Drawing in layers

Working from Peet’s Tea and Coffee on a cold, wet day. The good part is I can take a quick break from work every so often and do a sketch. On the flip side, I don’t move to a new seat ( too much stuff to move around: my sketch stuff, my laptop, and most of all, not all seats in the cafe have a coveted power point within easy reach…so I stay put.)

These three sketches are from pretty much the same spot. Capturing a space filled with people means thinking in layers : people and objects in the foreground partially block those behind them. I keep building in layers of what I see in a scene- all the way to the horizon. Or, in this case, until I hit a wall.


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Drawing Busy Places: At the supermarket

I love sketching busy places. One place that’s guaranteed to have a crowd ( and good pastries) is the Whole Foods Market not far from home. Capturing crowds of people and color and texture is always exciting. I love the challenge of conveying all that detail without drawing it all in.

The checkout line.


The bakery counter. Love their alfajores. I could eat a dozen at a sitting.

The seafood counter. It’s Dungeness Crab season in California right now!


And the fruit aisle
All sketched with a Brush Pen, watercolor and a white gel pen.


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Sunday morning piano practice

I’d NEVER be able to play if someone stood over me like that! Kavya, Sunday morning piano practice.

And this is Nishant practicing his piece. His feet are going to dangle like that for only a short while more.

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Inspiration and Information

I’ve often wondered what this beautiful fruit was. It grows on trees in my neighborhood park. Recently a friend mentioned ( where else, on facebook) that he harvests and eats it. It is the fruit of a Strawberry Tree, a Mediterranean shrub not related to strawberries.

Thanks Vinay Pohray, I now know a new tree. And thank you, Cathy Johnson, the ultramarine blue pencil is inspired by your sketches. Sometimes I think I sink way too much time into flickr and facebook. But my friends on both those platforms are such a great source of information and inspiration.



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Small Sketches.

Some weeks, all I end up is a few small sketches.
A quiet Sunday morning.

The kids making pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

And two mutts. Gunther and Charles.tummo_dog2


I love mutts.
I also love my new Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, can you tell?

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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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