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Gestures at a Mandir

On Saturday my illustration group went to a Mandir, or Hindu temple, for a little sketch time. The location in the Atlanta area is breathtaking. There are only five in North America. It is the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan mandir.

Mandir in Atlanta
Mandir in Atlanta
Mandir on a perfect fall day
Mandir on a perfect fall day.

The only way I could describe the interior was like being on the inside of a wedding cake. Every inch of white marble was carved with pattern, figures, words, and animals. This included columns, arches, ceiling, walls, nooks, and crannies. We were not permitted to photograph the interior, but here are a few of my sketches.

Statue from Mandir copyright 2013 ECR
Statue from Mandir
copyright 2013 ECR
From Statue copyright 2013 ECR
From Statue
copyright 2013 ECR

Most of my sketches were what is called gesture drawings. After many years of life drawing I like to fallback to these. A gesture drawing is done while looking at the subject and not looking at the paper. The hand follows the eye as it moves around. This explains why there are often several lines crossing each other in strange connections or why a figure may have an arm growing out of its head. To take in as much movement, feeling and gesture as possible in a very short amount of time, 30 seconds, one minute is the purpose. It is a way to train your eye to see what is important.

Gesture drawing copyright 2013 ECR
Gesture drawing
copyright 2013 ECR

I have been working on my Melvin Fine Mouse book so was charmed to see these little rodents at the foot of Ganesh in several figures on a column.

Ganesh and his rodent friends. copyright 2013 ECR
Ganesh and his rodent friends.
copyright 2013 ECR

Our group of illustrators drawing and taking in the scene.

Fellow artists at the Mandir.
Fellow artists at the Mandir.

To see the amazing talent of my fellow artists you can click on their names and see examples of their work.

Elizabeth Dulemba,

Prescott Hill,

Kitty Klein,

Jan Watford,

Michael Allen Austin.

This group is representative of the Southern Breeze region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. 

If you have any interest in this industry it is a “must” to join this organization. The opportunities and friendships are the best.

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Digital Detox in British Columbia

Since I last wrote I have been to the beautiful Canadian Rockies.

After a lovely evening in Calgary it was time to head west.

We made short stops in the picturesque villages of Banff and Lake Louise to pick up some postcards, wine, and hiking snacks at the little grocery, then were on our way.

The real treasure was our next stop, the Emerald Lake Lodge. Our home for the next several days.

The view from Emerald Lake Lodge in Field, British Columbia.
The view from Emerald Lake Lodge in Field, British Columbia.

Beside the lodge, where delicious meals are served, there are cabins. They are situated down a little dirt road (no cars allowed). Each is divided into four or fewer units.

We had a balcony overlooking the lake from the second floor and a fireplace prepared for our evening and morning fires. At night we could leave the door open and listen to the haunting loon calling for his companion.

Our first day we ventured up to Hamilton Lake. The description in our hiking book included the word grim. Yes, the constant rise in elevation was grim, but the views were not.

Hamilton Lake, a glacial lake on the top of a mountain.
Hamilton Lake, a glacial lake on the top of one of the mountains next to our hotel.
The hike to get to and from Hamilton Lake. The view of the world was breath taking, so was the altitude.
The hike to get to and from Hamilton Lake. The view of the world was breath taking, so was the altitude.

After four magnificent nights at the Emerald Lake Lodge (and a visit with our Florida neighbors, who just happened to stop by:) we made our way to the Columbia Icefields north toward Jasper.

The view from our window at the Glacier View Hotel.
The view from our window at the Glacier View Inn. Note the cars on the bottom right for scale.
On the glacier.
On the glacier.
Sunset on the glacier from our hotel window.
Sunset on the glacier from our hotel window.

The drinking water at our hotel, the Glacier View Inn, was unfiltered from the glacier.

We were basically staying in the “Discovery Center”. This was where we caught the bus to meet the crawler that would take us to the glacier.

It was all terrific.

The first tv we saw was here in our hotel room. After a digital detox of five days we decided we wouldn’t interrupt the tranquility with any news. If there was something we needed to know it would find its way to our ears.

Sadly we had to return to our real world. The drive back was filled with majestic sights at every turn.

Driving south to the real world.
Driving south to the real world.
The spectacular mountains.
The spectacular mountains.
Everywhere a sight to behold.
Everywhere a sight to behold.
Driving driving and gasping at the sight.
Driving, driving, and being awestruck at what we saw.
Another emerald colored lake.
Another emerald colored lake. The mineral flour in the water creates the color. This makes the water too difficult for fish to see in so there are few in these lakes.
The reflection makes this emerald lake look endlessly deep.
The reflection makes this lake look endless.
Down the road we go.
Down the road we go.

The memories are instilled in my heart. If I forget anything I can always refer to the 564 pictures for a reminder. By the way all of these were taken with my iphone, many from a moving car.