Thursday, January 12, 2012

Studio Visit (Backtracking a bit)

On New Years Day, a group of us staying at my hosts’ home were invited to visit the studio of Suchinder Pingley on the outskirts of Mysore. Although he said it was “close”, it seemed we ventured quite far out into the countryside. Our driver had to stop repeatedly to negotiate ruts in the road. There were very few other cars, but occasional bullock carts and people of foot who regarded us with curiosity.

Suchinder’s studio, which he designed himself, is brand new, simple, spacious and elegant. Best, it is nearly empty, free of clutter, emanating stillness. He showed us an amazing watercolor he had just completed after a month of work. It is a miniature and exact examplar of characters from 19th century India, both native and British, rendered in sepias. I love that he works on a tiny glass table inches off the polished stone floor, where he sits by the window.

Suchinder made us delicious lemongrass tea, collecting the plant to steep just outside his door, and we sat on the floor and looked at photographs of previous work, each one of them in a private collection.

a small library sitting room off the main studio

Franck Bartholemy with Suchinder Pingley perusing an anthology of Indian artists

Outside, he showed us his banana plantation and a number of single fruit trees he planted in the red, red soil of this region. The banana trees grow incredibly fast, producing a new crop of fruit every six months. The large leaves make a soft whirring sound in the breeze.

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