Back to blogging sketches from my trip to India. I spent three days sketching with my niece in Bijapur. (You can see her sketches here). There’s something to drawing in this really immersive, days-on-end fashion that is fascinating: Things start to come together, stuff you’ve been working on and thinking about appears on the page. I find it hard to explain what it is, but if you’ve never taken a break from the rest of your life and done this for at least a few days in a row, you really should try it…. and if you have, you know what I’m taking about.
That doesn’t mean things always work out and you produce fantastic work. In fact, I find that when I know I have time for more than one precious sketch, I am more willing to try something and fail. Also, the first few sketches of an extended experience like this are often disastrous.
This top image is my first three attempts at sketching the Gol Gumbaz. They don’t even come close to capturing it’s huge, squat presence, girth and solidity.
It took going back the next morning and sketching again for attempt #4 to be somewhat happy with my sketch. The Gol Gumbaz, completed in 1656, is the mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah and has a dome that is 44 meters in diameter. It is huge, and truly dominates the skyline in Bijapur. Anywhere in the city that you are, you see it’s enormous mass. This sketch was made early in the morning. People walked around the manicured grounds on their early morning walks. And a gardener on his haunches slowly picked weeds from amongst the grass.
This next sketch of that same dome is made from a distance away. I can never resist drawing in all the electric wires that are slung across the sky in much of urban India. They keep things real and anchored in the present.
This is one of the many small ruins and tiny buildings that dot the grounds around the Gol Gumbaz. Unmarked and surrounded by fabulous trees, this obviously was a fantastic meeting point for the two men who lounged and chatted in the shade by it.
More sketches from Bijapur coming up soon.