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Hanim and her Watering Can

Posted by Lakshmi
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29 April 2010




Hanim, from Meru, Klang wanted her watering can to be choc full of hydrangeas, so this is what I did.

Hope she'd be happy with this.





Sue oh Sue

Posted by Lakshmi
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29 April 2010



This is Sue, of  Teratak Antique, who came for class and did her project on a  daffodil yellow tissue box. 





Sue's quite photogenic, I must say, and this is just on my first camera shot, without fidgeting with the camera's numerous functions.

Notice the white basket on the background ?  She bought it at one of the car boot sale in Shah Alam and had it painted.  Looks  good and very country...... Way to go Sue !

Sue was quite happy with her work and of course, she took back lots of practise sheets to work on. .... ......  for I told her simply and truthfully that the key to happy (rose) painting is practice, practice and more practice. ......


 
Happy painting and  practicing , Sue  ! 

Darmo Cottage's New Opening at Tesco Bukit Tinggi

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26 April 2010


If you visit the Tesco outlet in Bukit Tinggi, you will see this signage on Cikgu Zaleha's shop on the ground floor. 









This is the 2nd signboard that I painted for  Cikgu Zaleha of Darmo Cottage .   As you can see, it is a real window panel of  the old 'kampung'  house. The idea was to get a shabby chic kind of  feel and I think it does portray so.  The usual sealing, sanding , gesso application and base coating was done.  Thank goodness,  Cikgu Zaleha had it pre washed before it came to me .  Can't say the same for the others though !


I surprised myself by painting on it straight away without the usual  pencil  etchings  which I would normally do for big projects.....hmmm, I must say that I'm getting bolder and more carefree in my attitude. ( Rashidah dear, your trait is getting infectious but I rather like it............)

  The first one that I did  was in her favouite colour of  lime green which I had posted in my previous columns and which is displayed in her Darmo Cottage shop in Banting.  That was the start of everyone hunting high and low for old window panes and panels. 

 I'm now doing  a 3rd  one ( roses, of course !) which Cikgu Zaleha wants to put on both entrances of  her shop.    This is not a window panel but an actual door of  a dismantled  kampung house.... will put it up when I finish it soon.................

Granny's Wooden Washboard !

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22 April 2010










Would you believe it if I told you that I was asked to paint on the old fashioned wooden washboards that our mothers used to wash cloth with ?

Decorative painting has sure made us all go back 50 years in time.  Now anything old and wooden or metal is fair game for painting.......   I actually quite like to work on such items because it gives a certain charm and grace and an authentic look.  More like shabby chic, which I really really like.. My customers are really going out of their way when they go back to their hometowns to bring back all manner of items they could find in their ' kampungs'. 

Just to prove my point, Miss ML  who travelled back to her hometown not too long ago, brought back  a really really grimy  old kettle which had not been used , like for 20 years, and told me to do 'something' with it.  Oh my God !, it had cobwebs inside it too.... honestly.    Am I supposed to wash the kettle too ?  I'm really lost for words  now .........  I was just caught off guard and  am a bit slow to react to situations like this...... (  sigh,  so stupid  la  I am sometimes  ........ ) .  Anyway, I took it in good faith and gave it a good scrub with the whole works.   Unfortunately, the handle came  off while cleaning,  ( I told you that it was that old ) and I dutifully kept it to show Miss ML before I could proceed further.

Now I have been given  3 wooden door frames.  I'm not joking when I say that all three wooden window/door frames have been infested with ant and termite road maps ,  rusty hinges and caked with dirt....you get my picture ?   Suffice to say that I'm a bit smarter now and am going to charge them for the cleaning up process too. 

Do you think I'm being difficult ? 

The Water Canteen

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20 April 2010




Another day, another  request ..... for another rose,....  I'm going to scream now,  so forgive me for this short update......................................

The Chest versus The Chest

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Saturday, 17 April 2010











The chest on the top left  with the above painted picture was given to me some weeks ago.  I am not aware of who the artist is nor am I interested in knowing the identity of the artist.  The only comment I would make is that the artist did not know what she was doing.

When the chest reached me, I was somewhat taken aback .  I couldn't identify the two flowers on the top left of the floral arrangement and the whole thing looked simply flat, to put it mildly.  The  unsatisfied and quite critical owner wanted me to do as much re-touching and re-painting as I could.  Obviously, it  would have been a lot easier and better if  I could re-paint the whole thing but I was not instructed otherwise.  

Anyway, I did what I could  without messing up too much of  the original artists handwork  and put in lots of highlights and shadings . Some of the petals were simply too out of sync and I managed to add in some details to give it some semblance of a rose.

I just wish that the artist who did this had learnt a little bit more before doing it for others , which makes me note that  sometimes customers can be penny wise and  pound foolish too..........

The Hydrangea Hippies N Rose Crazies

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15 April 2010















It's either roses, roses and more roses or hydrangeas, hydrangeas and more hydrangeas.  Most of my decorative painting  friends and customers love to surround themselves with either roses or hydrangeas.  It sure beats the lights out of  me. ... or  maybe I'm missing something ?.  Yup !  I sure am.

Over the last 10 days, I was full time into painting these flowers  over all kinds of  kitchen utensils  and garden items.  Now, I can chat  over  the phone, watch TV and at the same time  continue to paint them .................simultaneously.................... now,   how's that for efficiency  ? !!!  There are several more painted ones... but . I think the above 3 pictures are sufficient  proof.........


The last picture shown above  has Jo Sonja's Claret  Rose Basecoat  as a background   colour,  The border was trimmed with gold which I thought  it the most attractive in terms of colour contrast..... . My student, Shanti,  was so mesmerised by the hydrangeas that she promptly  dedicated it to her husband, Sreeramalu.  Shanti now wants to do the same for her two daughters  too ..

What  more can I say ?

The Hindu New Year n Vaisakhi Punjabi New Year

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14 April 2010



My daughter, Shireen Thangam Nair to my right and my son Benedict Arvind Nair to my left.

Today is a really  auspicious day and so I thought it good to share my family picture with my readers.
Here's wishing all Hindus / Sikhs and all of humanity   a Very Very Happy New Year. 


Today is a day of great celebration by Hindus and Punjabis all over the world for it marks the arrival of the New Year.  All temples and Gurdwaras ( Sikh temples) all over the world will be having special prayers and all of them will serve a wide variety of vegetarian food, the whole banana leaf  works .....  The food served must have all the different flavours of sweetness, sour, salty, bitter, spicy hot, etc.,  etc ., symbolising  the vagaries of life. By the way, you start and end the meal with something sweet.

First on the banana leaf will be the staple grain of Asians - rice, followed by 5 to 6 kinds of vegetables, then dhall curry,  papadams  thick yoghurt,   "vadai" , ( the doughnut shaped savoury cake made from black gram) with payasam ( a sweet dish made with a mixture of milk, sago, green peas, brown sugar, cashew nuts and raisins  which is served in a glass/tumbler to finish off as desert.. Ever head of a sweetmeat called ' laddu '  ?  It's the yellow round ball like sweetmeat you can find in any Indian eaterie worth their salt.   That's a definite must.  So is ' halva, barfi,  jelebi ' , etc.  These are extremely extremely sweet stuff which is served on all auspicious occasions, all made from mountains of sugar and gallons of milk.  Now you know why Indians are top on the diabetes list  ! !

Mustn't forget the rasam ( mulligawtawny soup was a reproduction of the Indian soup, rasam, by the British. It is basically a soupy drink  made with cumin, anise seeds, black pepper, garlic, ginger, etc to aid in the  digestion after a hearty and heavy meal such as this )  Seriously, you really need to drink the rasam, otherwise, you will , in all probability,  have indigestion  with the amount of food served !    

If you count the number of dishes served, it would be around 10 or so.Thus, most of us who don't eat a 10 course meal daily, will struggle to keep our eyes open during the afternoon and so  a short siesta  is the order of the day.

Similarly, the Punjabis would serve  rice pilaf, chappatis, puris,  dhalls, vegetable dishes and of course, the sickly sweet sugary stuff I wrote above. 

Temple visit is a must as it is where the yearly almanac will be read and a short discourse on the astrological chart of the 12 zodiac signs will be explained.  An astrological prediction of the highlights and major happenings of the year will also  be foretold,  much akin to the Chinese New Year .

Everyone, regardless of  their ethnicity, colour, creed, race, religion, etc, etc, is warmly welcomed to go to any  of the temples or gurdwaras.  During my younger working days of  yonder, I used to take my friends of all races to such sumptious feast.  The  serving of food was done in the great dining halls/ areas , away  from the temple sanctum santorium, so as to respect each others religious beliefs.   Nowadays, most of us don't know or bother to understand nor  learn   the cultural and religious  obligations  of others , much less take part in the many celebrations of each of the varied communities living together in our great country.   

But then again, times are a changing, and the ever optimist that I  am,  we will get to know each other better,  a bit slow perhaps but nevertheless, a start has been made... As George Burns said, " I look to the future because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life ".

Rashidah , The Rose Terrorist

Posted by Lakshmi
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10 Saturday 2010

I recently had the pleasure of visiting my art friend, Rashidah, at her  home, in Subang Jaya.  As usual, my driving directions were a disaster and I had to constantly call her to take in the bearings. 


But what a sight greeted me.Oh my God, it was a beautiful painted house,for sure.  !  I was completely bowled over  and had to sit down to catch my breath.  Such beautiful works of art...... all over the walls.  It was like being in Alice in Wonderland .  The benches were covered in roses, the walls were adorned with her beautiful paintings and even her kitchen sideboard was specially made to order, painted a beautiful wedgewood green, I think, and covered with  creamy roses, all hand painted,of course.. of course.... 

Her bread bin was, oh!, so pretty with strawberries and scones.  If I had my way, I would have  run off with it, but unfortunately, the Thomas Kinkaide painting on the other wall took my breath  away and then, just when I thought that I was going to faint, I saw  Annette Stevenson's rose in a  picture frame with a beautiful crackled effect.  This time, I wanted to clobber her for good.   I was almost in a dizzy with a tizzy .  I just plonked on the dining chair, unable to stand any longer. What an inspiration, you are, Rashidah.  I'm now inspired to paint more. It goes without saying that one day soon, Rashidah , when you find your picture frame and bread box missing from its place,  you'll know where to find them ya, ......!!

   Of course, I couldn't have left the house without going crazy click-clicking away with my camera .  Would u believe it if I said that even my camera had not enough energy to snap up all the pics,  I'm pretty sure I put in new batteries.... even they succumbed to Rashidah's beautiful handiworks, me thinks !!

I left Rashidah's house reluctantly,  and inspite of taking directions from her, I  first drove into a dead end and then took a wrong turn and ended up paying toll twice on the SILK road to Bandar Puteri Puchong and was on the way to Kajang.!.  Aiyoo!!,   what a terrible way to come down to earth after floating in Rashidah's house....................

And to make matters worse, every  night now, I'm agonising over the pictures and torturing myself thinking when I'm going to paint one like hers.   Rashidah, Oh Rashidah , sakit kepala la  I  !!!!!  ( you've caused me a headache !)

Ps: I have yet to learn how to download the pics myself so I am at the mercy of my daughter to put it up, hence the lack of any now.  Soon........

Sue's Large Picnic Basket with Summer Posies

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7 April 2010


I think the title says it all.   It's a  large picnic basket and Sue wanted it with colourful roses and tulip and daises.  This is my own arrangement of a summer posy with  lace at the sides.  The gold rimmed edges gives it a sharp contrast and  helps bring out  the shape of the picnic basket. 

It makes a pretty gift box for sure





Hi Sue, please don't forget to call me for the picnic ......................

Easter Celebrations

Posted by Lakshmi
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 4 April 2010


Today is Easter and Christians all over the world celebrate Easter in a grand manner, with  Easter chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs.  Since I believe in one God Almighty, I celebrate Easter too. It great, isn't it, to be able to celebrate so many occasions ? Since I studied in St Anne's Convent in Port Klang (the old name was Port Swettenham )  during my primary school years, I 'm quite familiar with their prayers, although at that time, I just learnt it by rote and said it by rote too, without knowing what I was saying.  My parents, although  they were conservative Hindus, believed  in the same philosophy , that all roads lead to Rome.  On hindsight, I think the Good Lord knew I would be marrying a Christian  and so in His wisdom, prepared me for the future...! 

The 40 days before Easter is called Lent and Christians are to refrain from eating meat during Lent.  The last friday of the 40 days is called Good Friday and the last sunday of the 40 days of Lent is Easter Sunday when  meat is allowed.  Sounds familar to other religions, right? So you see, in the end we all belong and believe in the same One, only the paths are different.

Today's Easter lunch will be no different from last year or the year before or the year before...................  The table will be groaning with food, food and more food and a bottle of the best wine would be opened.  My contribution this year to the groaning table is  spicy and dry marsala mutton and sugee cake.  I haven't taken breakfast because I can't do justice to the lunch spread so I'm keeping myself occupied with my hands typing this  instead of my mouth ! 

I've just fed the birds and the really fat guinea pig which my son calls Fido and as I am typing, I can hear the sweet chirpings and whistlings  of the birds on the accacia tree in my garden. 

It's a wonderful world, isn't it?  

 

Lakshmi

The Completed Blue and White Teddies

Posted by Lakshmi
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31   March 2010

This is the  set of 6 teddies which I was given to paint in the Blue and White series for quiltmaking.  They are so adorable looking and really cute to boot.  Wish I had these when I was a kid. 





The fabric was  100% cotton , so it was a breeze to do these.  I'm now quite adept at painting on fabric and the  best part of it is it gently nudges memories of my  childhood during the 1960s and  70's.  Often,  I'd stop after each session,  peek into one of  the  yellowed and dog-eared  Enid Blyton's books lying about ( yes, I still have them ) and  read 1 or 2 of the adventures, one of which was - The Tower of Ho-Ho Wood which was about Mary Ann and Mary Jane and the other was The Enchanted Gloves - about 2   brownies,  Ho Ho and Higgledy and the nasty wizard Long Beard...................

Don't we all need a break .......and time to chill off..................?