Now that things are on the mend…

Last week was a tough week. My husband had an emergency procedure on one of his eyes, and just the words ‘surgery’ and ‘eyes’ in the same sentence are scary. Luckily things are on the mend. While he sat through examinations and procedures and long waits I did the only thing I know to do when I wait. Sketch. Looking back, I see that I drew almost the same scene, over and over, through multiple visits to the ophthalmologist and almost always in a darkened room.

Photographing the eye with this huge machine that takes really detailed images of the inside of the eye.

During the actual procedure called Pneumatic retinopexy, where an inert gas bubble is injected (ouch!) into the eye. The bubble floats to the top of the eye and helps things fix back together. Hari_opthamologist4Hari_opthamologist5
Hari_opthamologist6When all the technical terms about the eye got really confusing, our ophthalmologist pulled out a sheet of paper and a set of colored pencils and drew a diagram to explain it all. If only we all drew pictures, things would be much less confusing.

All the medication we took home.Hari_opthamologist7

Hari_opthamologist9Hari_opthamologist3And multiple laser procedures over the next few days to ‘solder’ everything back together.
Hari_opthamologist2Hari_opthamologist8Like I said before, things are on the mend and looking well. We’re so glad last week is behind us.
There are so many people to thank. Our ophthalmologist, Dr. Keshav Narain and his amazing team, and our friends and family, for keeping things sane through the week.

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Meet Woofie

This is Woofie. A long time ago, he was called Mr. Brahms. If you pulled his tail and let it go, he played Brahms’ lullaby. His tail can’t be pulled anymore and he doesn’t play the lullaby either.  His once-blue coat is now faintly blue-grey, and his stuffing barely fills a quarter of his body. He can’t really sit up anymore, he just sinks into himself. But I often find him tucked carefully into bed with his very own blanket.


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Fall Color Palette

You can tell it’s fall when the green disappears from my flickr stream. And, as it starts getting chilly outside, I start painting little still lifes on my kitchen counter.Because I hate the cold (yes, even what passes for ‘cold’ in California).

Here are some recent fall sketches.
Halloween with my Native American Girl and her brother Calvin (holding Hobbes).



Candy from their stash.


My kids in their favorite ‘climbing tree’ in the park. It’s bare now, so I can see them when they climb in it.tree-climbingCoffee, which I drink all day long. Or atleast when I’m not drinking chai.
coffeeAnd a collection of gourds and pumpkins.



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Rodin’s Thinker

I sketched this gigantic Thinker by Auguste Rodin at the Cantor Museum on the campus of Stanford University. This little gem of a museum has loads of pieces by Rodin, including many of the small studies for his Gates of Hell sculpture.
Initially I wanted to sketch this piece from a more classic side angle, but the museum guards wouldn’t let me stand there ( I never figured why). But I’m glad I had to stand where I did, sort of in the back: it was quite a dramatic sight with this monumental piece looking down on the museum goers.
I really enjoyed contrasting the size, solidity and permanence of this sculpture with the relatively small and fleeting viewers.


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Drawing Pears, Pondering People.

I’m usually out and about sketching at the busiest street corner I can find. So drawing little objects at home is a change of pace for me. The nice thing about drawing like this is that it forces me to slow down. I can’t explain why: maybe it’s that I usually draw big scenes scaled down to little pages in my sketchbook? And here I’m drawing small objects with simple shapes?  Or maybe it’s just that I don’t think the pears are going to get up and walk away like the people in my urban sketches?

Notice how no pear ever looks like the classic shape we imagine pears to be. Drawing each pear as it is: bumps, blemishes and all, and not the ‘symbol’ of a pear is what makes it believable. When I drew these I was thinking about how the same principle applies to drawing people: I like to draw people from observation and not draw from what I “know”. It’s my way of always drawing a particular person and never a symbol.

But back to the pears. Here they are in graphite:

pears-greyAnd again in watercolor.

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Sketching Dinner

Something about the purple of an eggplant makes it so worth painting, even if that means dinner is late.

These are the ingredients for on of my favorite recipes my mom makes. Chopped coriander leaves, along with the peanuts I’m pulverizing in the suribachi, get mixed in with spices from my spice box and stuffed into the eggplants before they’re sautéed.


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An afternoon of sketching in Los Gatos

An afternoon of sketching in Los Gatos that began and ended with people sketching.  A few pages of quick sketches of people crossing the street (or waiting for the ‘walk’ light). And my notes on drawing people. Drawing pages of moving people is a great way to warm up: quick blind contour movement captures with no expectation of them turning into larger pieces or complete sketches.


Then, a couple of quick sketches from the intersection, (I was checking out the location for a workshop) both with the historic La Cañada Building in the background , but drawn from different sides of the intersection.


After a couple of sketches at the intersection I decided I  was happy with my location and was ready for coffee at the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company. What I really like about this coffee shop is that people actually come here to meet up and chat: there was not one cellphone in sight the afternoon I was there. So I managed to capture a few people deep in conversation.


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