The year was 2007– My husband was away in the USA for a month. My daughter was just about a year and my son about 5. In a car with my friend Pari and my daughter in my arms, we stopped to buy kettles for a camping trip for Pari’s family. I kept one. Got home and decided to paint it.
I digress here for a bit. My father, an ex – Indian Air force Pilot spent two years in Uttarlai/ Barmer when I was in college and I used to visit him from Delhi. I fell in love with the land and it’s people. The colors and the men. I was in heaven. I don’t think there is even one Rajasthani man I saw on the dunes, in the bazaar, behind shop counters that I did not think was handsome. Their leathery weather beaten faces were so charismatic. And where I used to doodle the side profile of a woman’s face growing up, I added a Rajasthani man’s profile. These two are sub conscious to me now. I could draw them with my eyes closed. Actually as an experiment I did, and I can- with my eyes closed 🙂
So that is what I drew on that first kettle. Since the kettle was small, the two faces were close. And they looked like they were about to kiss. Now I am a very demonstrative person to those close to me. And I kind of liked the concept of the kettle. My friends who saw it loved it. They teased me that I was missing my husband too much which is why the reference to a kiss. So the next step was to add cheesy hearts to it. I shared it with my husband over Skype and the friends he was staying with saw it too…. they loved it.
Of course there was major learning in there- because I painted it directly with acrylic paints on to the metal. And then noticed it getting scratched off easily… So I scratched off the whole thing and first applied a coat of primer and then repainted the whole thing. Painful. Laborious but big learning.
Then to be extra careful I lacquered the whole thing. Loved it. It suddenly looked like a finished piece. And I was hooked. Three days later was another trip to the market and this time I bought a post box. That story is in the next post.
When I see images of this first kettle and compare it to what I do now, I can see the growth and refinement in my work today. But there is still distance to go. That will probably be the case till the day I die. New learning, relearning and refining my craft.