Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Image: Krishna and His Mother

Today I want to share with you an image of the tender loving gaze between the child Krishna and his mother, Yashoda. Krishna was a mischievous child; however, in the eyes of his mother he could do no wrong. Their tender gaze transcends culture and tradition, and speaks of universal love...

I made this image during a 4-week apprenticeship at the studio of Babu Lal Marotia, a famous painter of Indian miniatures, during my trip to Jaipur, India in the summer of 2007. Sri Babu Lal was so warm and kind to me, and I'm very grateful to him and his family for inviting me into their home. I remember my time in Babu Lal's little rooftop studio among the impossibly narrow streets of the old town of the Pink City, seated between him and two of his relatives as they worked meticulously on miniatures destined for national or international exhibitions ... or the eager hands of tourists perusing the art stalls in Jaipur's City Palace. The process Babu Lal uses is the exact same one that artists in Jaipur and other parts of Rajasthan used during the lucrative art trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. First, pigments are carefully ground by hand from stones collected in the surrounding hills. When a painting is complete, one of Babu Lal's relatives cuts and applies a tissue-thin layer of gold leaf to such elements as jewellery and crowns (as he generously did in my painting). Jaipur has been a major centre for miniature painting and visual art since at least the eighteenth century. Sri Babu Lal is one of the city's great artists who lovingly keeps the tradition of Indian miniature painting very much alive in the twenty-first century.

To see more work from the studio of Babu Lal Marotia, click here and here.

Here is the full painting (still unfinished in parts) that I created during my 4 weeks with Babu Lal:

And finally, here is a painting by Babu Lal himself of Lord Krishna (a little older) and Sri Radha, Krishna's consort, which Babu Lal generously gave to me at the end of my summer with him. Thank you Babu Lal! Blessings to you and your family.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Drawn Portraits of Writers and Celebrities - Welcome to Sketchzebra.com!

People often tell me, "Tom, I love your sketch portraits of writers, artists, politicians and other celebrities... you should devote a separate blog to them." Well friends, I'm really happy to announce that my new blog "Sketch Zebra: Drawn Portraits by Tom Pokinko" is up and running at www.sketchzebra.com! I urge you ALL to check it out and throw your support behind it by following it as well. And don't worry, there's plenty of reason to keep coming back since I'll be posting a new drawn portrait every Monday! That's a new philosopher, writer, artist, musician, poet, politician... or someone else (currently accepting requests!) every week :)

Sketchzebra also has a web store where you can buy my portraits as fine art quality prints (framed and unframed) as well as prints on stretched canvas... all for VERY affordable prices! Why not support the arts and buy a perfect one-of-a-kind gift for yourself or your loved ones and friends? Ideal for the book lovers, musicians, political pundits and philosophers in your lives! Take a look by clicking the "Sketchzebra store" link on the top right of the www.sketchzebra.com ..... or just click HERE to go directly to the store!

Some examples of framed prints available at the Sketchzebra store:

Sheila Watson (writer)

Michael Jackson (musician)

Leonard Cohen (poet, musician)

Don Draper (TV character played by Jon Hamm)

Jeffrey Eugenides (writer)

Albert Einstein (scientist)

Lester Young (musician)

Jurgen Habermas (philosopher)
Thanks guys! Hope to see you there sometime! Remember... "follow the black and white" each Monday for a new drawn portrait! :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Leonard Cohen's "Old Ideas" Brings the Down-to-Earth Artist Ever Closer to the Divine

(My tribute to Leonard Cohen. Click to enlarge)

As you may know, venerable Canadian singer/songwriter/novelist/poet Leonard Cohen has just released his first new studio album in 8 years. It is called "Old Ideas." I bought it this morning and have had a chance to listen to it over a cup of coffee as the beautiful snow is falling outside here in Ottawa. In something of a departure for this blog up to this point, I just have to share my thoughts with you (and more importantly some of Cohen's new poetry) in this impromptu review of this wonderful album ...

I have been a fan of Leonard's work for many years, having first discovered it in the form of an old Best Of tape (yes - a casette!) back in the mid 1990's. A few years ago, I had the privilege of seeing Leonard perform live in his hometown of Montreal, Canada. That experience was one of the highlights of my time living in that great city! Having explored his back catalogue of recordings as well as his published poems and novels, I feel more certain than ever that he is one of the world's most important artistic voices. A brilliant poet, an earnest spiritual seeker, and a true gentleman ... what more can you ask for?

Perhaps another album from 77 year-old Mr. Cohen? Yes, please, if it's not too much trouble! Apparently it's not since Cohen, fresh off a tour that lasted over two years (!), is said to have completed this album in mere months. As far as first impressions go, I think this may be one of Cohen's strongest collections poetically in two decades.