Monday, April 29, 2013

Gateway of India

On the morning I walked along the promenade to visit the Gateway of India. That beautiful structure built  as an arriving point for boat passengers, was ironically the place chosen by the British troops   when they left forever the subcontinent after  many years of colonial rule.

The light at that early hour was magnificent enough to convince me to seat far away to my destiny to do a watercolor. From my point I view I could see the Gateway of India on the right and the Taj Mahal Hotel on the left (the one that suffered the bombings) But my main subject was, as I mentioned before, the light.

When I just had started doing the first washes, a small crowd started forming around me. One of the guys, an Omani, leaned on the wall to watch too. He had such an elegant presence and with that turban it was perfect for my image that immediately  included  him on my painting. I am very proud to say that I got his face very well, and the enthusiastic approval of my public confirmed that.

Guy from Oman
The scale of the building is impressive as the image below shows. It is decorated with a mix of Indian and British elements. A similar architecture you could find in most of the buildings of the Colaba area, therefore is very popular  by tourists.

Gateway to India
I played around many times with that motive. Lots of people visit the place. It is a magnificent background for any people studies. Gateway to India

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Riding trains in Mumbai

We arrived to Mumbai with the plane.  After short trip with the Rickshaw we took the famous  Mumbai trains. It was quite an adventure. Some wagons were extremely crowded. The wagons doors stayed open all the time. Regardless of the danger some people preferred to travel close to them and enjoyed the view.
Mumbai trains
Mumbai trains

We arrived to Victoria station, where  I sat for a while inside to do some sketches.The building itself is an architectural jewel, but is was so crowded outside that it was impossible to find a spot to sit and draw.

Sketching should not be stressful. I repeat to myself when I travel, that I draw for myself, for sharing with others and that I am not making a tourist guide.

Therefore I draw only when I can enjoy it..

Victoria Station Mumbai

Friday, April 26, 2013

At the beach in Alleppey

In small cities people were very curious towards foreigners. Everybody wanted to start a conversat ion with us or wanted to have a picture from us or with us. 
a kid in the beach 
This kid came to us and sat on our site on the beach. I could hardly understand his English.
Sunset with schoolchildren
Many kids in red uniform came with their school. They played with the waves on the shore. They were all fully dressed.
Men in the Beach Men in the beach
Middle age men waking on the beach. They wore a mundu, a piece of cloth wrapped on their waste. It can be wear long or short. It looks very comfortable for the weather in India.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Friendly people in Alleppey

We just met friendly people in India and most of them were happy to get drawn.

Watermelon Guy
A guy selling watermelon. I was fascinated by the intensive green from the channel in the backOn the channel
A guy posing with some kind of sword make of straw. In the back the channel full with water plants glows under the sun.
In the Ferry
Two guys from the ferry company. The one of the right is the one that sells the tickets.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Backwaters

We took the ferry from Alleppey to Kotayam and back. It is 2 hour ride there. and 2 more hours back.

Boat in the backwaters
There a some fancy boats for tourist, built in a traditional way. But we preferred the normal ferry.In the Ferry
The locals use the ferry as a way of transportation. Some american and European travelers were also there.
In the Ferry to Kotayam
Some local women on my left
The backwaters
There are many houses in the channel.  The small channels are full with water plants. The waters don't move much so it gives the impression of a green garden. The woman on the image just finished a bath on the channel. She took the bath fully dressed.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Alleppey or Alappuzha

Many cities in India got two names. There is the colonial name and there is a new name based in  historic or the phonetic similarities with the old name. Important is that the new name is an Indian name. Problematic is that old names resist to be forgotten. So you are forced to deal with maps and signs with two different names all the time..

We went south from Fort Kochi heading for the Backwaters. Alleppey is a city in the coast. Channels crossed the city  and connected to the hinterland.  
The city still keeps a traditional architecture architecture . Modernity has not yet destroy the city identity. We visited the India Coffee House. An institution in Kerala. The one we visit had a beautiful old interior decorated with many photos of Indian political leaders. The waiters wear some traditional clothes with a colorful decoration in their hats.
Indian Coffee House, Alleppey,
The markets are full of spices. The sellers got more and more prepare for the tourist.This guy Sanel could praise his goods in 4 languages.(English , German, French and Spanish)  I asked how he learned and he said talking to the tourists
In Kerala the communist party has  always been very strong. Therefore the state doesn't have much industrie  The constant strike had scared possible investors. On the other hand their analphabetism is almost 1%. Most of the money come from people working in the Gulf countries and now the increase of tourism also offers a new economical income.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Sinagogue in Mattancherry

South from Fort Kochi, you can visit Mattancherry. It used to be a thriving jewish community in the past there. You can visit the jewish quartier and the sinagoge.
Jewish Sinagogue

Monday, April 15, 2013

Going to Cherai Beach

We heard about this beach not far from Fort Kochi. However it turn out to be a longer voyage that we expected. 
Ferry to Cherai Beach
First we took the ferry to Vyppin. Later a bus, it took more than an hour.On the Ferry to Cherai Beach
Some people in the ferry with their sun in the back.Cherai Beach, Kerala
It was a Sunday and the beach was full of people. The people got in the water with their clothes on. women and Kites on the beach
There were many young guys playing in the beach.Youth from Kerala

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fort Kochi: Faces and Places

Fort Kochi is a city fully dedicated to tourism. Small buildings, many restaurants, hostels and stores. It is a very comfortable place to stay. It offers also many things to draw.

Guy in the Port
A guy in the port. Seating in a bench.
Fort Kochi Kerala
A rickshaw in a side street.
Tea saloon
A nice tea saloon. I was fascinated by the collection of old teapots and vintage artifacts.
Fort Kochi Crow
Crows were everywhereFort Kochi, kerala
A seller in the waterfront.Youth in Fort Kochi
A group of young people. They asked me if I could make a picture of the and after that I asked if I could draw them.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fort Kochi and the chinese fishing nets

Our next stop was Fort Kochi in Kerala. We arrived with the ferry from Ernakulam.  That and the fact you sense a more peaceful atmosphere, give you the sensation you are in an island.
When we walked through the waterfront the first you see are the chinese fishing nets. These very elegant fishing structure were introduced in Kerala by the Portuguese, probably from Macao. They are 10 m high. Huge stones hanging on ropes balance the weight. At least 6 people are needed to operate them.

Chinese Fish Nets
These photogenic structures not only attracts birds.A lot of tourist with cameras love to see the men fishing. I did many drawings of the them.Chinese Fishing nets
Huge trees grow in the waterfront. Vertically and horizonatlly. They offer shelter for many birds and visitors. The temperature there is refreshing.
Fort Kochi, Kerala
Close to the sunset the fisher boats came  bringing their catch. It is weight, sold and discussed by the locals.
Fort Kochi
In such a frenzy atmosphere. I draw first some elements in the background and then I pick different characters and include them in my drawing. As the people constantly move, some overlapping of lines takes place. I refer to this portraits as drawings ghosts. Moments,  instants of a person in a place.
Fort Kochi