Gerbera daisies with Persian Kilim

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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.

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Still life with Nasturtiums and Kashmir Shawl

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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.