Category Archives: India Residency

Manali Mountains (India 4 of 5)

Manali 1

Manali 13   cow   Manali 10   Manali House   Manali drawing   Manali Mountain 2Manali 12   Manali 9   Manali 7   Manali 6   Manali 5   Manali 3              

Teaching at IIFA (India 3 of 5)

As part of our residency we would be teaching at the International Institute of fine Arts in Modinagar. We mainly taught in the large foundation department and BA painting. We also established an open class that students from all departments could attend.

Here are some of the classes we taught.

Foundation 4 

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We taught our first foundation class in the lecture theater. The aim of the class was to get the students used to identifying the main shapes when drawing a group of figures. The idea was for them to  try and capture the group as one main shape. It was also great to get the students modeling for each other.

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Class on perspective with Foundation year. Drawing the figure at different distances. Relating the figure to the space and each other, populating the paper with multiple figures.

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Class on Tone. Different approaches to working in tone.

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Still life structure. Looking at tone and  shape. Getting the students to Simplifying the complicated forms.

Painting 6  Painting 5  Monkey IIFA  Painting 3  Painting 2  Painting 1
Working with multiple references to compose a picture. The students gathered information from plants outside the school. They experimented with ink, using a rang of tools. The ideas were then composed onto a page before figures were added. (Spot the monkey that thinks ink is a tasty treat).

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Class on imagination and composition. The students used our installation as a reference point to create imaginary landscapes using a range of materials.

exploded chimneyIIFA is located in part of the old textile factory and is surrounded by abandoned factory buildings that are slowly crumbling and overtaken by nature. The area directly outside the Institute is utilised by the students to draw and paint from, including this exploded chimney.

Living in Modinagar (India 2 of 5)

We left Delhi after a few days for Modinagar. It took 2 hours to reach the town that would be our base for the next 2 months.

We would be staying on the ancestral home of the Modi family who developed Modinagar from a sugar and textile factory. The center of the town is the main busy road road. Large trucks, auto rickshaws, bicycles, and carts pulled by buffalo and horses all weaving in and out of each other. The beeping of horns would never stop.Buffalo, sugar cain Modinagar

The house we were staying in was more like a hotel. Built in the 1930’s the house had been extended to accommodate the large family. Covered in petal leaf concrete wall blocks which had become a playground for monkeys and squirrels. There was also a great view of the Sugar factory next door.

20131130_083437  20131130_083453  20131206_100705 20131206_100521  Monkey modi  Monkey20131103_173935  Sugar Factory  Modinagar Road  

We where lucky enough to be in Modinagar for Diwali. The whole town was lit up with lights hanging down from buildings and fireworks going off down every street. I could see why people were warning us not to go out onto the streets. Firecrackers were being thrown in different directions including under cars. It was a brilliant atmosphere, everyone had come together with there families to celebrate. We watched from the roof which the monkeys seamed to have vacated for the evening.

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Guard Monkey
The Monkeys took a while to get used to. We were warned not to make eye contact or to go out into the garden without a stick. This is the guard Monkey. He is a different species from the other monkeys with massive teeth. He travels around to different houses on the back of a bicycle to scare of the other monkeys. The monkeys were intimidating at first but after a while you just learnt to ignore them so they would ignore you. I still made sure I had a stick on me when drawing on the roof just in case.

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Before I got to India I was thinking about whether I would be inspired to start using colour in my work. When I reached Modinagar however I was met by countless industrial structures to fire my imagination. The muted colours and silhouetted structures were  ideal source material for my drawings.

compressed charcoal drawing on somerset paper, 2013Modi Bahwan, compressed charcoal on somerset paper, 2013

compressed charcoal in sketch book
Compressed charcoal drawing in sketch book



First Days in Delhi (India 1 of 5)

I was given the opportunity to travel to Delhi, India for a 2 month artist’s residency until December 2013 with 3 other Alumni from The Prince’s Drawing School. This included a teaching position at the International Institute of Fine Arts in Modinagar (2 hours outside of Delhi) as well as travelling to Manali which is on the tip of the Himalayas. This is the first of five posts documenting my experiences.

From Day 1
We arrived in Delhi International airport on the 29th October. A driver picked us up and we were taken straight to Sanskriti where we would be taking turns to use the studio space. Through the car window I could see dusty roadsides where people had built structures to live and sell things from as well as businesses selling bamboo ladders and brightly painted pots. The number of different types of vehicles I could see was also a major difference with additions of auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and bicycles carrying giant loads of sacks or metal rods sticking out far behind them.

Sanskriti was a oasis of calm. It has museums and artists’ studios set in a beautiful garden which is constantly being changed and improved upon.  There are three museums on site which spill out onto the garden, The Museums of Everyday Art, Indian Terracotta and Textiles. Sanskriti was a great place to meet and talk to other artists and exchange information about Delhi and India.

Sanskriti 5

Sanskriti 91   Sanskriti 9   Sanskriti 11 Sanskriti 10   Sanskriti 8   Sanskreeti 2  Sanskriti 6   Sanskreeti   Sanskriti 7         

On our first day we walked along the main road from Sanskriti to Arjangarh metro station on the yellow line. On the way I saw my first cow hanging out at the edge of the road.

Cow Delhi

The metro in Delhi is clean and efficient. No alcohol is allowed into the station and there are scanners at the entrance where bags and people are scanned. There are also two carriages at the front of every train just for woman. I don’t really agree with this system as it encourages segregation but you could almost always get a seat in these carriages.

We first got off at Rajiv Chowk and experienced our first scam of the trip. A lot of auto rickshaw drivers want to take you to bazaars where they receive commission for bringing you. The auto driver told us that Jantar Mantar where we were heading was closed because of a political rally and the market next it that we wanted to go to had closed down. They wanted to take us to a bazaar instead. We insisted that they take us anyway and found both were there and open.

Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural structures set in a quiet garden. The buildings are astronomical instruments built in 1700′s. I found it a bit strange to look at real structures that could have been invented by myself in my drawings.

Janter Mantar 3  Janter Manta 2r  Janter Mantar

We walked back towards Connaught Place to the National Museum of Modern Art along what I think was Janpath Market. We managed to get an entourage of people trying to sell us stuff including one selling a drum and another a whip. We were shown around Delhi on this day by Australian artist David Rossiter who introduced us to a girl selling beads he had drawn a portrait of on a previous visit. You can see his portraits entitled All Star Cast here

Our next aim was to reach Purana Quila which is an old fort although we accidentally stumbled upon another ancient monument on the way. Masjid Khairul Manzil is an old mosque still in use although the outer walls are no longer fully intact. It seemed to be guarded by two cats who met us at the entrance.

20131030_152938Our next aim was to reach Purana Quila which is an old fort although we accidentally stumbled upon another ancient monument on the way. Masjid Khairul Manzil is an old mosque still in use although the outer walls are no longer  fully intact. It seemed to be guarded by two cats who met us at the entrance.

Purana Quila 2  
Purana Quila wall  Purana Quila Bricks

Purana Quila is an old fort, parts of it are in a crumbling state with whole sections missing. I love seeing through the structure of a building in this way. I felt as though I was banking information for later use. Parts of the brickwork had disintegrated before the mortar.

6 of us piled into an electric auto rickshaw back to a metro station. These are a new thing in Delhi and the normal auto’s seam to have a grudge against them. With 6 of us piled in it was incredibly slow going. A girl started dancing to a drum at the traffic lights. This is apparently a common routine for young girls to dance with a ring. The finally is for them to dislocate there arms so that they can fit through it.

Bookshop DelhiDelhi RickshawThe next day we headed to the old Delhi Bazaars. I felt far more relaxed in this chaotic mishmash of stalls down winding streets where less people seemed to take any notice of us. The bazaars are separated into different areas of specialities including cloth and car parts and paper. We went to the paper section were we bought sketchbooks for 90p each. This was a place I definitely wanted to come back to and explore further. It was difficult to walk down the main streets in this area. Cycle rickshaws and  people carrying huge loads going back and forth as well as motorbikes beeping you from behind. The noise of beeping never seams to let up in any part of India.

India Residency

I have been given the opportunity to travel to India of a 2 month teaching residency at the International Institute of Fine Arts in Modinagar (40 miles outside Delhi) along with 3 other tutors . This is part of the Prince’s Drawing Schools Alumni Programme. I will be teaching drawing to foundation and degree level art students as well as working on my own artwork at a studio based in Delhi from November to the end of December.

I have been settling into living in Modinagar and teaching at IIFA. The house we are living in in Modinagar is the ancestrial home of the Modi family. It is a large house with several wings built in the 1930s. Most of the house is not in use so we have the large grand rooms to our selves.

The garden and roof tops in and around the house are full of monkeys. They are the main hazard when drawing outside and we are told not to make eye contact, so I have been getting used to ignoring them.

Monkey modi   Modi House

20131105_172234Drawing of Modi House, Charcoal pencil on Somerset Paper


The house is next to the sugar factory and the school were I am teaching is part of the disused textile factory. We were lucky enough to get a tour of the disused textile factory which is now a playground for monkeys.

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Slide show: Factory Tour

Time seems to do odd things here and speed up and slow down in a strange way. So the month left here will be both a long and short time.