From Athens, Greece

Scratchboard 11×14

The Porch of the Karyatids, Acropolis, Greece – Scratchboard 11×14 (From an old sketch, imagination and + my ref photo)

Some of you who attended my ISSA demo will remember this incomplete piece showing comely Kore maidens holding up an entablature in the Acropolis in Athens, and my demonstration of the reverse scratching or ‘back-rub’ technique as I call it!

Well, at long last I managed to complete this piece after all my travels and other life interruptions.

Check out my newly-released new travel/art book Rambles into Sacred Realms

KORE

From Mahabalipuram, India – Dispatch 3 of 3

 

In the midst of sand and spume there was only the sound of silence.

I was in ancient Mahabalipuram in South India on a sultry summer day in 1986.

A short walk away from the Shore Temple sprawled a tribute in stone dedicated to the heroes of the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata.

 

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Upon an embankment stood fashioned five “chariots” (never understood how these looked like chariots!)  carved in stone – monolithic structures each hewn into its own peculiar shape. From the mighty Dharmaraja Ratha which towers above the rest, to the oblong Sahadeva Ratha and the little hut-like Draupadi Ratha, each monument seemed to share a history of its own.

Only the thrum of the booming sea wafted in the cool breeze as I watched these stone sentinels that had seen thirteen centuries of winds and waves dashing against the ramparts of an ancient sea-port.

Commercial scratchboards weren’t available then – I therefore put my homemade scratchboard of hardboard, gesso and India ink to use, creating this work over a couple of days.

 

– Check out www.kvkrishnan.com to get more insights into my new book Rambles into Sacred Realms: Exploring Divinity through Pen and Paint, where I invite readers to experience such adventure, humor and imagery illustrating my travels.

 

 From Mahabalipuram, India, Dispatch 2 of 3

Here in the seaside town of Mahabalipuram in South India, master craftsmen of yore had chiseled splendor in stone. Each column, each image, each form came alive with rhythm of ancient architecture.

Facing the turquoise sea stood a 90 foot x 45 feet colossus, one of the biggest stone bas-reliefs in the world. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Arjuna’s Penance comprises two humongous boulders with a fissure in between. Around it are carved figures of gods and goddesses, beasts and birds even as, somewhere in the contained chaos of stone figures,  Arjuna, the hero of the Indian epic, Mahabharata, stands upright, praying for victory in war.

It was a balmy day in the summer of 1986. I stood under a sweltering sun, taking a few sketches and black-and-white photographs with my boxlike Rolleiflex upon a wobbly tripod perched on sand. I had fashioned a 12 x 16 hardboard coated with hardened gesso and a coat of India ink. This was my scratchboard before commercially-made products were freely available.

 

– Check out www.kvkrishnan.com to get more insights into my new book Rambles into Sacred Realms: Exploring Divinity through Pen and Paint, where I invite readers to experience such adventure, humor and imagery illustrating my travels.

 

From Ellora Caves, India

We were more than 15 miles away from the colorful township of Aurangabad and 250 miles from the bustle of Mumbai. Our creaky Jeep headed for the renowned Ellora Caves was groaning through a winding ascent.

“Here are 34 caves carved out in a crescent curve on the slope of these low hills,” our guide told us.

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From Devils Tower National Monument

I was on sacred territory stretching for hundreds of miles. Here, native chiefs and war heroes alike would have drifted to solitary lakes and towering mounds following Nature’s mystic cues to perform rituals to realize life’s true meaning. This was an ideal setting for such a mission – here loom majestic buttes and secret forests, surreal wastelands of cretaceous origins and vast plains where once roamed Oligocene behemoths, ancient mammoths and thundering herds of buffalo. Continue Reading