Thursday, March 22, 2007

First Chai

Here's the love of my life having his first cup of masala chai at our hotel rooftop restaurant in Mumbai (Arabian Sea backdrop). Masala means mixed spices, and the tea is laced with great tasting things like cardomom and ginger, and finished off with hot creamy milk. I've not had a chai in this country to compare. Martin almost choked on his first sip. It was chocked full of sugar Indian style! They love their sugar, but for one who stopped putting sugar in his tea when the prices went up in the 70's, this chai was a bitter pill to swallow indeed. Still, he perservered and quickly learned to order no sugar. I tried it without the sugar (I don't take sugar either), but honestly, it just isn't right without some sugar. The spices make it too bitter. We took to ordering without sugar and adding as we liked.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


It came to Pataskala, OH as a glorious day full of sun. I had to get out and paint. I was so excited by the sun and the spring equinox that I forgot to take much notice of what I wore when I got into the car. All I knew was that Martin said it was going to be warm. I only drove about 2 miles from home and saw something that caught my eye. I had been driving by this place for almost 16 years and never noticed this cluster of barns until today. I quickly turned into a drive on the opposite side of the road. This house does a large pick-your-own vegetable field which I painted in the early 90's. Before I could knock on the door, the owner opened it. I handed him my card, and started to tell him I was an artist and could I leave my car in his drive. He was in agreement and reminded me not to get into the mud. I gathered my supplies, and already I could tell it was colder than I thought. I put on a rain slicker that happened to be in the car, but after two hours, my hands were frozen, as were my feet. Martin forgot to tell me about the windchill index. I came home, hand lunch, put on my silk underwear and some other layers and after talking with Martin, went back out to my new favorite spot about 5 miles from here. There is a complex of structures. My favorite is a white barn with a roof in three colors, green, rusty red and blue. Doors are a viridian green. Just an interesting and colorful object sitting there waiting to be painted. I attempted this barn last week on a sunny day. Not feeling it was quite right, I took that painting back out to see if I could make it better. I think I succeeded, but not quite there. Next time, I'll do a new one. But it was a fabulous day no matter which way you look at it. I'll post a photo when I can.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Checking the Chilly Factor

We arrived in Mumbai at 10:30PM. A car from the hotel was waiting. It took us an hour to reach our destination and another 15 - 20 minutes to check in. After stowing our luggage, we headed for our rooftop restaurant. Here is Ray after a grueling 15+ hours. He's holding up our first Kingfisher Beer. (Click that photo and it enlarges.)

Ray, put it down, you'll destroy the "chilly factor"!

Indians always let you feel the beer bottle to see how "very, very cold" it is. We have affectionately started to call that "checking the chilly factor". Beer is rather chilly in this hotel which caters to Westerners; but in general, we think that the beer you feel is just a decoy, and goes back into the fridge, while you drink one that has a chilly factor of 2 or 3. Although this was not a 10, it wasn't bad for India.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Return from the East

We are back from India and Bhutan for almost a week now. It has been a hard, and at times forced adjustment coming home. While I was gone, I emailed travel logs to a mailing list of about 97 people.

I am going to start posting some text and photos onto the blog, starting tomorrow I hope.
But to wet your appetite, I will start with this photo of our first sunrise on our first morning in India. You are looking out at the Arabian Sea from the rooftop of our Mumbai Hotel, Harbour View.
Ray and I stayed in this hotel two years ago, and painted from this rooftop restaurant at dawn. We liked the view so much that we decided to stay here again. It was marvelous to be back here and looking at what seemed like a homecoming.

Dealer's Choice Exhibition

This painting was done in France, June 2006. I was painting with three other artist friends, Meg, Margie and Susie. We have become affectionately known as "The March Sisters".

We drove from Néons-sur-Cruse to St. Pierre de Maillé with easels in tow. It was a sunny and hot - if one is standing in the sun as I was - day.

Standing on the side of a "ruelle" with the river at my heels, this charming flower covered house called out to me. I was so beguiled by it, that I sat up my stuff in a bunch of nettles and started to work.

As Meg and I painted - she was smart enought to stand in the shade - music came to our ears from the open windows. A cello concert! What a hard, hard job, standing in France, listening to cello music and painting. It's a rough life sometimes.

Nevertheless, we perservered, and this is the result of my effort. The owner of the house, John Cooke, an Englishman, lives part of the year in this house in France and the other part in the Far East. He came to his window, and saw us. What a great site it was, he was gleaming in the sunlight, and I quickly sketched him in. The painting is executed with brush and palette knife is is now on display in the Dealer's Choice exhibition which just opened at the Schumacher Gallery in Bexley, OH - near Columbus. The exhibition features works by artists of seven galleries in the area. First time an exhibition of this nature has taken place in the central Ohio area.

Painting is called At the Window or A la fenetre, but I now think that I should have called it An Englishman in France. It's 8" x 10", oil on a RayMar Panel.