Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thank You, India

[Bathing -Varanasi, India by John Paul Thornton]

I still feel the emotion well up in my chest when I smell India. It is the smell of sweet garbage and wet earth. Smoke and the hint of cooking spice. I can get this aroma in the most ordinary places... back alleys by restaurant dumpsters, crowded downtown street fairs. The sounds of India are bells, water lapping upon stone. Laughter. Now, when I sense these combinations, I am not here at home, but by the Ganga river again, walking with dreamy bewilderment along ancient roads and into a world of impossible color.

Varanasi, the sacred city on the banks of the Ganga river in Northern India inspired me to paint this image. It depicts bathers attending to the daily rituals of cleansing and of prayer. It is the light that I remember. The vibrant silk saris and graceful movement of women and children are burned into my vision and I translate them for you with precise flicks of my palette knife.

Such private rituals performed effortlessly in public...
I am always entranced by painting. The simplest notes of hue can manifest the most distinct suggestions.