Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rembrandt's Night Watch at Rijksmuseum Netherlands by Arun Shanbhag
For as long as I can remember, a visit to the Rijksmuseum was on my short list. For nearly a decade, it was closed for renovations. When it reopened a few years ago we started planning a long trip. We planned an entire day for the Rijksmuseum. Nothing else would do it justice.
Continue reading “Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam”

Venkateshwara Temple Coloring Pages

Ganesh Coloring Book
Nearly twenty years ago, I had picked up this free coloring book from the Sri Venkateshwara Temple in Pittsburgh, PA. It lay unused till I found it a few weeks ago. I am sharing here all the scanned pages, so you all can enjoy the sublime joy of coloring.

Download the PDF of SVT Coloring Book.

Coloring Books IS the new rage for grown-up gifts. Over the last year I have received beautiful coloring books, as well as collections of drawing pencils, pastels, gel pens and fine sketching markers. Oh, what joy! Give it a try and please share your works.

Consider perusing this Tirupati: A Walk Enlightens

Shriyah kāntāy kalyān nidhaye nidhayérthinām
Shri Venkatanivāsāy Shrīnivāsāy mangalam

Notes – Why does Anish Kapoor support delinquent NGOs

Saw an article in the Guardian by Anish Kapoor about “India being ruled by a Hindu Taliban.” In the article he mentions with great angst,

Nine thousand NGOs have been “de-registered” in a concerted effort to force out these “nuisance” groups … (quotation marks are from the article)

Every time I see a number being tossed around, I like to understand what the denominator is. That is, how many total NGOs are there in India, and what percentage do these 9,000 represent. Continue reading “Notes – Why does Anish Kapoor support delinquent NGOs”

Meera at the Harvard Art Museum

pictures from the Harvard Art Museum Cambridge by Arun Shanbhag

For many years, Harvard’s Fogg Museum showcasing a beautiful collection of 19th century French and American art, was one of my favorite past-times in Boston. Harvard also hosted a unique Degas at Harvard exhibition – Degas: Of Dancers and Bathers. A few years ago, Harvard undertook a major renovation of the Fogg Museum, expanded it, and brought together collections from the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Arthur Sackler Museum and Fogg Museum. This was my first visit to the renovated and renamed Harvard Art Museums with Meera as a curious companion. Thankfully, they did not change the main layout and courtyard, but extended the side wings and added a Louvre-style, roof top glass pyramid.

Meera had a wonderful time reading the layout map and leading me from section to section. She was particularly intrigued and recognized the portraits of American Presidents. Obviously this first grader thought all the renaissance paintings with scantily clad women were “gross”. She was terrified of peering into the courtyard from the upper level verandahs. This is not the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum and I was not expecting a plethora of Indian art – they had a 13th century Chola bronze of Shri Rām, a few pieces of Buddha and other miscellaneous artwork.

We had a wonderful meal at the cafe and ended our visit at the gift shop – Meera’s favorite. She did say she liked the Harvard Museum of Natural History better and I promised her a return trip this week.

This day I loved this work by the 16th century, Italian Baroque painter, Orazio Gentileschi – Virgin and the Sleeping Christ; see how kindly she shields the child with her diaphanous veil.

pictures from the Harvard Art Museum Cambridge by Arun Shanbhag
Orazio Gentileschi – Virgin with Sleeping Christ, 1610


Mehndi (or Henna) designs

photos of bridal Mehndi designs on hands and feet by Arun ShanbhagHere are a few pics from my niece’s mehndi gathering before her shādi. The lady squeezes out the mehndi paste from a foil cone and uses it to draw intricate designs on hands and feet. As the paste dries, fresh lemon juice is squeezed on it to keep it moisten and intensify the color.

Shādi or not, my sisters love mehndi for any occasion. Continue reading “Mehndi (or Henna) designs”

Mumbai’s Terminal T2, more

pics of art and murals at Mumbai's Terminal T2 by Arun Shanbhag

After my earlier passage through Mumbai’s new T2 terminal, I knew what to expect. On arrival, as everyone else darted to Baggage Claim (and staring at flapping slats whizzing by), I strolled through the endlessly curved, glass-lined walkway. I paused at each exhibit and took it in. The breadth of art types on display was stunning. Ubiquitous worker bees hovered nearby and demonstrated practiced busy-ness. Art was not simply a picture or a sculpture, an entire south Indian courtyard (for e.g.) was recreated; Mumbai was mapped with computer mother boards. And despite my earlier reservations, the exhibits were well maintained. Continue reading “Mumbai’s Terminal T2, more”

Zebra and Ohto Mechanical Pencils

pics of Zebra pencils and Ohto Sharp Pencils by Arun ShanbhagI love writing with pencils and slowly weaned Meera away from markers and crayons – I just threw them all away ;-). Now she exclusively uses color pencils for her drawings and I see her focus and attention to detail has increased tremendously. That is also translating into her writing skills. As I walked her to school this morning she blurted, “Papa, I can write “e” and “r” correctly,” and motions the letters in the air. Continue reading “Zebra and Ohto Mechanical Pencils”

Tulip Season

sketch of Tulips by Arun Shanbhag

Usually, I take pics of tulips in my garden (see here, here and here). This year I have been impressed at how easy it was to draw them on the iPad with Paper. I use this app often at work to sketch key concepts.

Ram Navami – battle against terror continues

Frieze of Shri Ram killing Ravana at the Khetapai Narayana Temple in Bhatkal by Arun Shanbhag

Wishing All
A Wonderful Rām Navamī
Bliss in Śri Rām’s Grace

M&m and A


The frieze above is from the outer wall of Khetapai Narayan Temple in Bhatkal, which I recently visited. This tiny stone temple was built ca 1546 when Konkani traders escaped Portuguese persecution in Goa and settled in Bhatkal. The Bhatkal port had become the primary port for trade by the Vijayanagar empire with its capital in Hampi. Continue reading “Ram Navami – battle against terror continues”