Sunday, 24 February 2013

The end of my residency at Chhaap Printmaking Studios

Day 24 and 25. The Final Days

To round up my time here at Chhaap Printmaking Studios I had an exhibition of all the work I have produced over the last month, (Sunday 24th Feb 2013). It was lovely to get some great feedback and lots of intrigue. More photos will be coming soon.

Monday morning, 25th February, saw me taking down my prints and carefully wrapping them up to be transported all the way back to the UK. Now I have around 13 more days until I also pack my little rucksack and board my plane home on March 10th.

Coming to India has been an incredible experience for me. Being artist in residence, after three months of travelling from the North to the South of this hugely diverse country, was the perfect way for me to reflect on all the experiences I’ve had and infuse them into my work. Many of my prints depict tranquil places from my travels across India and the process of printing often felt like a meditation itself. They are a narrative of my journey.

The places I have illustrated in my prints include Arambol in Goa, Alleppy and Varkala in Kerala, Ranthambore in Rajasthan, Darjeeling, Agra in Uttar Pradesh and the Himalayan mountains in Nepal, where I started my journey.

After so much travelling on buses, trains and planes it was lovely to stop and stay at Chhaap studios and feel more like a resident rather than a tourist. Baroda, a hub of creativity, has filled me with inspiration from seeing so many studios and exhibitions and meeting so many artists. It was the perfect place for me to round up my trip.... but I have a feeling this isn’t the last I will be seeing of India.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Days 20, 21, 22. The final days of printing

Wednesday was the start of my final big print here at Chhaap. Wow, I can’t believe it’s coming to an end. I wanted a change from the lush scenery and couldn’t forget the cows. How could you, they number more than 150 million and they roam anywhere they please. Many a time has my rickshaw swerved out the way of cow casually crossing the street. They have a lot of attitude.

Day 21 was actually the final day of printing. I had finished my cow print and decided I wanted to just let loose, have fun and make a mess. So I combined the stencils I had collated from all my prints and made some smaller images and cards. I did also start on that second print of the Palm Trees. The first print I did, but with slightly different colours. This one will have to be completed in the UK after I ship the big parcel of my work home.

There was also time to visit some more studios, meet a few more artists and invite them to my exhibition on Sunday. There are over 700 full time artists in Baroda! It’s great to be in a place with art everywhere.

Day 22. I got on a bus to Ahmedabad at 5.00am! I saw some of the oldest parts, with lots of character and beautiful architecture. Then a visit to Ghandi Ashram and Konoria Arts Centre, where a talk by the brilliant printmaker Jyoti Bhatt was taking place. Shame it wasn’t in English! But I did get to see lots of his work and check out the amazing print making studios.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Day 17, 18 and 19
I completed the print of the view from the houseboat, a square image for a change. It was a challenge getting the reflection in the water. This is also the image chosen for the poster/flyer for my open house/exhibition this Sunday.

Then I went for something more urban again. These vibrant colours were typical of the houses scattered across the high hills of Darjeeling. It actually reminded me of the brightly painted houses and street art in Bristol.

I also went to visit some artists studios and to MS University to attend a presentation on the outcomes of a sound workshop. It was great up until a swarm of mosquitoes, reasonably near my head, started to distract me.  

Me, Aditi and Dev stopped for some Chai before the presentation.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Day 15 and 16:
I have one week left to make prints and with that thought in the back of my head I am working pretty hard. Here’s what I’ve been doing with the last couple of days...
The first beach I got to in India, dotted with lots of these brightly coloured fishing boats. And the fish they caught was very tasty. Arambol, Goa

This unfinished print is the view I had from a houseboat cruising down the beautifully calm, serene backwaters in Alleppy, Kerala. This print is dedicated to my Dad.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Day 13 and 14:
I wanted to try something more urban, with lots of angles and straight lines. This print is from a photo I took in Ranthambore. We couldn’t believe it when there was a pool there, luxury compared to the places we had stayed previously.
 It was tricky drawing this one, I’m not usually one for rulers. So in the past two days I have managed to draw and print the image. There are a lot of images I have floating around in my head that I want to print, but I only have a week and a half left until my exhibition!
This is the print in progress:

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Day 11 and 12
Printing the Everest print. Another one to hang on the line.

This time I added some line detail with pencil, to show the bristles on the trees and the delicate angular shapes on the mountain. I also printed directly onto Fabriano paper this time, this didn’t affect the quality of the image and I found the ink didn’t go as far. It’s just on thicker, more durable paper.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Day 9:
I hung my prints up so I could take a better look at my progress so far and evaluate what I need to do next.

Then I started sketching out the next print. This is one from Nepal. I’ve decided on the incredible view of Everest, from the last view point, on our way down the mountain. It was the final day of walking...legs nearly collapsing beneath us.

In the evening I went to the opening of another exhibition, this time at The Red Earth Gallery. I was really impressed. The paintings were on large canvases, of different shapes and sizes. I loved the tones and the shapes used. There weren’t any unnecessary details.  

Day 10:
Rising early I got a bus to Champner (A world Heritage Site) and climbed a mountain in the very hot sun to get to a temple of the top. Wicked view and experience... I made a few friends with the locals on the way up who helped inform me of the history and kept me entertained.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Day 8:

Amongst my adventures today was a trip to the Friday Market, in the morning. Basically India’s equivalent to a car-boot sale...a funny experience. It included a goat market...and I saw some goats turning up in tuk tuks.

This was one of the things for sale made me chuckle

And here is your basic hair salon, guys

After a nice day out I attended to my elephants...

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Day 7:

I’ve made good progress with my print of an elephant, today. From initial sketching, cutting stencils, experimenting with colour to starting the final piece. I also added little figures to the print of the Taj Mahal.

Then this evening Aditi took me, on the back of her scooter, to the opening of an art exhibition at a great studio called ‘Space’. There are lots and lots of artists and artist’s studios in Baroda. In India, it’s the place to be if artist!

Some sketching and rolling out and mixing colours. The bottom right elephant is the final one in progress.  

Adding some little people to the Taj print puts the size of the building in perspective.

One of the paintings from tonight's exhibition. I love seeing loads of colour and on a big scale. It looks like it would have been fun to do and has really given me an urge to get my paintbrush out.

Day 6:

I had a little explore of Baroda today. I visited the Lakshmi Vilas Palace and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, which was basically just an art that was cool. Baroda has a complete mixture of buildings and people all in one place. The palace was stunning and definitely the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in Baroda so far.


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Day 5:
Today I started my print of the Taj Mahal. Not the Taj itself, but one of the buildings next to it, which was built to house guests who came to view the mausoleum. I captured a picture when the sun was rising and blasting through the gaps between the two stunning buildings. I still want to add some silhouettes of figures to it. Additionally I had fun mixing different colours and doing another print of the bird on Varkala beach. I'm thinking these may look good in a little book, which I could put together at the end of the residency, showing all my best prints. Maybe I could call it 'My Trip to India'...Maybe it could be narrated and become a little printed story book.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Day 4:
I got to visit the University today. I was impressed. There is some amazing talent there. The studios are big and spacious and the teachers and students are lovely. We had a chinwag and some chai. There is a real craft and technique to printmaking and the students had it sussed, including some really interesting concepts behind their artwork. I also went to check out the Baroda Museum and art gallery while I was out, so I came back to the studio inspired and ready to do some printmaking.
I have done a quick print of a bird on the shore in Varkala, Kerala. I think I will also redo this one in slightly different colours.

Detail of the bird in the print above
Day 3:
Final day of Mark’s exhibition. Not as many people turned up today, so I had the chance to complete my Palm Tree print. I also accidently made a beautiful blue, which I thought would be great for the background, so I have started another print, with the same stencils. I will come back to it later and try a different combination of colours.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Artist in Residence at Chhaap Printmaking Studio. Baroda, Gujurat, India

I am spending the whole month of February as the artist in residence at Chhaap Printmaking Studios. I am delighted to be here and have the opportunity to liaise with many local Indian printmakers. Many graduated from MS University here in Baroda, I'm told it's the best University for Arts in India.

The facilities are perfect. I can wake up and walk into the printmaking studio, literally. So for the next month I’m living and breathing printmaking and I will be documenting my progess here.
The prints will be a visual diary of the past three months I've spent travelling. I started in Nepal, in the stunning Himalayas. I then began my India trip in Darjeeling in the North West, after a very bumpy 18 hour bus journey from Kathmandu to the border crossing. I finished all the way down South in Trivandrum in the state of Kerala.
It’s been vibrant, exciting, emotional, relaxing,’s been incredible.

Day 1 at Chhaap:
Introduction to the studios...buying art materials...finding places to eat...meeting Mark Brusse, the previous artist who has just spent all of January printmaking here at Chhaap. (Look him up he’s done a lot!) He believes "one of the functions of art is to exacerbate the irrational side, the part of art and life which isn't reasonable".

Day 2:
I’ve started printmaking already. My first image is of the palm trees in Goa, on Arambol beach.

It was also Mark’s exhibition of the work he has produced throughout his month's stay here. People from The Times of India came to interview him. And it also gave me an opportunity to meet some of the local artists and people who will be attending a workshop I will be holding.