Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gathering Shapes at Hampi

When I look at this image that I've created after my return from Hampi, I cannot help thinking how comical it is and yet so reassuring at the same time. This is my interpretation of Hampi; reassuring in its simplicity and unpretentiousness and yet simultaneously comical in the strange vibe it gives off, thanks to the kind of people who flock to the land and inhabit it - gaudily dressed hippies and English speaking villagers who intersperse its giant boulders. I had the option to either immerse myself in hippiedom or in natural surroundings. I chose the latter which is why the picture above is sans hippie.

My first visit to Hampi was over 10 years ago when it was far less touristy and when thanks to the kindness of a villager, for some fifty rupees I was taken to see all the many monuments of Hampi off the beaten track known only to locals and given one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.
This time however, I was very clear that I wanted to relax and take a total break after hurtling from deadline to deadline for nearly the entire year and to resuscitate my brains which had been frying over the internet way too long. I did exactly that, and Hampi was the perfect place with its 'chill-out joints', natural beauty and laid back atmosphere.
I didn't take too make photographs, I didn't anxiously try to create magnificent drawings in my sketchbook, I simply ate, slept, took long walks, finished a storybook, explored shapes in my drawings and drank lots of masala chai. It was wonderful.
Here are some pictures that I'd like to share with you all -

The sweet smell of exhaled pot-fumes and lolling hippies finally calmed my anxious city-girl nerves at the Laughing Buddha, where I drew Matanga Hill while eating a delicious wood-fired pizza.

Day 2, I grudgingly clambered over to Achutaraya temple and stuffed up many attempts to capture its shape in my sketchbook. Then I got up and explored the beautiful landscape further, breathed freely in open space, drew some more and caught the last ferry back across the river.

The final day, I simply drank lots of masala chai, finished my book, swayed gently to sleep on the hammock and took leisurely walks along the river. The only tangible things I brought back with me were my drawings and these beautiful stones that I found along the banks of the Tungabadra. What better treasures could any traveller carry back?

While processing my visit on my return, I remembered that I had chanced on an unusual 45-degree angle of Virupaksha temple which I had happened to glance up at while returning to the ferry in the late afternoon sun. A dark jagged curve climbed up against the sky along the left side of the temple and seared downwards in a dark trail across the centre. I drew it at home in my large Moleskine sketchbook with graphite and pastel.

Later I reminisced about the things I saw to another artist who had visited Hampi earlier. "The shapes at Hampi are different from the shapes in Bangalore" I said. My listener knew exactly what I meant. Ultimately I think that is what we artists do, gather shapes and collect them within the pages of sketchbooks. And then sometimes we interpret them in our pictures. That is what we live for.

The Journey


ArtPropelled said...

What better treasures indeed. Thanks for sharing your peaceful sojourn, Priya.Your sketch of the temple looks mystical.

pRiyA said...

A lot of appreciation and inspiration for using natural forms in my drawings comes from looking at some of the incredibly beautiful art you feature for us on your blog Robyn.

Priyanka S said...

While it's wonderful to glimpse your illustrations and sketches on a regular basis, I particularly loved reading their intersection with your travels and experiences of a place, as you have done so in this post. How evocatively you have bottled Hampi both in the blogspace as well as your sketchbooks - the fitting and final touch were those pebbles...

It has definitely inspired me to be more creative and thoughtful about how to preserve memories of wonderful trips!

Wishing you many happy journeys for the year ahead:)

pRiyA said...

Thank you for your thoughtfully worded comment Priyanka. I appreciate that you have taken the time to look through my post and write what it means to you.
You too preserve beautiful memories of your travels, in a different manner from me perhaps, but they come across most evocatively in the pictures and words which you share with us in your blog.

Rod MacGregor said...

I love these rock drawings..but..I admire your style in everything!! The large image of Hampi reminds me of the work of Terry Gilliam..the great animator for Monty you has a comical side.

pRiyA said...

Thank you for saying such nice things on my blog Rod!
I wasn't acquainted with the work of Terry Gilliam but I did Google his name after you mentioned it. On first browse, his work is certainly comical but they also have a lot of bite.

zoe said...

what a beautiful post!! the drawing of the temple is so striking, with its angle and brushes of yellow, and i love that stone! the little pebbles are perfect, too.