India: Travels and Drawings – Part II

art, drawing, Exhibition, Illustration, location drawing, location painting, metamorphosis, Painting, portrait, sketchbook, Sketchnotes

For the first 15 days in India this was our mad itinerary,

 travel by night…

new place each day….

except for when we travelled for up to 42 hours without stopping.

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In all the different places Tem and I met projects and role models for social entrepreneurship and took graphic notes, on walls, and floors, and trains…. all over India

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And in the meantime I kept my personal sketchbook going…

Instalment II of India Sketchbook follows:

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We visited Gram Vikas and heard about their work in community health particularly their surrounding water and sanitation in rural areas. We visited the village pictured above. It was beautiful, particularly the amount of care that went into decorating each home and the hand-painted entrances and doors… but also very strange to be 450+ outsiders walking through a small village, looking at peoples homes.

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Mohit from the School of Social Entrepreneurs  – on the left was our bunk mate and a great host (despite being a guest himself on the train.) He never looked that glum in reality.

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At the amazing stone carved and brightly coloured temple in Madurai I experienced a ‘blessing’ form a ‘boff’ on the head from an elephants trunk.  It felt a bit like a head hug.

We ran drawing workshops in our compartment on the train some evenings and the lovely Kinjal was a great model! Amazing bone structure and poise. It was great to facilitate other peoples artwork, come up with games and do a little teaching along the way. It’s something I really enjoy.

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I occasionally had a moment in my own mind and came out with the strangenesses therein… and drew the cities flying by the train window.

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More strangeness from my head, after having an allergic reaction to UV light (which is a problem I have with sunny places). I thought about how even when bodies are broken, failing, somehow undermining their own purpose… still they’re strangely fascinating and beautiful things. Maybe this is one reason I’m so drawn to the image of the twisted body. I doubt anyone does, but I certainly don’t know what it is to have a ‘perfect’ body. The imagery that I relate to, internally, that comforts me, and that which fascinates me, is not the ‘ideal’ but the fragile, twisted Egon-Shiele-like bodies. They are so alive, not in spite of their defects and distortions, but because of them.

Their tension is their life.

distortion egon shiele

In contrast to this, is the watercolour on the right hand page above.

On new years day, for the first time, I used the UV filter film that I have recently discovered. I put it on a window, and sitting at my train seat, with my sketchbook, curtained off from the rest of the world I sat with the sun on my face for the first time in some years. It was beautiful. And I watched the sun come up through the haze, a blood-orange rag in a haze-cotton sky, and watched it sink, grey and purple into the black.

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Sunlight Spills From My Window Sill 01/16

Sketchbook-Journey-Part-I

India travels 2015-16.

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More artwork from this and other projects:

@blancheellisart

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INDIA: Travels and Drawings

art, Drawing in Public, exhibiton, Illustration, location drawing, location painting, Painting, reportage, Sketchnotes

The Jagriti Yatra.

 Jagriti = Awareness
Yatra = Journey

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This charity runs a yearly train journey around India. It is inspired by the journey Gandhi took after returning from South Africa 100 years ago. It takes over 400 young Indian social entrepreneurs to meet role models and experience the diversity of their own country from the biggest cities to its most rural outposts. They examine the strengths, weaknesses and challenges their country faces, and explore and discuss avenues for positive social change through entrepreneurship. Working in partnership with Temujen Gunawardena I lived on the train will the Yatri’s and created a 10 metre long illustration capturing the content and experience of the journey. We plan to exhibit the piece in London in 2016 before returning it to the Jagriti Yatra team in Mumbai.

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Working on the JY train…..

More images will follow but below is one detail of the 10 metre long drawing that Tem and I made to document the journey, life on the train and the sights we saw, the experiences we shared and the talks and ideas discussed along the way.

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During the travels I naturally kept my own sketchbook journal. The first book I have bound from scratch and the orange cover of which is now scratched, scuffed, stained and filthy, the binding knocked out of all shape. And it is full of colour on the inside too. Here are some experiences from the book…….. It is so long I may have to put it up in instalments.

India Sketchbook: Episode 1:

The book begins:

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A book I newly bound.

Now a worn and frayed old friend.

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A portrait of myself by the lost and found artist Sharath Koona.

The start of a new journey.

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The opening ceremony for the Jagriti Yatra – Gauri Sharma Tripathi teaches us all how to do the Jagriti Yatra dance that we will perform almost every one of the next 15 days, often multiple times! I see an explosion of colour and fabrics. Over the travels, glancing out of train windows, I see the people of India pass as we whirl 8000km around the country from Mumbai to the South, to the East, North and then back down to Mumbai. I capture the impressions and moments of the people, I would say passers by, but being on the train, I was the passer by. They are waiting on platforms, heaving luggage and walking alongside the track.

In the city, Mumbai, on arrival one of my first thoughts, rushing through the city in a taxi, seeing the shops, the cards, bikes, buildings and millions of wares for sale:

Everything is leaning… there are no ‘right’ angles here.

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My traveling companion and partner in line and colour – Tem – experiencing jet-lag in the restaurant we ate our first dinner in. Oh delicious dosa with coconut yum. You are the best.

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The Yatra begins. It involves talking, listening, learning, dancing, good food, exploration and glances out of train windows at fleeting figures on train platforms… This old lady’s dress was a magnetic magenta shade above the yellow dust and blue shadow.

More to come in…

Sketchbook-Journey-Part-II

India travels 2015-16.

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More artwork from this and other projects on Instagram and Twitter @blancheellisart

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Next sketchbook is under construction.

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ArtRabbit – Frontpage

art, drawing, Exhibition, Illustration, Painting, press, Prints

Happily a friend just found my artwork featured on the front page of ArtRabbit,

My self portrait etching is front-centre below.

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Nice to see my artwork getting around. I do always feel like it’s got a life of it’s own, especially when I release the image into the world, material or virtual.

Find out about the exhibition this Friday 18th December through the ArtRabbit article,

or the FB Event,

and come down – it’s going to be lovely 

Drawing Intensive Exhibition – Friday 18th

art, drawing, Exhibition, Illustration, press, Prints

I am excited to say some of my etchings – including the series of musicians, will be in the Drawing Intensive exhibition at Mercer and Chance gallery in Hoxton (details below) this weekend 18th-20th December.

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The opening of the show is from 6-9pm on Friday 18th. There will be wine, art and wonderful people. Everyone is welcome!

golden banjo girl blancheellis.wordpress.com

Sing Yourself – Etching.

 

Details:

Drawing Intensive: Exhibition

Mercer and Chance gallery

253 HOXTON ST, LONDON

OPEN SAT, SUN, MON – 11am-6pm & BY APPOINTMENT

FB EVENT:

https://www.facebook.com/events/451568941710173/

I haven’t posted much here lately as I have become a firm convert to Instagram for posting my new work/work in progress. If you’d like to see some of those things then look for @blancheellisart

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Miscelanea Art Club – Exhibition

art, Design, drawing, exhibiton, Illustration, Painting, philosophy, poetry, portrait, Prints, Quotes, sketchbook

Really looking forward to being part of this exhibition in Vauxhall at VGCC on September 19th – it’s going to be a real mix of artists and mediums and raising money to keep the community centre open.

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My contribution will be a little cast of characters that have been emerging from my desk of late, combining the strange bodies of my imagination with equally strange advice that has jigsawed into place from cut-up text, books, newspapers and other once innocently printed and now mis-used words.

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more info here :

https://www.facebook.com/events/1675668462652087/

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‘Frail’ – Beginnings

art, drawing, Illustration, Painting, portrait

A Frail Series

The characters in this emerging series are perhaps the less abstract cousins of the ‘Mistakable Bodies’ series.

Mostly created in the same manner, with no prior vision, the pen reaching around on the page looking for shapes and finding familiar faces and shapes.

The words and the images sitting together to make a moment – a short story of an image.

Click to view larger images

So Not So Sure

So Not So Sure

Mistakable Bodies…

art, drawing, folktale, Illustration, Painting, poetry, Prints, sketchbook

 

I have been finding more Mistakable Bodies emerging into my sketchbooks….

Mistakable Bodies - Growth - blancheellis.wordpress.com.jpeg WEB

sometimes they’re born of a phrase…

Mistakable Bodies - %22The Whispered Ah%22 - blancheellis.wordpress.com.jpeg WEB

Sometimes they’re silent….
Mistakeable Bodies - Move - blancheellis.wordpress.com.jpeg WEBBut always growing, metamorphosing, emerging and dissolving.

Never static.

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Returned from Istanbul

art, drawing, Drawing in Public, Illustration, location drawing, location painting, metamorphosis, reportage

I am just returned for the 2nd time in 8 months from Istanbul. When I visited last year, feeling an amazing fondness and love for this city I didn’t expect to be back so soon but my illustration work found me out there just last week!

Of course I stayed on a few more days and had a wonderful time running round and drawing the sights (and buying crazy things like lemon salt!)

Here are some of the places and moments from the trip….

Babel Cafe
Istanbul - Babel Cafe - Last morning

This restaurant we had an amazing dinner, playing backgammon and snap, drinking red wine, eating phenomenal food and dancing round and sharing music with the lovely owner as we left. My friend Tem and I returned on our last morning for the most delicious breakfast dish ‘menemen’.

Late for our flight I didn’t have time to visit the beautiful junk shop pictured on the corner but this view is a familiar one I will return to easily as every road we took in Istanbul seemed to lead us back to the crossroads of the incongruous Pizza Vegas and The Babel Restaurant.

Istanbul - Limonlu - Tem

After the aforementioned evening Tem and I found a hidden away restaurant with a hidden away garden and tortoises wandering around… feeling wobbly we did portraits of each other (mostly without looking at the page) that came out just as wobbly as we were. Sitting on the swing seat and taking up two tables in this rather up-market restaurant, we recovered the will to go out and find the city.

Istanbul Limonlu resturant with hangover and memories of the night before

Sultanahmet  Istanbul - Sultanahmet and crowds

Last time I kept trying to visit the blue mosque, or Sultanahmet, during prayer times and didn’t see it. On this trip timing was better and I got to see inside. I had imagined it being bright turquoise and almost brashly vibrant, but actually the space has a very pale, etherial quality, accented by the blue and turquoise tiles and paint, but also by reds in the windows of the domes.

In contrast to the vast airy chamber surrounding them the crowd milled on a red carpet, every woman in a headscarf of course, even the westerners, and many men wearing the long cloth skirts they hand out as you enter to cover anyone in shorts. The hustle and bustle of the jostling people in their many colours was for me, an integral part of the view. I always find myself watching the watchers.

Elections and Princes Islands

Istanbul - view from ferry

On the eve of the Turkish election, the most important in 30 years which had everyone holding their breath as the Kurds waited to see if they could get enough percentage for representation, we took a trip to one of the Princes Islands. This is the view, leaving Istanbul on the ferry.

We walked to the top of the island and saw a wild horse, and sat, and sang, and looked at the sea. We returned to feast on meze at the house of our turkish friend and to celebrate the outcome of the election.

When we got on the boat to return ‘home’ to Istanbul and our hostel it was full of people dancing and celebrating and playing music. The atmosphere was incredible. The celebrations lasted the whole time we were there….. huge crowds in the street.

Istanbul – i’ll miss you and your colours, crowds and junk shops, steep streets and fine food, and fine people – I’ll be back again. Soon I hope.

Returned - Renewed

Returned – Renewed

One last memory for which I haven’t a picture – Waseem in the Juice shop – thank you for your sanctuary and sharing in our music in a moment that was needed. And for the token, hanging in my window.

Group Exhibition at Primrose Hill Community Centre – Faces On The Hill

art, drawing, Exhibition, Illustration, portrait, press

The exhibition at Primrose Hill Community centre is coming up on Sunday 31st of May.

There will be lots of drawings by locals of locals and an auction of the works for which donations will go to keeping the local library open.

Do come down and have a look – it’s been a great experience meeting all sorts of local people and getting to know them while drawing them.  Running over to people’s houses and workplaces in my lunch hour to make sketches and sitting over tea and pencil shavings in pubs and cafes.

Here’s a few of the drawings that will be in the auction in Sunday……

Sadly I can’t make the exhibition but i’m looking forward to the book which may be published of all the drawings in many artists different styles…..

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Portraits for ‘Faces on The Hill’

art, Camden, drawing, Exhibition, Illustration, Painting, portrait, press

I’ve just become part of a lovely little project in Primrose Hill where people in the community are drawing and photographing each other. There will be an exhibition at the community centre and a book of images and interviews published and called…

‘Faces on The Hill’.

It’s such a lovely idea and I’ve just finished my first portrait which is of the lovely Rachel Poulton who took my photograph.

Rachel - Photographer copyThe exhibition is on May 31st I have on my list to draw, a local lawyer, an art curator and a retired ballet dancer amongst others so I think this is going to be a really fun project !

more to come……