Still life with sunflowers

I got a beautiful vermillion red ginger jar as a present from my sons on my birthday in November. Teamed with Baluch tribal rug and some sunflowers, it found its way in this still life. It is one of the 3 paintings that I managed to finish in December 2016. sunflowers

Autumn Still Life

pumpkins-and-sparrows

It was supposed to be geraniums that I planted in the spring but somehow one pumpkin seed took roots in the bed in our yard. Thanks to abundant rain when we returned from our summer holidays half the yard and most of the fence was covered by it. A steady supply of pumpkins started with start of autumn. They aren’t prize winning orange Halloween perfect Pumpkins but rather small, mottled and pear shaped. The flesh is yellow and sweet.

Here the plant is emerging from an glazed terra cotta planter and fruit is laid out on a silver platter like an offering. Onlookers are three sparrows that looking for their share. The whole setting is placed on an antique (1800s?) Persian Tree of life carpet from Kermanshah. Adding a timeless formality to it.

Here are some details:

detail-1Here is another one:

detail

Grapes with parrots

grapes-and-parrotsoil on linen

50X40 cm

Last year during our holidays to Borneo we saw this round shaped bowl with lid. It has brass edging along the rim and stylized grape vine pattern. It seemed perfect to team with real varieties of grapes. Parrots are not my only love amongst birds but certainly find a place in my paintings more often.

I always find that a lot of details of tones in rich and subtle colors gets lost in digital translation. I am hoping to replace this image with a better one that is more true to color depth of real painting. But for now this has to do.

 

 

 

African grey with Figs

007

Oil on canvas

60X50 cm

I picked this large lacquered wooden bowl a few years ago from an antique shop a few years ago and it served as fruit bowl in our kitchen.  This was the first time I used it in my painting set up and the rich reds told me that I will paint it again and again.

I tried unripe figs as a child picking them from a small tree at a friend’s house. It left my tongue dry and I swore not to touch them again. It was years later that I had some fresh figs with feta cheese in Sinai (served with fresh bread made of coarse whole wheat flour baked in a clay oven) at the village of St. Catherine that I fell I love with this fruit again, maybe it had to do with the place but I still love the taste and texture.

Gerbera daisies with Persian Kilim

009

Oil on linen

60X50 cm

 

This Persian Kilim was a wedding gift from an Egyptian friend who bought it from Khan el Khalili, the famous souk in the medieval quarter of Islamic Cairo. Even after living there for 3 years I think I would like to go back any time there is an opportunity. I think I did not buy enough from there.

Still life with Nasturtiums and Kashmir Shawl

sdf

Oil on Linen

Nasturtiums aren’t grown in Shanghai. I brought the seeds from Lahore and planted them… despite following each step from some good sources on the internet I could not predict the last frost as it was still winter in April here and without greenhouse it was tough for the tiny plants to cope. There wasn’t much sun, and too much rain, till June. However we did get some beautiful blossoms during sunny days. Elegantly hung on delicate stems with round variegated leaves these flowers have a wide range of shades.
I paired them with an antique shawl (French paisley) that has beautiful turquoise color interspersed in its motifs and placed it alongside a north faced window in afternoon light. That is strong enough to create bold highlights on the vase and soft enough to see the details

Still Life with parrot against a Chinese cupboard

1Painted in the summer of 2014 this small piece features a finely hand painted porcelain vase against an antique cabinet. Vase caught my eye in, now gone, Dongtai antique market, in old part of town, before it got bulldozed and construction started for even taller skyscrapers that the city has aplenty. It has a very subtle blue tinge and lotus lake design with ducks and herons. The top has a wide blue and white collar with stylized lotus pattern.  The shape is typical Bailuzun Vase (late Ming, early Qing dynasty) without the delicate handles as well as the typical deer pattern.

Side board Cabinet (square cornered and most likely northern China) is decorated with flowers and fruits celebrating nature, spring and abundance. Motifs are lightly hued with a dark outline against red ground. The inside is new to make it functional however the exterior is a well preserved antique. I painted the design more like gauche with a bit of impasto. I added several washes of ochre and burnt umber for the final effect ensuring each layer is dry to touch before adding next.

While composing this I had a strong urge to place a few flowers in the vase. Parakeet, a reminder of fidelity in Chinese art emerged in the jumble of lines on an early quick sketch and found its place instead of flowers.