Many will know that I spend a lot of time each year at Cardamom House, in the foot hills of the Western Ghats. This is in Tamil Nadu, a drier state than Kerala. The sunsets can be spectacular; the birds and flowers exotic.
We are visited by many artists and some of my inspirations come from looking at their work. Some come armed with sketchbooks and notepads, others give us their website addresses. They challenge me to see through new eyes. They challenge me to take risks. They challenge me to work in different media.
My experiments have mixed results. I am learning all the time.
At first, my creativity was quelled. Being in the same place for a number of weeks, with the same old views, from the same old positions can stifle the desire to explore. It can also lead to a more intimate awareness of the nuances of light. For the last fifteen or more years I have stared at the skyline of the foothills of the Western Ghats. I have become familiar with the gullies and clefts. I have looked out onto them at all times of day and night, with all manner of skies, and during severe drought and monsoon.
It is only now, that I am beginning to see detail. Using watercolours, the number of interpretations becomes endless. Here are some of my latest renditions.
Back in Portsmouth I may sit down with brushes and paints, but my creativity often feels constrained by other demands on my time and the limitations of my intentions. Having two months at Cardamom House gives plenty of time to try out ideas and experiment.
Here are three different watercolour styles. At times, it has been difficult to come to terms with the vibrancy of the light here, in South India. The abstract on the left was prompted by the colours of the dried up lake bed. It would probably be more effective in inks, but here I am constrained by the materials available to me. This makes me think far more about application.