Monday, April 28, 2014

Charcoal portrait of Deepika Padukone: Stages with materials used

My model: Deepika Padukone


Materials Used
Materials Used:

1)  Charcoal and Graphite Pencils:

I use Monte Marte Charcoal pencils and Graphite pencils.  It costs about Rs. 500 for the full set of four earthy shades. I am using for this portrait only the black pencils for this portrait, which again comes in the soft, medium and hard types. I use the hard variety for the final outlines, medium and soft for the shaded regions.
The Faber Castell box has six shades. 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B and 8B and costs Rs. 30.
These pencils come in handy to create the outline which is the most time taking procedure.

2) Erasers:
I use different type of erasers to erase mistakes as well as to create highlights.

The types I have are an ordinary pencil eraser, a plastic eraser from Focus that gives fewer residues, a kneaded eraser, which can be kneaded to any shape, and a pencil shaped eraser from staedtler.

3) The shading tools:
My shading tools are what is available in every household. A pair of Johnson ear buds, a pair of tissues and a painting brush.
These tools I use, to create the shades in the portrait. I do it by rubbing the charcoal and softly spreading them to create the necessary effect.
The buds come handy in small and specific areas like the eye, nose, ears etc.

4) My sketchbook:
As this portrait is just a trial and not done on commission, I am using my A3 size sketch book.


Stages in the portraiture




Final Result:



Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Unlucky : A Short Story



Every one told Sita that she was unlucky.

Hadn't she killed her mother right on the day of her birth?

 Wasn't it because of the fault in her stars that her father took his own life two days before her third birthday?

By the time she passed high school, the blame for the death of two of her closest friends in a drowning incident and the car accident that crippled her aunt who was her guardian, had also been added to long list of woes.

Her education had ended at eighteen when her uncle believing in all the rumors abound, refused to waste money on a no-good cause. Her dreams of becoming a teacher had died an early death that day.

At the age of twenty, a nomad scrap-dealer Raghu, fell in love with her and her uncle quickly married her off to him. After all, none of the youth in their village wanted a bad omen entering their lives.

On the day of their marriage, when a teary-eyed Sita confessed to Raghu, that he had unknowingly damaged his luck by marrying her, he laughed it off good-humouredly.

“Do you know that I make a fortune out of what other people consider useless? They don’t know the value of things they throw away as waste. In my eyes, they are gold. No one is ever born unlucky Sita. Understand that. Luck is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of thoughts and choice. You are my love and my lucky charm from today. Remember that.”

Raghu treated her like a queen and Sita became happier day after day.

Raghu enrolled her in the nearby college for degree and Sita started giving tuition to kids in the neighborhood to add to their earnings. She quickly became the favorite with all the students.

Just how much her life had changed became evident to Sita when Priya, her student and neighbour came one night to her house.

“Sita Aunty, Tomorrow is my mathematics board exam. First thing in the morning, I want to see your face. You are my lucky charm.”

“No Priya…See your mothers face and go,”repled Sita still unsure of her luck.
“No Aunty.Believe me. Whenever I behold you, my day passes charmingly. I saw you yesterday and my science paper was just awesome. I feared it the most you know,” declared Priya.

“Sita, Listen to her. You are a lucky charm indeed. See how much Raghu prospered and how happy he is now after you came into his life.” It was Priya’s mom.

Sita smiled partly in happiness and partly with relief.

Luck was indeed just a matter of thought and choices as Raghu said. She never would say or believe she was unlucky again.

 Years later, when her daughter-in-law passed away after childbirth, she took the child and embraced it lovingly, ready to confront anyone who wanted to brand the child as being unlucky.

 A smiling Raghu, her two daughters and son soon came in to watch her expertly calming down the wailing child.

 This story is a part of Blogging from A-Z April Challenge.


The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was first held in 2010. The challenge is that we have to post every day of April, except on the four Sundays. April 1st is a theme with letter A, 2nd with letter B and so on till April 30th which will be Z themed. My theme is #Learning Everyday, I post about new random things every day.



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Thinking Straight: A Short Story



How long? How many hours, how many days more was this turmoil going to last?

I snap out of my reverie when my phone pings with another message. There it was, proof that my dilemma was never going to end, a message from Manav.

Manav always drove me crazy. One day, he will be the sweetest person I had ever seen and the next day, he will be back being the grouchy snob who never failed to irritate me.

We go back a long way- Manav and me. We had joined this company on the same day five years ago. Being on the same daily- grind brought us closer and we gloriously bitched about our common enemies over cups of coffee during weekends.

I do not know when but soon his presence had become an addiction I could not rid of. Each passing day deepened my infatuation. I eagerly awaited to see the smile on his face when we met accidentally or over coffee.

That weekend when I rushed to our usual café with an eager heart racing at an abnormal pace, I had decided to open up about how I really felt.

“Reshmi, I have a surprise for you,” Manav had said immediately after we sat down for coffee. The surprise had turned out to be an arranged marriage that he had agreed to. The photo of the pretty girl on his phone taunted me. I laughed merrily teasing him about his impending marriage even as my heart broke silently into a thousand pieces.

My only solace was that my secret had remained.

Soon after his marriage, a project in New York for which he was selected had relieved me from the pain of beholding him every day.

Three years and a disastrous marriage later, Manav have come back to me again, but at the most inappropriate time.
I am engaged to Kishore, who is heads over heels in love with me. Kishore had made me fall in love with him by his ardent devotion. His parents too made me feel like one of their own.

A week ago, Manav declared that he loved me, had always loved me but had succumbed to parental pressure and agreed to a marriage of their liking. I had confessed to him then about my engagement with Kishore.
Ever since that day, my inbox is flooded with his sob stories, requests and from yesterday threats that he will end his life.

Manav was my first love, but now he has come back to me with an emotional baggage he refuses to dispose. Every now and then, he became moody and started comparing me with Sneha his ex-wife. But first loves were hard to be forgotten.

Do I need this? How am I going to deal with this?

My phone buzzed again with an incoming mail. It was a newsletter that I had subscribed to from a relationship website. It had a quote that gave an answer to my queries.





I knew it was time to think straight.



This story is a part of Blogging from A-Z April Challenge.




 The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was first held in 2010. The challenge is that we have to post every day of April, except on the four Sundays. April 1st is a theme with letter A, 2nd with letter B and so on till April 30th which will be Z themed. My theme is #Learning Everyday, I post about new random things every day.




Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S for Someone Like You





Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought, writes the poet Shelly in the poem an Ode to a Skylark.

The song Someone like You, by UK Singer and Songwriter, Adele proves it. I loved the song when I first heard it and I still love it.

The song , the last one written for her second album 21, belongs to the soul genre of pope songs which speaks about unrequited love and broken relationships.

Adele revealed that she was struggling emotionally when she composed it:
"When I was writing it I was feeling pretty miserable and pretty lonely, which I guess kind of contradicts 'Rolling in the Deep'. Whereas that was about me saying, 'I'm going to be fine without you', this is me on my knees really. She discussed further the inspiration of the song: "I can imagine being about 40 and looking for him again, only to turn up and find that he's settled with a beautiful wife and beautiful kids and he's completely happy... and I'm still on my own. The song's about that and I'm scared at the thought of that.”


Adele was literally discovered by the Social networking media when her friend posted her demo on Myspace and owing to its popularity she received a recording contract from XL Recordings in 2006.

The song went on to win

Listen to it. Click for the lyrics HERE.





This post is a part of Blogging from A-Z April Challenge.





The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was first held in 2010. The challenge is that we have to post every day of April, except on the four Sundays. April 1st is a theme with letter A, 2nd with letter B and so on till April 30th which will be Z themed. My theme is #Learning Everyday, I post about new random things every day.

Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Rainbow



Rainbows fascinated me, when I was a child. Being bright, elusive and ethereal, they made me believe in the heavens above. The thought that every storm had a rainbow following it, made me face the storms with courage. Their presence was a reassurance that there was hope ahead.


While growing up books told me, that rainbows had a strong presence in mythology as well.  
Image Source 
The above painting titled Noah's Thanksoffering (c.1803) by Joseph Anton Koch depicts how after Noah builds an altar to the Lord after being delivered from the Flood, God sends the rainbow as a sign of his covenant.

As the flood had killed all other living beings, the rainbow came to symbolize God's promise that he would never send another flood to destroy all of the earth and that never again would all living things be killed in the waters of a flood.

In Greek mythology, the daughter of first-generation gods Electra and Thaumas, Iris dresses in rainbow colors. As messenger of the gods, she flies on golden wings. The rainbow was a mode of transportation for Iris, who proves to be as elusive and unpredictable (yet unforgettable) as the rainbow itself. Charming!!

Western mythology refers to Bifrost, a rainbow bridge between earth and heaven that is attainable to only the good or virtuous, such as warriors and royalty. Royal!!

In fairy tales, leprechauns buried pots of gold at the end of a rainbow. Enticing!!

Later on science came in and took the magic out of rainbows.
 It told me that a rainbow is just an optical and meteorological phenomenon that is caused by both reflection and refraction of light in water droplets in Earth's atmosphere, resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky. Boring!!

Whatever.. I prefer to believe that a rainbow is a sign of hope. I prefer to hope that  somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly,and the dreams that I dream of really do come true.

By the way, do you know that we have a rainbow within us?!! Check this post to know more about this.


Leaving you to ponder over this quote...



This post is a part of Blogging from A-Z April Challenge.


The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was first held in 2010. The challenge is that we have to post every day of April, except on the four Sundays. April 1st is a theme with letter A, 2nd with letter B and so on till April 30th which will be Z themed. My theme is #Learning Everyday, I post about new random things every day.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for Que Sera Sera



Today’s letter is Q.
Doris day immediately began singing Que Sera Sera when I thought what for Q.

Que Sera Sera literally means whatever will be, will be. It is a philosophy quite close to my heart.

Listen to this wonderful song.



In this song, the singer talks about her childhood, youth and motherhood to explain just how this attitude had worked wonders in her life.

When she was a little girl, she had asked mother whether she will grow up to become a rich and pretty girl. Her mother chides her telling future is not for anyone to foretell and whatever will be, will be…Que Sera Sera.

Her lover in her youth echoes the same thoughts and she comes to understand the importance of living in the moment, without any worries about future. He assures Que Sera Sera.

Now that she has become a mother, she teaches the same to her kids when they have the same queries that she had in her childhood.

This song from the movie, The man who knew too muchteaches a wonderful lesson to all of us.

At every stage in our lives, we do worry about our future.  What will be tomorrow like?

Will the new dawn bring fresh hopes or will it bring bitter tears?

Will my efforts to succeed find fruition?


Many questions do haunt us.

 What if we could muster the courage to face these questions with a mere phrase..Que Sera Sera.


This post is a part of Blogging from A-Z April Challenge.




The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was first held in 2010. The challenge is that we have to post every day of April, except on the four Sundays. April 1st is a theme with letter A, 2nd with letter B and so on till April 30th which will be Z themed. My theme is #Learning Everyday, I post about new random things every day.


Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers

Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Portraiture



Portraiture is the art of creating portraits. Portraits can be done in Oil, Acrylic, Pencil, pastels, Charcoals etc.

I also create portraits. I do it mainly using pencil and Charcoal.
Portraits were commissioned by only the elite centuries back.  Later on middle classes also warmed up to the idea of having the portraits of their loved ones done. However, with the advent of photography, the mad craze for creating oil portraits have come down. Still art lovers cherish being the proud owners of their own portraits.

There are many methods to create portraits like live portraiture where the subject models for the artist the entire time he sketches. This was the method used in olden times. Now artists mainly work using a clear photo of the client, which helps them create a realistic portrait.

I work from photographs. I started it by gifting friends on their birthdays and recently started doing commissioned portraits when the demands increased.

If you are interested in learning portraiture, there are detailed courses online. Youtube has a number of tutorials that teach portraiture in detail.



Sharing one such video. Go to the side links and you can find many more.






Sharing a few of the portraits of my creation.


Pencil Portait

Charcoal portrait

Pencil Portrait

Charcoal portrait

This post is a part of Blogging from A-Z April Challenge.




The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was first held in 2010. The challenge is that we have to post every day of April, except on the four Sundays. April 1st is a theme with letter A, 2nd with letter B and so on till April 30th which will be Z themed. My theme is #Learning Everyday, I post about new random things every day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Oil Lamps




A humble oil lamp burning steadily inside my prayer room is symbolic of my faith and the peace I seek.  By lighting it, I become one with the millions who believe in the sanctity of fire and light.


We Hindus, start the day with a morning prayer by lighting an oil lamp at dawn, the magical hour that has a tinge of joy and pining, melancholy and expectations.  The lamp effectively brightens up my world while the majestic sun begins its journey of yet another eventful day.


I love visiting temples during twilight. The dancing flames of the oil lamps inside the inner sanctum of the temple create an ambiance of tranquility and the image of the deity becomes a peaceful presence that touches the very center of my soul. 

A temple lit with oil lamps during festival (Image Source)
More than just light, the oil lamp is a powerful space cleanser.  Lighting an oil lamp clears the non-physical dirt or negative energy that collects from emotions and negative fields.

A quarrel leaves many negative vibes in the form of anger and frustration in a room long after it is over. In historic places, you can often feel the effects of violence even centuries later. The presence of electronic devices like television also creates negative vibrations in a room. This is the reason why experts advice couples to remove electronic gadgets from their bedroom.



Incense sticks ( Image Source)
Ghee (or clarified butter) lamps are the best space cleansers ever. When you light an oil lamp, even for an hour, it lightens the vibrations and disperses most of the negativity.

Burning an incense stick or agarbattis together with an oil lamp is a pleasant way of raising the positive vibrations; it is protective as well as cleansing.
Use camphor when you require a thorough cleansing. Camphor is powerful and hence should not be used more than once a day. 

Let us not forget that we are spiritual beings on a human journey. May these ancient traditions help us in creating a more fulfilling life.

Image Source


This post is a part of Blogging from A-Z April Challenge.



The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was first held in 2010. The challenge is that we have to post every day of April, except on the four Sundays. April 1st is a theme with letter A, 2nd with letter B and so on till April 30th which will be Z themed. My theme is #Learning Everyday, I post about new random things every day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Name




What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;


Says Juliet in Shakespeare’s famous play Romeo and Juliet.

I beg to differ. A name is important. It gives identity to the person, institution or thing.


The moment one mentions the name of my son, my face lits up with a smile and my heart grows fonder. Sadness overwhelms me, when someone speaks about a loved one I lost. Anger swells in my whole being when I hear about that one person whom I have come to hate. Nostalgia flies in when someone talks about my alma mater.

What does that mean?!!...Names do matter.

We are able to conjure up a mental image only if we can associate it with a name. 

From what I have come to understand, our destinies too are determined by the name we are given. We become what the name suggests we are.


That explains the crazy drive of celebrities who change their name after consultation with numerologists.
That explains why would-be-parents spends hours over the internet searching for names for their unborn child.

As for Juliet, she didn’t need a name for Romeo. She was obsessed with him and her every thought began and ended on him. What use did she have for a name?


See this video to understand the importance of a name according to numerology.







While writing this post, I too researched on my name. This is the result. 




Want to check what your name means? Click HERE

Here is another result from another similar site.



The source of this result is HERE..


Come on, tell me what you think...

This post is a part of Blogging from A-Z April Challenge.




The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was first held in 2010. The challenge is that we have to post every day of April, except on the four Sundays. April 1st is a theme with letter A, 2nd with letter B and so on till April 30th which will be Z themed. My theme is #Learning Everyday, I post about new random things every day.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Mango




Mango, the King of Fruits, the Soul of the Spring and the Fruit of love…

Is there anyone who cannot be tempted, lured and conquered by a Mango?!!

A mango can tempt me any time. I adore its lovely heart shape, its magical hues and I am a slave to its oh-so-unforgettable taste.

Mangoes trigger an avalanche of childhood memories and the moment I behold one, I fly happily towards a carefree childhood, blissful summer vacations and wet rainy mornings.

Years ago, we feasted like birds on this smooth succulent fruit, until our tummies threatened to burst.

Stone missiles that brought down these darlings were our treasures. Hollering aunts, uncles or parents did not deter us from climbing the formidable fortress of mango trees; the spell cast by these yellow sorcerers was unparalleled.

Those sunny afternoons when we begged every passing squirrel to throw us a mango, the wet mornings after a rainstorm when we rushed to the mango groves even before the sun rose, are testimonies to the extent we were beguiled.

Mangoes bring back memories of the dim light of granny’s oil lamp, the mild and mystical smell of her ayurvedic oils and her tooth-less smiles. It is reminiscent of those days when we prayed for the nights to end, so that we could rush back to the world of mangoes. Small, long, rounded …they came in all varieties. 

When the season ended, granny’s salted mangoes in the big round mud pots soothed our whining taste buds.

New friendships formed, many battles fought, trap-pits dug and races run, all in the presence of these enchanting beings.


Time has flown, granny and granny’s salted mango is just a fond memory, but the charms of mangoes are still fresh. May be it is a forever love.

This post is a part of Blogging from A-Z April Challenge.




The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was first held in 2010. The challenge is that we have to post every day of April, except on the four Sundays. April 1st is a theme with letter A, 2nd with letter B and so on till April 30th which will be Z themed. My theme is #Learning Everyday, I post about new random things every day.



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