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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4 thoughts on “Gestures at a Mandir

  1. Thanks so much for sharing the special outing and your wonderful sketches, Beth! Looks like another terrific field trip. I love your descriptions of the temple, and I appreciate getting to visit vicariously since I wasn’t in town to tag along.

  2. Beth–Thank you for putting images to the temple you so artfully described in words. Do you think that Ganesh and his rat might make an appearance somewhere in your Melvin series? A trip to an exhibition? I like the way the gesture drawings capture the essence of the statue’s poses.

    1. Thank you Hannah for the kind words. After so much time at the computer last week it was good to be out and drawing and thinking about something new. Yes, I think that is exactly what Melvin should do!

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