery, old tombs, temples, and flowers. 
We put Neel in the stroller, and started walking. Before long he was off to the land of nod.
We walked for 45 minutes, allowing a sleeping baby to sleep. When he awakened, we found a bench and gave him the bottle Christina made in the morning.
A delightful afternoon after all!

That's all for today.
It is almost 11pm here and I am ready for the land of nod myself!

Lionfish study III & IV, Acrylic on canvas, 
Days 60 & 61 of the 100 days 100 paintings Spring 2019

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Lionfish study II

The days seem to be going by faster now.
My time here is coming to a close in a few days, and it will be 
bittersweet going home.
It has been a good visit, seeing our daughter and son in law grow as parents. Our daughter is enjoying motherhood, and it fits her quite well. Our grandson is growing by leaps and bounds, finding his hands and feet, all while discovering with wide eyed wonder as much as he can about the world that surrounds him. His grandparents here love him a lot and judging by the smile on his face when he sees them, he returns their love.
All is well in the Banerjee household.

Today found me on a fabric hunt. I found it all right!
Sumita  (Christinas mother in law) took me back to a market where we had gone before. While I was searching for cotton silk for hats, I discovered a world of cotton that would blow a quilter or seamstress's mind and wallet . There were also about 15 shops in the same area all selling fabrics, lace, and trims. 
We only went in 3...
Fabric is generally inexpensive here, with the value of a dollar  being strong against the rupee still. Our dollar is about 70 rupees. With fabric about 350 per meter, that calculates to about 5 dollars. These fabrics are also about 60 inches wide.
The problem is making a selection from the vast array of colors, textures, and patterns. There are gorgeous silks, fabulous rayons, velvets, blends and cotton all under one roof. Or should I say floors. Three floors in most shops, each one having a dizzying array of carefully folded fabrics. If you admire something, the people start pulling out all sorts of offerings, unfolding and displaying them inviting you to touch and savor them with your fingers. I wanted so much more, but left after purchasing fabric for palazzo pants for both girls and myself. I also found fabric for our grandsons to have shirts with sharks on them. The fabric I picked for myself has shells combined with a pale green and pink. It will make a beautiful pair of  palazzo pants for myself. I found fabrics for a top and jacket as well for an outfit that will be stunning and artsy for shows.
I was a professional seamstress in a former life.
(Before car accident in 1993)
Now I sew primarily for my pleasure and sometimes for others!

I also painted today.
This was difficult because Chris may have found a camper light enough for our  van we bought last year to pull. We used whatsApp back and forth him sending photos and me asking questions. The guy that has it, bought it to restore but now has it for sale. My husband asked if he would trade for our gypsy wagon. The gentleman looked and liked what he saw, and it may or may not happen as a trade. I am excited because Chris is excited, although it will be an adventure getting it done before the end of March for show season! Chris wanted to wait for me to make a decision, because he knows how much I love the Gypsy Gal. I told him I trust his judgement and now I wait.
Why am I excited?
Because it is a Vintage tiny trailer!
My van can pull it!
Fingers crossed, and paint is flying here in India!

Lionfish study II, Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12
Day 58 of the 100 days~ 100 paintings Spring 2019

Friday, February 1, 2019

Lionfish study I

I am starting a series on lionfish today.
These studies are for a larger painting at a later date.
I love painting them, even though they are a bad fish to have in our waters because they eat a lot of the baby game fish.
Lionfish are not native to our waters, but I've heard they're delicious!

I have noticed something while here in this trip. I have been coming here to this country of juxtapositions for almost 5 years now. The traditions and beauty that is recognizably India is rapidly disappearing. Some not all of the younger generations here are discovering western lifestyles, but most of all, western dress style. The girls especially are getting away from sarees and kurtas in exchange for more modern clothing.  There are lots of the same stores we have in the states, offering the styles we often wear.( Or don't, in my case.  I just can't pay for a pair of jeans that are ripped to shreds in the name of fashion.)
The hairstyles are changing, clothing is changing, and some are balking at the traditional ways of life. I see a different India from 5 years ago.

Today we also went to the All India Art show.
We did not take the baby with us on our adventure. The show is interesting to say the least. Lots of galleries from all over India and the world. The artwork ranged from the whimsical to just plain weird. We enjoyed ourselves, got a delicious dessert, saw a lot of art and bought a couple of books. 
I bought Christina a book on her favorite artist, Frida Khalo and myself a book on graffiti artists. I am bringing home ideas for art camps that will blow kids minds, and probably their parents too!
Inspiration, ingenuity, invention, India!

Lionfish study I, Acrylic on canvas, 12x12
Day 57 of the 100 days~100 paintings Spring 2019