Roses and dancing girls

Have you ever seen a painting, a picture, a poster, a photograph… or any work of art and instantly felt a connection to it? Not the janam janam ka rishta type, but a connection where that piece of art is communicating with you? Talking only to you? And everything around just fades into the background and it’s just you and that work of art. This happens to me sometimes and it’s quite inexplicable, really, as to why I feel a connection that particular piece of art only !

This post is about one such connection. A connection forged while viewing it on a computer screen. It happened something like this…

It was a dull day at work. One of those days when everything moved sluggishly — papers,  people, the internet connection, thoughts …. The humid weather didn’t help and by the time tea break came around I was ready to go to sleep. Of course, I couldn’t being at work and all that. So I did the next best thing — armed with nice cup of Assam tea, some biscuits, and piano music in the background, I decided to do some blog surfing. And, serendipitiously, stumbled across this painting by Monishikha:

“Roses” by Monishika Roy-Choudhury. Watercolour on art paper

The dullness faded away as I saw the roses flickering on my computer screen. They beckoned me to partake of their heady and relaxing fragrance, and soon I was walking through a rose garden, communing with the roses. It took the harsh ringing of the phone to drag me back to reality !

Call attended, I spent some time going through the other paintings on the site, all watercolours, and though they were all nice they didn’t quite “speak” to me. Except for this one, which drew me in with a swirl and flash of colour and music.

“Dancing Girls” by Monishikha Roy-Choudhury. Watercolour, 12″ x 9.5 ” on 243 gsm watercolour paper

Carmen and Margarita (yes, that’s what I named the dancers) put up a great show for me with some foot-tapping music comprising castanets, guitar and handclaps. As they danced the flamenco, the colours in the painting merged and blazed on the screen as I watched the performance mesmerised.

I am not an impulsive buyer (except for books), but this time was I made a surprisingly quick decision, and one that I don’t regret it at all. I left a comment on Monishikha’s blog expressing interest about these paintings and hoping that they were on sale. They were. She sent me a mail that very evening and a flurry of mails later, it was mutually agreed upon that Carmen & Margarita and the Roses would come to my house.

When the watercolours arrived, they were even better than the pictures that Monishikha had very thoughtfully sent to me, or what I had viewed on the computer screen. After due admiration, they were given for framing with a cover made of non-reflective glass. It is only when the framed pictures came home and were ready to be hung on the walls, did the problem arise. The existing cream-coloured walls in my house did not complement the paintings. While Carmen & Margarita did not mind this, the Roses protested. And that too quite loudly. And I agreed with them.

Luckily for them and for me, it was time to get the house painted and I took this opportunity to choose a color that would complement both of them, especially the Roses. Together, we chose a shade called “Lime Grove”, a pale green colour. The fact that Lime Grove turned into a shade that resembled “pista ice-cream” is another story altogether, which you can read here ! But the Roses loved it,  and after agonising about it for a couple of days, I did too,. See for yourself:

The Roses and the green wall !

As for Carmen and Margarita, they were not fussy people and were thrilled with the pale white shade chosen for them. And I loved it too 🙂

The framed Dancing Girls !

When I sent pictures of the framed watercolours to Monishikha, this is what she had to say about them:

I like the Roses better than the Dancers now ! (possibly it’s the effect of the pastel wall)… Both of these are unlike my usual planned paintings, where I draw the pencil sketch before adding paint. Both these paintings were done completely freehand, with a brush on paper. The Roses were literally doodled in about 20 minutes, during the course of a telephone conversation with a friend, right after I had failed miserably at the planned one ! Similarly, these Dancers actually started out as a trial painting before putting colours on the sketched version, and as I began to see things going right, I completely abandoned the idea of doing any other version of them!

Wow ! Perhaps, it is this spontaneity that appealed to me and made me feel that these paintings were talking to me. And I find this significant, as I am not fond of flowers on my walls at all, and that too roses !

It’s been more than a fortnight since the watercolours have been up on the newly painted walls. The Roses are the first thing I see in the morning when I wake up, albeit through extremely myopic eyes. As for Carmen and Margarita, a friend who was visiting asked me if I had picked this print during my stint in London. I can’t tell you how much pleasure I had in telling her where I got it from. 😀

So tell me, what do you think of my Roses and Carmen & Margarita?

Update (as on 15/11/12): Monishikha has written a post on her ongoing journey through the world of watercolours, which she says was catalysed by this post :-). You can read it that post here.

57 thoughts on “Roses and dancing girls

  1. The roses look beautiful on that wall and despite the fact that green is not my color, the wall does complement the painting beautifully. Carmen and Margarita, i would put them on a mustard yellow wall to pull out the red in the skirts and the shoes, but then that’s just me!! I prefer C & M over the roses, btw


    1. Green is not my favourite colour either, Meera but it was a toss-up between blushing pink and lime grove. And I don’t like pink walls, they give me nightmares. So green it was for just that wall, the other walls in the room are white. As for Carmen and Margarita, I did think of putting them up on a yellow wall in my living room, but the Madurai Meenakshi Tanjore painting there protested. So a pale white wall it had to be and I quite like it.

      When are you coming over to my place? 🙂


  2. Sudha ji,

    Thank you!

    What a way to wake up on a Monday morning!I have an ear to ear grin on my face right now and this post is going to be shared everywhere that I can . There would have been some shouting from the roof tops too , if I wasn’t scared of heights 😉


    1. I can never forget the sight of the paintings when I opened the packet—they were so much better than what I had expected. 🙂 I wanted to write this post as soon as I received the paintings, and then again when they were framed. But now I’m glad that I waited till they were framed and mounted. I’m so happy that you approve of the way your paintings’ new home 🙂

      And writing about this post is entirely my pleasure as it was one of those that just had to be written, if you know what I mean. Thank you for your paintings, they sure do brighten up my life 😀


    1. Welcome here, Valli, and thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. The dancing girls started off as my favourite, but there is something about the roses that cannot be ignored—sometimes, I get the heady fragrance of roses when I walk into the room. 🙂


  3. I go with the girls. I find flowers, specially roses, a bit of a beauty cliche.. pure prejudice 🙂 but the girls.. love their swirls. Beautiful.


    1. There you go again, Suresh 🙂 I refuse to believe that you do not have an eye for the visual arts, and that too for someone who writes as well as you do. I would love to dispel this belief that you have.

      Tell you what, when you come to Mumbai next spare a little time and I’ll take you around to the unlikeliest of places to see art and you will be surprised at what all is there around us.

      PS: Glad that you enjoyed the post.


  4. Awesome, I love flowers and the green wall red roses , awesome . the two dancers , bless a house is a happy home where dancing is involved 🙂

    Happy diwali to you and family and Everyone around you .. and to all the people reading 🙂


      1. But I am not going to be intimidated by such happenings and so here it is, once again. The roses reminded me of the roses in my son’s garden in London and I could almost smell the gentle fragrance of the English rose in the painting. But my favourite is the flamenco dancers Margarita and Carmen (trust you to come up with such lovely names!) who actually are in motion. The swirl of the skirts and the vibrant colours make them the ideal wall hanging. Waiting to say hello to them too 🙂


  5. Though i loved the roses, your writing about it takes the cake. Something so simple written so well that it just pulls you to read it. completely. (I guess your post here is my ” art is communicating with you” for today!


    1. Those are such lovely words, Meow. And just what I like to hear 🙂 A very warm welcome to “My Favourite Things” and thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I hope that you’ll keep visiting too !


  6. I simply love this form of painting. Takes me back to early childhood and my art teacher who was superb at it. Both paintings are beautiful and the color choice is perfect. Yes, I can hear the dancers. What a pleasure to visit your blog. i think I just fell in blog-love. Happy Diwali!


    1. Welcome here Vidya and thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. Glad you enjoyed the visit and the performance 🙂 Thank you also for your very kind words about my blog – they made my day 🙂


  7. Both paintings are extremely beautiful. I’m not a rose person too, but really, this painting is one of a kind. And I’m always amazed to see great work with water colours. Water colours are really not for everybody to work with. 🙂
    And may I also compliment your eye for art… :). Congratulations on your gorgeous purchase. 🙂


    1. Thank you, thank you, dNambiar. 🙂 My favourites are watercolours and charcoal drawings with oils coming in third. Many people scoff at watercolours, but there is something whimsical, wistful free-spirited about watercolours that just appeal to me on a one-on-one basis.

      Do you paint? I doodle stuff, but nothing worth preserving or sharing.


  8. Thank you everybody for the lovely comments about the paintings! 😀 It’s truly wonderful to be appreciated as an artist . In case you’d like to see more of my work, please visit the link provided by Sudha ji in the post, or my facebook page, “The Coloured Wall” at

    Thank you again, Sudha ji, I do love the names that the dancers have been given. Like I said, I preferred the dancers over the roses too, but your green wall has certainly added to the appeal of the roses !


  9. Loved the dancers. They look exuberant and quite alive as felt by you! Trust you to come up with the right exotic names for them and make them even more real!


  10. I really liked the dancing girls! Having recently returned from Spain, I will call them Flamenco dancers. 🙂 Very similar dancing style and dress.
    One question for the artist- What dancers you had in mind while painting this? 🙂


    1. Oh yes. Your Spain trip. Did you manage to record any performances, Nisha? And Carmen and Margarita are flamenco dancers 😀 As for what the artist thoughts, lets see what Monishikha has to say !


      1. Nisha,

        Thank you 😀 Sudha ji is right, they are indeed Flamenco dancers, painted from a reference photograph of Flamenco dancers. I didn’t have to think at all while painting these, because it started out as a trial painting , to check out the colours for a more realistic version and then I literally went with the flow 😉


      2. Yes, I recorded some parts on video. Yet to upload it. However, a shorter version of my article is published on Rediff. I think you’d have read it. 🙂


  11. the paintings look lovely, Sudha.. been wanting to see them ever since you told me about them! loved both of them, though maybe the flamenco dancers a wee bit more 😀 but the roses simply stand out against the green wall.. doesnt matter what you call the shade.. they seem to enhance the beauty and make the roses so much more noticeable!


  12. I guess it’s all about choice. I never really understood art so at times I find the weirdest of things attractive and the most famous of paintings dull. I’m not a fan of Roses but C&M is pretty cool. Nevertheless, a great impulsive buy and also nice of you to promote local talent. Cheers!


    1. Yes, C&M is pretty cool. 🙂

      I believe that art lies in the eyes of the beholder and there is no one definition of art. And therein comes choice. Like you, I am not always enamored of so called great works of art. For instance, Picasso’s cubist works leave me completely unmoved and it is his lesser known and earlier works like line drawing and simple sketches that appeal to me — I even own a print of one such line drawing.

      And I never even thought of the local artist angle till you pointed in out. And come to think of it, I do pick up a lot of art from various fairs and melas 🙂


      1. That is exactly what I feel about art too! It is very personal and what little I have seen of Picasso’s more famous works completely baffle me! I’ve read opinions where people dismiss more realistic art as “pretty pictures” but in my very un-learned opinion, it takes a greater amount of skill to create life like images, than abstract , open to interpretation versions .

        And Sudha ji,I hope more people promote this “local” artist the way you have 😀


  13. It’s so true.. we all love spontaneity! Be it conversations, paintings or life! I loved Carmen and Margarita more. They inspire me to live a life that is ‘full of life’.. to do all things fun.. to have no regrets.. to be spontaneous .. to ‘dance’ to the tune of life, with a smiling face!


  14. Wow–what a sweet and such a different post…I could never fall in love with a painting like that, I dont have the eye. But your post is so warm, soft, and homely–it makes me want to also look a painting like that and buy one for myself. Your blog always surprises me, Sudha. So unusual…


    1. Thank you Bhavana. The thing about a painting or any work of art is you have to see it with your heart and not your head – only an investor sees it that way. Once your senses are open, let your instincts guide you in deciding what appeals/speaks to you and what doesn’t. That is the reason why we all react to the same painting in so many different ways. 🙂


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