Sketching through India 

I began sketching quite recently—after taking a drawing class during winter semester (January-April), I decided to continue practicing. I’ve managed to fill up 2 sketchbooks so far and began a new book while in the UK last week.It was while in Cambridge that I had the best sketching experience—I was working on depicting a Christian monument in town when a little Italian girl came up to me and said “Que bella!” She told all her siblings to come look at my drawings and they kept excitedly remarking in Italian about how good my sketches were. This was really the first time that anyone has singled me out for my artistry and the children were so enthused about my work that I was beyond touched. The mother came up to me later and asked to take photos (!) of my sketches and then all the kids took a picture with me as well. (I wish I had asked for a photo with them too! I’d love to remember that moment)

This happened to me twice more—once again in Cambridge, and once in London, when I was sketching in Hyde Park. (Manu was there for the last instance so she can vouch on my behalf) Either the English have very low standards for art or they can appreciate even the simplest works. The compliments are such a boon as they help me believe in myself.

Now that I am attached to my sketchbook, I love looking for special details in buildings or overlooked scenes to depict. Even when I go on walks, I take my sketchbook along to draw some blooming flowers, rock waterfalls, and even a recycling bin out by the sidewalk. I honestly believe that my perspective of life has changed—even daily minutiae become beautiful when looking through an artist’s eyes.  

I’ll try to post snapshots of some of my work here as well. One of my goals for the year is to learn how to paint—Kala Bhavana is one of the premier art schools in the nation so I’m hoping to either sit in on classes or find a willing student to teach me. Considering that I’m based at an art school, my classmates are far more talented than me but I’m just excited to immerse myself in art for the next year.

I was reading “Uh-Oh” by Robert Fulghum earlier this summer and he commented on how when you ask a group of kindergarteners, “Who here can draw?” the class excitedly shouts, “We can!” The same goes for dancing and singing—young children know that they can do these tasks but as we grow older, we become more cynical and apprehensive about our own talents. Ask a college class, “Who here can draw?” and very few—maybe nobody—will raise their hands. I hope that after reading this, you too will think about what you can do—and I encourage you to pick up a sketchbook and begin drawing your surroundings. Never has something so simple given me so much joy.

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