3rd Portrait Swap at WetCanvas

7th Annual Portrait Swap is underway over at WetCanvas.   The deadline for signing up was the end of October.  And once that passed, the admins paired up folks randomly and you got a partner to exchange photo references, paint and swap portraits with.  The work this year and feedback has been of a high standard.  This link will take you to the fabulous work in their various stages on display in this thread.

My partner on this adventure is Max and you can see his take on me on his blog, Silver and the Birds.  He’s done a fabulous job and soon it will be winging its way to sunny Colombo!

Here’s where I’m at today on his portrait.   I had great refs to work with.

wip 6

And I’m almost done.  I’ll put in some more work on the hair, sweatshirt and background over the next few days.  Below are some progress shots so that you can see what it went through to get here.

KMP 55/100wip 2
wip 3wip 4


I’m back & the Dhamrai Rath Yatra

It’s been a long break.  I have been around and looking in but things have been moving at a hectic pace.  Since the last post, I’ve had a solo exhibition, a holiday, a finished SoFoBoMo project, rounds of farewell parties for friends and for us as we move next month to Colombo. I’m back and will be posting regularly again.

Dhamrai Rath

Yesterday we went to Dhamrai to watch the Jaganath Rath Yatra.   It is 20km from Dhaka yet it took us two and half hours to get there.  Unfortunately, we were not able to stay to watch the event as I had a dinner engagement.  But we did get to see the Rath (chariot) and the crowds had started coming in and was building up as we were leaving.

Dhamrai Rath Yatra

I was told that eventually there were huge numbers and no place to move.  People after filling the street were lining  terraces, balconies and roofs of the buildings along the route too.  In a way it was better that we left when we did as else we’d never have made it back home in time.

Dhamrai Rath Yatra

There was what seemed like a lot of  police bandobast when we first got there but in all made sense when were heading back and after seeing the pics from last year here.

There are stories and stories built around this event and once such is that it rains on this day every year – tears shed by Madhavi returning to her in-laws home and it did this year too!  You wouldn’t have believed it if you’d felt the heat and seen the sunny skies in the morning.  It was nice and slushy when we got there but the puddles dried up quickly in the heat.

Dhamrai Rath Yatra

Dhamrai is famous for it’s temples, old houses and bronze sculptures, made using a rare process – the lost wax casting technique.  It also has an annual Rath Yatra, a procession in which a chariot takes Lord Jaganath (Krishna), his brother Balaram and his sister Shubhadra to visit his aunt who lived a distance of 2km away.

Dhamrai Rath Yatra

Dhamrai Rath Yatra

Dhamrai Rath Yatra

The chariot is pulled by devotees as it is considered to be very auspicious.   There are huge crowds and many brave these to get closer and at least touch one of the ropes that are pulling the chariot if not actually taking a turn at pulling it themselves. In earlier years, people would arrive a few days before and there would be a fair to keep them busy. This year there were just a few and they were waiting inside the temple for the event to start and some had knotted hair and dreadlocks!

Dhamrai Rath Yatra
Dhamrai Rath Yatra Dhamrai Rath Yatra

Originally there was a 6 storied wooden chariot to take the deities on this journey but this was burnt down in 1971.  It was replaced by another smaller two storied chariot soon after.  While this one is not as elaborate the crowds still gather in unbelievable numbers to be a part of this occasion.

And if you didn’t know, the word juggernaut is derived from the name of this event. In the past, the crowds pulling the chariot and the devotees trying to reach out and volunteer to pull the chariot led to some accidentally falling under the wheels and being crushed to death. Once the wheels were in motion and these 6 storied high heavy wooden chariots pulled by hundreds of people it was difficult to stop them in time. Sometimes these events resulted in stampedes which again were difficult to stop or control. This led the British to coin the word juggernaut, an unstoppable force.

More from wikipedia about the Rath Yatra and on the word juggernaut.   And you can read more about the Dhamrai event and see the pictures of the huge crowds here.    And you can see a selection of about 30 from the 400(!) I clicked on flickr.

Once more with feeling

Portrait swap

Update : November 23, 2007 : Worked some more on the portrait today.  Still very much a limited palette.  Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue ( used by mistake 😛 ) Yellow Ochre, Titanium White and a teeny weeny bit of Sap Green.  And oh I did use and equally tiny amount of cadmium red medium.

Portrait Swap 2 Portrait Swap 2

November 21, 2007 : I am making very slow progress on the WetCanvas Annual Portrait swap project. Incredible portraits have been started, finished and are in the process of being mailed out. If you want a treat go and have a look.

I’m one of the few in the group still stuck in the early stages. The 10″ by 12″ canvas board proved to be too small. I was waiting for my husband to return with some larger canvas boards [ i always have an excuse 😛 ]. Giving it another go on one that is 12″ by 16″.

The first layer was drawn using burnt sienna thinned down with turpentine. Today, I added in some white and burnt umber to separate out the light and dark areas. I’ve managed to shorten the length of the face a bit today but it needs to be shortened some more and the features need to be reworked. Leaving that for tomorrow night. 😀