Friday, March 14, 2008

Ruby-throated Hummingbird & Trumpet Vine

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) and Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)

This painting got auctioned in the US just last month!

Its been a year since i made this painting. And i must say, i spent sooo much time on this one. I was trying to get a different background effect, only later, to learn that the effect is possible with an Airbrush!

This painting was a donation to the Ocelot Festival, as they were raising funds for the conservation of Ocelots. However, am excited coz it's the first auction of my painting !! :) I believe they got it framed and it was looking pretty !! Now, i sit here and wonder on which wall it is hanging!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Eravikulam National Park... my journal pages

25th - 31st December, 2007

I was quite fortunate enough to tag along with my brother to Eravikulam National Park. Sure enough, i had seen pictures, video clippings and heard about all the words of praise about this place i was going to visit. But i can say -nothing,absolutely nothing- can come close to *just being there* and seeing the beauty that stands in front of you! The Landscape only got better and better... mountains and valleys that run along till as faaaaar as your eyes can see; and nestled in between some of the valleys are dense Sholas or mini-rainforests, if you can call it! Being the month of December, the grassland was ochreish-greenish-brown. So untouched, so pristine! I so consider myself one of the luckiest!
I hiked deeper into the national park with Sandesh, Mandi, Sara and 15 other porters, who were carrying all the filming equipment and ration for the week.Not to mention,i would be the first person to start the hike and no sooner all the porters carrying much heavier baggage than me would run along next to me, leaving me trotting behind at the end of the trail!! I sure did make it to the hut with a smile though! You don't tend to know the meaning of a 'frown' in that landscape. Also, i must confess, except for the beginning uphill, the later part of the hike is not too bad (thankfully) ! :)

I was so mesmerised by the place that i was smiling throughout and soon sat to do a quick pen & ink sketch of the landscape in front of me in my journal. This is the view from the Eravikulam hut which faces a stream and the 'kathu-malai' mountain in front of us. To the left is a quick pencil sketch of the skull of a Sambar deer.

The next day early morning, went up to see the morning light and the spell of shadows as the sun came up, on the mighty Anaimudi and its valleys around. It was beautiful! Anaimudi is known to be the highest mountain peak in the south of the Himalayas.. about 2695 meters! The name 'Anaimudi', refers to 'the Elephant's head'. Sadly, i could not make time to sketch this.

Above, is a quick sketch of the 'Eravikulam hut', where we stayed. Below, just a quick landscape sketch of the mountains, valleys, sholas and the swifts i saw flying about the place! Next to these sketches are the birds i got to see during my stay!

The bird highlights for me on this trip were the Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Pacific swallow, White-bellied Shortwing, Nilgiri Pipit, Indian Schimitar Babbler, Black eagle and with all probability a Fork-tailed Swift! To add to this... allll these birds,except for the Black eagle, were my lifers (seeing them for the first time!)
I have come back now,but have left many things undone. I still need to see those lush green grasslands in the monsoons,need to hike up to the top of Anaimudi, explore more of the sholas and see more of its wildlife. One cannot ask for a better landscape to learn how to sketch and paint. I so wish i get to go back!