This morning as I was packing the last sandwich into the lunch bag, my eyes fell on a glow outside.
I opened the blinds on the door and there it was, a pale crimson halo on the horizon against the dark silhouettes of the bare branches of Bradford pear trees.
Usually my next step would have been to reach out for my phone and click away, but I did not do any such thing. Instead I stepped out into the chilly dawn, plunging my hands deep into the pockets of my sweater to keep them warm as I looked upon the horizon and up at the sky.
There was Venus, shining so brightly as always in the dark blue sky above me. A feeling of deep calm engulfed me as I stood there in the coolness, watching a golden hue replacing the crimson. A plane flew by, its lights flickering and then everything turned quiet once more.
Finally done with the two watercolor collages that I started sometime in early September! I divided a paper into squares or rectangles and filled them with scenery whenever I felt like watercoloring.
Sometimes when you really want to paint or test out a particular scenery in mind, but on a small scale, this is a good way to do so as you get to finish the work quickly and also get a general idea of how the scenery ends up looking.
I totally enjoyed this process since there was no time restraint and a lot of freedom involved. However, don’t get tempted to finish in a hurry! It doesn’t matter whether the painting is a product of your imagination or an inspiration from a photograph, looking back, each painting has a story to tell about what you were thinking at the time or where you were!
Somewhere in the aisles of Michaels, I discovered Gouache. At first, I struggled to pronounce the word (gwash) and when I finally figured it out, it took me yet some more time to understand its nature, its texture….its purpose! I simply couldn’t fathom why one would need gouache. Didn’t the world already have the transparency of watercolors and the opacity of acrylics and oils?
Anyway, I went ahead and bought a box of gouache paints mostly out of curiosity. But they just sat on the shelf. It was tough to reach out for them. Watercolors seemed so familiar, so comforting….And acrylics so smooth as they gracefully flowed over the canvas while the box of gouache, shy and awkward just sat there forgotten.
Alright! I had to give it a chance so I gingerly opened the box. The colors looked pretty on the palette, no complaints there. I quickly sketched a little scene and started working the paints onto the paper. Gosh! So this is Gouache! Colors – so vibrant, opaque and matte – I fell in love with them! I had to work fast with them (they dry up pretty quickly) but like the acrylics, they are quite forgiving… I could paint over the last layer over and over again and in doing so hide any mistakes or add depth to the surface. The only pain – the paint dries up really fast. In the end, my painting looked just like one of my watercolors except more opaque and bright.
All in all, I enjoyed the experience and I will paint some more with gouache. But I guess watercolor is still my top favorite medium.
With the dip in the temperatures, it’s time for heart warming homemade soups that are both easy to prepare as well as healthy. Here is just the recipe you need on a chilly day – a tomato-carrot soup rich in fiber, anti oxidants and of course vitamin A!
6 medium size Roma tomatoes washed and cut into halves
2 carrots diced
1 small onion diced
3 cloves garlic chopped finely
1/2 tsp crushed ginger
2 cups vegetable OR chicken broth
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
salt to taste
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp dry crushed oregano
1/4 tsp dry crushed sage
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
a tiny sprig of cilantro
Preheat the oven to 425 deg F. Put the tomatoes cut side down on a baking dish and drizzle 1/2 tbsp olive oil and some salt on them. Using your hands coat the tomatoes with the oil. Bake for 15 min.
In the meanwhile heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add the onions. As soon as the onions turn a light golden, add the garlic and the carrots. Cook until the garlic starts turning golden. Add the ginger. If the tomatoes are finished baking, then add them slowly to the carrots and onion mix. Add 2 cups broth and the rest of the ingredients except oregano and sage. Let the mixture simmer for 5-6 min.
Let this cool. Puree in a food processor. If you want a very clear soup you may sieve the mixture otherwise you can leave it as such. Add the herbs and heat this soup once again on low heat for about 10 min.
Serve the soup topping it with a sprig of cilantro.
Note: I usually use any dry italian herbs that are available. But I wait till the end to add them to the soup to maintain their flavor.
That’s what I have been doing lately… It is what it is, a block, an uninspired phase, and there’s only one thing I can do about it – Ignore!
It doesn’t matter what you write – long thought-provoking posts or something smaller like I usually do. But an idea is an important ingredient of a blog post because it gives birth to the content. And without the content, a blog post is immaterial.
So what is my take on blogger’s block?
Sometimes my brain needs a break, a little nap before I am struck with the next creative idea. So I try not to worry over the next blog post. Instead, I spend time painting, listening to new releases from Spotify and reading a book or two. Right now I am reading Gone With The Wind and The Cooked Seed and I am also looking forward to trying Gouache paints! The important thing is to keep doing whatever it is you have been but also try new things. I think novelty breaks monotone and jumpstarts the creative fire.
Another thing that I have learned is to read others’ posts on this topic. It’s so freeing when you realize you are not alone, that there are many out there who also battle this block from time to time. Realizing this truth has inspired me to write this post but I also wrote this post as a gentle reminder to myself the next time I fall prey to blogger’s block!
Weather is on her best behavior these days with warm days and chilly evenings which leaves a lot of room for some luxurious walks in between. Every now and then I pause and am blown away by the quiet spectrum, from the golds to the flaming reds!
And from one of these walks, I procured two leaves lying astray on the pavement. They must have blown free from the humongous Bradford Pear that is leaning so much on one side that the branches sweep the ground everytime the wind blows.
The leaves looked so alluring, I just had to paint them. Watercolor? Acrylic? Something surreal about their nature made me pick watercolor. I hope I have succeeded in emulating the spirit of their hues!
What do you think? Do you also like to pick up leaves and paint them?