Zentangle to get untangled in 2011

December 31, 2010 § 6 Comments

this I made last night using Indian ink and pen

Oh boy!! I never thought I would be writing about something which begins/ends or contains the word “Zen” in it. Because I just didn’t see it in me..I am no Zen, not at all. So why is it that I want to end this year with a blog post titled “Zentangle”?? Because I want to zen-out in 2011, and turn to this beautiful art form for meditation and relaxation.

To put in simple words Zentangle is like doodling, but its a bit more organized than just doodling. Doodling/ Zentangle has taken the art world by storm (not really, but yeah. Like almost). Doodling is one of the essential tools for surviving the psychological warfare that goes on all around us, all the time. Remember boring college lectures??what saved your sanity?? those tiny scribbles that you did in your note book..Those my friends were “doodles” now known as “Zentangle”. And there have been numerous other occasions, long monotonous one-sided phone calls with a friend venting her heart out (I am sure she created some doodles of her own when it was your turn to vent), a date gone wrong where you ended up drawing on the napkin instead of writing your phone number..and the list goes on.

So why do we indulge in creating small lines, shapes and other marks like these when we are stuck in a rut..what’s the relation between these lines and our emotions. Well, it is widely accepted that creating a doodle/Zentanlgle is like meditation. It is a soothing activity which brings peace and calm to a person. It literally makes you zen-out. The only materials you need are a piece of paper (any size would do), a pen or a pencil. Doesn’t matter if you think you are artistically challenged, aren’t we all?

So here’s wishing you all a happy new year, and I pray we all find happiness, health and a little bit of Zen in 2011.

Happy New Year

Just ended my year by making this quick one

So I got myself a new notebook ;), and I have been creating these little pieces in it since yesterday. I am stuck inside a huge creative block and Zentangling is my way out.

I got this lovely to start untangling my creativity

 I am off on a road trip for three days with my family. Get back to blogging after this break.


Adding a new category “Red Plate Recipes”

December 27, 2010 § 4 Comments

So I have an announcement, I am finally adding a recipe page to my blog. Even though I am not good at writing recipes, but since I have been receiving a lot of requests for the recipes of different food that I have been sharing here, I finally decided to add it anyway. It is titled “red plate recipes”. I will keep updating this with new recipes as I blog about food under the category “on a red plate”.

I am blogging after a long break which exceeded way beyond what I had anticipated, but I am happy to be back and blogging once again.

2010 was a fantastic year with so many ups and downs. However this post is not about 2010.

I have to finish off 4 paintings and plates and I keep changing the composition all the time. I need to set a time limit before I run out of time. Deadline is January 6.

“When Love Comes to Town”

December 26, 2010 § 3 Comments

What can be a more appropriate title than this beautiful song “When love comes to town” by U2 and BB King to summarize how I felt when I found out that legendary rock band U2 were to rock Melbourne with their massive 360 concert tour in December. I had already missed out on their last hit concert Vertigo, so this was a must-attend-at-any-cost-event for me, and boy did I pay a hefty price for attending it!! I ended up with Laryngitis afterwards and lost my voice for about a week, all because of singing my heart out with the 60,000 fans. Well, I attended the concert despite asthma and sour throat, patiently waited for four hours for U2 to grace the stage, and through an hour long opening act by Jay Z banged head like zombies (partly because of medicines and partly because I actually couldn’t hear him well, (damn you EQ). And by the time U2 hit the stage I have had two cups of coffee and two rolls of sushi (not at one time). The concert was held in Etihad stadium, which is huge because it-is-a-stadium!! Stadium gigs are not easy to pull off, but then nobody does a stadium like Bono and his boys. 360 concert tour is one of the most expensive rock concerts in history. The major attraction was obviously the gigantic Claw, but for U2 fans it was all about U2 :’)

crowd gathering around the Claw before concert

Jay Z rocks the crowd, his performance is projected on the giant screen

One by one they kept playing all their hit numbers, started out with my favorite “New Years Day” and then some new ones. I called my sisters in Pakistan when they played “Beautiful Day”, it was magic :’)

I love love love U2, attending their concert was one of the biggest dreams of my life and I left their concert with such intense feelings. Throughout the concert I missed my sisters and girl friends (Zainab and Saman) like crazy, my brother, and my hubby (who was babysitting our son). I missed my college days, when we were young and had dreams. Listening to Bono’s larger than life voice brought forth a surge of powerful nostalgia that I had never experienced before..I thought I was over and done with that chapter of my life, happily transformed into a sub-urban stay-at-home mother, aspiring artist, and a super-skilled home maker..sigh!!

Turns out the old me is still well intact, ready to come out and re claim her identity. Attending this concert made me realize that I haven’t still lost my love for music, a good song still holds the power to make my day..and that I don’t have to give up on my life-long dreams of travelling, studying, having a successful art practice and many others like that. It may sound naive to most but I needed a moment like that, a moment of reassurance and affirmation. The moment came to me like a sudden realization of a truth I knew all along, but wasn’t able to make sense of it.

I got myself back.

Before that I was only “trying” to recreate the me I once was..by mechanically doing things that I used to do. It has changed. And I couldn’t be much more happier, and relieved.

I left the concert venue..leaving behind Bono and his boys playing their last songs for us “I still haven’t found what I am looking for”..making sure this haunts us all till the next time when we see them rocking us all to our bones.

Mr. Bono thank you for a beautiful memory.

amazing display of lights, and video projection

U2 performing "beautiful day"

My favourite video projection and lights sequence of the Claw

nothing is ugly

November 17, 2010 § 6 Comments

Nothing is Ugly.

No object, place, living being..nothing.

But “prejudices” and only “prejudices”.

Prejudices that lead us to war, make us judgemental, make us see things as ugly..which they are not really.

My ever-moving studio-space

November 12, 2010 § 8 Comments

Creative people often need a place where they can create their projects away from the hassle bustle that is life. Some art forms require a specific, state of the art setup (like ceramics, photography, printmaking etc.), while others simply need a few tables, chairs, and plenty of light.
I live in a three bedroom old-fashioned house. We are renting and there is not much we can do with the house. If I had my way I would have painted the walls, put in new kitchen, ripped out old mismatched tiles etc. BUT the reality is that I can’t do any of that and still have to make this house my home..I am still in the process of doing that in bits and pieces. So, out of three bedrooms..one is our bedroom, one is my son’s room, and the third and the largest one which was once a shared study-cum-studio space for me and my husband is now his home office.
When we initially moved into this house last year in April, I made the meals area my studio. All of my materials and canvases were conveniently jumbled up on each other on my dining table. That for me was the best space to continue to work because the meals area is adjacent to our lounge and kitchen, and as a stay-at-home mother and artist I thought I was so strategically placed between lounge (hub of my son’s activities) and kitchen (hub of domestic activities). Unfortunately my husband thought otherwise, as he viewed my art materials as a “mess”.
Eventually I moved into his study and immediately the level of my productivity went down..I went from doing one to two detailed studies a day to hardly any work done in a week’s time. The reason was my son was too young and he wanted to play and stay in the lounge with all his toys and TV, and he didn’t approve my “moving out”. The only time I could concentrate on work was when my husband was home to take care of the little one. But even that arrangement didn’t last for long as my husband needed a home office to deal with increasing number of clients (and friends). So the study-cum-studio became his home office and I ended up in my son’s room. I got myself a table from Ikea, a few boxes to keep my nicknacks and an old chair from my bedroom which my husband painted in white for me. I love the fact that my table is next to a window from where I can see the two lemon trees in our front yard, have a good view of street, and basically enjoy some sunlight while having my morning cuppa 🙂 I am slowly beginning to work there, even though it is a very small area but I am managing so far..lets hope I get to make a lot of art in this space of mine 🙂

my meals area studio..my first study of flowers in 6 years


All my art materials and of course flowers on my dinning table


sharing studio space with my hubby, and son 🙂


someone is having a great time

peek-a-boo, where are you mama?

I understand that not all artists have a dedicated studio space and they are still able to produce beautiful art works from their home. Stephanie Levy is one such artist who lives in Munich and creates beautiful collages. Recently Etsy did her interview and documented her studio space for their blog. What a treat for me, to be able to peek inside the studio of my favourite artist 🙂 What I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that Stephanie (who is also a dedicated mother, blogger, and accomplished baker and cook) doesn’t have a dedicated studio space, in fact her lounge is her studio..which she shares with her girls and hubby. Have a look at her studio and tell me if it inspires you 🙂

I know that I can’t pursue printmaking from home unless I have a press and other essentials, but it doesn’t mean I stop being an artist..thus the need to pick up the brush and paint. As long as I keep working..I am happy.

Hidden treasure of waxed alphabets and numbers

November 8, 2010 § 10 Comments

I held this painting session with my child earlier today. He loves “discovering” alphabets, shapes, numbers etc. All day long I keep hearing things like “look mama a W”, “a beeg M”, “look a 15”, “look, look, I found a number 2″…..

So that gave me an idea..I drew numbers, alphabets and different shapes with a white crayon a white paper, and gave those papers to my son to paint over them with watercolors. As he kept painting, shapes and alphabets kept appearing on the paper. He wasn’t prepared for this as I hadn’t explained it to him..so as he proceeded to paint a “bird”, he was surprised to see a number 2 emerging on paper..”look mama my birdie number 2″ (my birdie is a number 2). As soon as he realized there was this treasure of numbers and alphabets hiding on the page, he started painting all over the page to uncover everything 🙂

It was a fun fun exercise for me and him 🙂

two circles in water

painting a birdie's wings

"look look a big W and 2"

Yay!! I have found it, I found it 🙂

Donuts for breakfast, lunch and tea :)

November 3, 2010 § 6 Comments

For some strange reasons my son started asking for donuts since Monday. It is strange because we don’t eat or keep donuts in our house. Not because we don’t like donuts..in fact me and my hubby love them so much that we can’t exercise any control whatsoever. So, we were dealing with this temptation by living a donut free life 🙂 Easier said than done, specially if you have a toddler at home. But somehow we have been so busy that a quick run to the market for a box of donuts just did not happen..therefore finally today AFTER 10 YEARS I decided to make donuts for my son..sigh!

Yes, you read it right..the last time I made a fresh batch of donuts was way back in 1999. I used to make them every Friday evening as a treat for my siblings, but then once I went to college and later started working full time..I had no time for making donuts and baking cakes etc.

Anyways, I am glad I still remember the recipe and was able to make my son so happy 🙂 We went a little donut-crazy, and had them for breakfast, some at lunch and the rest we ate up at tea time with his father 🙂

I have a feeling that I will be making these on a regular basis now 🙂

Donuts for breakfast, lunch and tea..

My son arranged these donuts on our favourite plate 🙂

It was a beautiful experience for me..to make something with my son which I used to make with my youngest sister ten years back..he had a great time playing with the dough I gave him..rolling it out and cutting out shapes using cookie cutters. Too bad I was too busy to take any pictures. This reminds me of a recent survey on IKEA’s website..about children’s play called Play Report. I don’t find it surprising that kids love to cook and bake with parents more than any other play activity. I think it is the best opportunity to bond with your child. It gives them a sense of accomplishment, and the skills they learn over the years help them live an independent life.

So get cooking in the kitchen with your kids. If you are worried about the mess (I know I am), then keep the activity in the earlier part of the day so you can clean up before meals time 🙂 Enjoy life, have a donut 🙂

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