From Copan, Honduras

Conte Crayons 14 x 17

I stood below this grand monument, awestruck by the late afternoon sun licking the motifs upon its intricate stairway. A stela of a later king loomed nearby.

Built upon several other structures by the Maya king of Copan, this grand stairway retells the history of Copan in stone. My guide explains this has been the longest Maya text found ever, in 1260 glyphs carved upon 63 stairs narrating the story of the kings of yore and their valiant exploits in these lands.

Integrating the occult with history, this was also the secret pathway of the king to his ancestors as he ascended these steps to a grand temple perched above. Accompanied by chanting priests, here he would worship the kings of yesteryear and make his offerings to the many Maya Gods of the thirteen heavens. Incense from sacrificial altars would have clouded the place, adding to that sense of mystery.

Archaeologists in the early 1900s had found this place in an utter state of ruin, with only the stones making first 15 steps of the stairway mounted, and the others scattered on the forest floor. The Maya script hadn’t been decoded and eager professors had hastily rearranged the stones above based on visual appeal, completely scrambling a visual story that can never really be put together again!

All these months I had been wondering what the right medium was to depict such a scene – its eternal mystery, the puzzle and the incense smoke. I decided to employ a similar technique, keeping the architectural elements intact.

Check out my travel/art book Rambles into Sacred Realms

SMALL HIEROGLYPHIC STAIRWAY

From Evanston, IL

Photo

Presenting a copy of my book to Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

Krish V. Krishnan with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky

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

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 Copan, Honduras

Scratchboard 9×12, colored in with Ampersand inks.

By the ancient Maya ruins here, I could see these large birds squawking above the trees. One made bold to perch near where I stood, inspecting my photographic paraphernalia with studied curiosity. I took several photos, also drawing some quick sketches noting the light and shade below the thick canopy. I spent the larger part of last week’s evenings and this weekend to complete this work.

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

MACAW

From Copan, Honduras

Pen and Ink 16×20

Over a long weekend, I attempted what turned out to be a rather complex pen and ink drawing.
I wanted to recreate the sight of a scarlet macaw that flew past me as I stood admiring the ancient ball court of a great civilization. The tarp protects a delicately-carved stairway chockfull of hieroglyphics which had helped decode the Maya script. What an unforgettable moment that was!

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

Scarlet Macaw - The Great Ball Court, Copan, Honduras

From Sedona, Arizona

Pastels, Conte Crayons & Charcoal on Pastelbord – 11×14

 

Of course, there are no wild lions in Sedona, but here’s a portrait of a lone majesty that was perched upon a rock in the Out of Africa theme park.

I was there on a chilly and windy morning during Christmas. With time to kill before the safari into the Park, I ended up walking around the securely fenced enclosures which made for very poor viewing and pictures.

Given the vacation season I had decided to drop my zoom lens and ended up photographing its entire body with a 18-105mm lens and blew it up , later recreating this work on pastels over the long holidays.

Much after the work was completed, I had to recover from a horrific fixative disaster – I sprayed Lascaux fixative  on my work when it was originally completed – (never again!) which pretty much destroyed the colors completely. Cost me 7 additional hours of fur labor to bring it back to life again.

Check out my new travel/art book Rambles into Sacred Realms out in April 2015

The Queen of Sedona

Knight with a Sword – Akko, Israel

Watercolor, 9 x 12

The Ottoman-era streets of Old Akko with their teeming souks looked truly charming as sunlight dappled upon shop awnings.

A fantastic world lay underneath these cobblestones – an enormous underground city that had been built by the Crusaders. The Knights of St. John had originally been established here in the eleventh century C.E. to care for the sick of Jerusalem. I explored this seemingly endless subterranean world of dining rooms and pillared hallways, dungeons and an elaborate sewage system that crisscrossed under the entire city.

I could also imagine knights clad in mail and armor, exiting the city in a swift march through an escape tunnel that connected the seaport to the ancient fortress, even as invading forces were penetrating the main defenses.

_DCS0954

At one point, my son’s movements caught my eye. With only his little plastic shark for protection, he looked awed, even overwhelmed by the enormity of the vaulted ceilings and the somberness of the place. Yet behind him, the morning sun had found expression through the arched entrance, lightening up the mood of the moment.

– Check out the link to my 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 Giza, Egypt

Scratchboard, 9 x 12

 

I haven’t had much luck with camels. Laden with cameras and film, I had agreed to this “exotic, rarely conducted camel tour around the pyramids in Giza.” Of course, I figured out much later that the tour was indeed “around” the pyramids — because my guide did not want to pay the entrance fee to the Giza complex.

So there I was in the midst of the Libyan Sahara, far from both monuments and humanity. Gesticulating wildly, he was heatedly haggling with me, threatening to walk the camel —with me on top — further into the desert should I not agree to his “new rate”.

Egyptian Camel-SMALLEST

“Fifty pounds extra,” he persisted, lowering his bid. Previously I had stuck to a stubborn 30, but now, out of unashamed fear, I capitulated.

Much later I disembarked with relief. I took a final look at the beast, now absolutely nonchalant, who stood relaxed in the blazing sun. Her demeanor was so comically calm, given the threatening transaction that had earlier taken place, that I had to take some pictures.

Scratchboard was the inevitable medium to convey these distinctive textures. I used a scalpel to evoke the woolly fluff of her face and neck.

– Check out the link to my 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 Varanasi, India

Acrylic on board, 12 x 16, circa 1986

It was late afternoon in the holy city of Varanasi in India.

I had blundered from one spot to the other till I had wandered hopelessly far away from my destination. It had become ominously cloudy and a downpour seemed inevitable. For a fleeting impressionist moment the sun straggled through a cloud bank, lighting up the water and a distant bridge ahead. The mottle of boats and cattle added a strange vibrancy to the scene.

A washerman was hurriedly pulling clothes from a makeshift clothesline. An obdurate goat wouldn’t budge from its sunbathing moment much to the chagrin of its masters trying to hurry it home.

In this land of contrasts, a distant mosque loomed in the sweep of this ancient temple town.

Varanasi - Light and Clouds-2

I captured the conflict of moods with an ink drawing on a paper, later recreating the scene on hardboard painted white, using acrylic with a dry-brush technique I found effective.

– Check out the link to my 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 Ambarnath, India

Ballpoint pen on paper, 14 x 16

 

One lazy afternoon 30 years ago, I stood by this ancient temple – an 10th Century stone jewel incredibly tucked away in the clangor of a bustling Mumbai suburb.

Ambarnath

A couple of men were getting ready for their afternoon siesta even as a goat foraged the stubbly grounds in search of a green morsel.

More than a thousand years ago, upon this very spot, architects may have looked on watchfully even as skilled artisans chipped away at obdurate stone, immortalizing poetry in stone.

Braving the onslaught of persistent flies under a sweltering sun, I used my ballpoint pen on my sketchpad to capture this inspirational moment.

 

– Check out the link to my 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.