Nova Scotia Artist, Joy Laking, posts ramblings while she's travelling and painting in South America.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 0, 2014, Kochi Fort, India

Tiny, bony, birdlike women 
Peddling jewelry,
Beads, bobbles glittering gold.
Trinkets to embellish and beautify.
Eating, smoking, sorting, cajoling.
Fushia, saffron, peacock blue,
Flowing fabric,
Draped,  wrapped, tucked and gathered.
Their children: tiny babies laying along side necklaces,,
Small boys racing,  pushing, shouting,
And little girlsh sitting quietly,
Waiting to be mothers.

January 29, 2014, Fort Kochi India

Had a relaxed day today sketching and painting.
The Chinese fishing nets
A little quarter sheet watercolour
I also bought a cane so hopefully it'll help my walking.

I decided to try Indian food again tonight. I hate to miss any good experiences but I also hate feeling sick.  A conundrum.
I liked this photo of three nuns with motorcycle.
And of course the beautiful colourful women always cath my eye.

Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014. Fort Kochi, India

 Arrived this morning by over night train. Unfortunately, I had stomach problems and so it was a horrible trip. Fort Kochi was supposed to be a nice back water but it is so touisty that after a little walk about town, Jim and I were fed up with trying to dodge all the hawkers. One chap invited us out on a wharf and then wanted a $1000 rupees for the honour.

The entire beach was lined with these traps and men peddling fish.

This is a Chinese fishing trap. It's lowered by a counter balance of enormous rocks and then. Then raised by a bunch of men on ropes. The catch was all small,
Then the fellows had to climb out the poles to get enough weight to put the net back underwater
Loved the baskets of spices and the fabrics leave me drooling.  Unfortunately, I don't want to buy anything. My load is way too heavy as it is.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 23,2014; Mumbai word picture

The street is filled with yellow and black taxis,
Most with roof racks and horns beeping.
Red city buses honk and brake.
The odd one is a double decker.
An ad on the side of one bus promises:
"Change your life,
Take a two day life-skill education course!"
Crowds spew off.
People on the street race for the door.
Some make it, before the bus accelerates.
The tour buses in the street
Are big and new.
They stop completely before
Passengers debark.
From the first amble men
Wearing orange scarves and name tags.
The second unloads a symphony of colour;
Women in flowing saris,
Veridian, turquoise, magenta, gold.
Motorcycles swerve and veer
To avoid the cars, the colourful delivery trucks and the buses,
While ancient skinny men, dressed all in white,
Calmly peddle bicycles laden with packages of paper,
Bundles of iron pipe
Or stacks of eggs.
Along side and amid are the pedestrians.
Some limp and hobble like me.
Others strut and stride.
One, with a white cane, taps his way.
The spun sugar man carries a tall pole hung with
Ribbons of pink and yellow candy.
There is man with a long white beard wearing a turban.
His big brown chest is bare.
His legs and waist
Are wrapped in a long wide strip of cotton.
Another man in a tan suit
Carries a enormous box on top of his head.
The mayhem, that is Mumbai,
Almost obliterates the lush tree foliage overhead
And the large black birds that swoop and scream,
While smog mutes the view across the traffic cycle
Of an ornate palace-like police head quarters.
In front of me, waits an ample amber woman
With ear buds and a pony tail.
Rolls of flesh spill over the waist back of her lime green sari.
Next to me a man sings.
Oblivious to it all,
A man in a tan government uniform and ball cap
Cleans the street, curb, and side walk
With his big twig broom.
Behind him, another worker,
Wearing her fluorescent orange vest like a bustle,
Pushes a large cart,
And picks up all the sweepings.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 22, Mumbai

Today, Jim and I took a Mumbai city tour in the am. I loved how they've being doing the wash for 140 years; over 1000 cement troughs and men just beat the clothing by flinging it onto the cement.

The drying lines were fantastic and not a clothes peg.

Even taking in the clothing appealed to my eye.

Next we went to the fishing area of Mumbai

Then to a white marble temple!

After a wonderful hour at the Gandhi museum, we took an hour boat ride from the Gate of Mumbai to Elephanta Island.

We met some monkeys.

And two groups of people really wanted their photo taken with me. Then the highlight of the day, one of the teens told her father "jeldy". When I was a kid, my Dad used to get me up every morning, by calling "jeldy Yoji". I didn't know that jeldy was a term he'd picked up in India in the war. I thought everyone's Dad said it. Yoji was my nickname--joy backwards.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January19th on planes to India

2:30 p.m. We're through security and sitting In the Halifax departure lounge. I just hope I can relax and enjoy this whole trip. I've been feeling tense today(scared to death). What are we doing going to India on whim and a shoestring?  But, it's a chance of a lifetime!  And Jim is fantastic to travel with, always up for adventure and good natured. We will be fine if I can just let go of the anxiety.

This morning I walked down to our cabin just to soak up some  winter Nova Scotia beauty.  This was the first walk to the cabin  since I broke my ankle on November 8. The snow last night followed rain and left an icy white glaze on every twig.  Gorgeous. And the River is so swollen because of so any plus 0 days.

Since it opening, two days ago, My thinking has really been caught up In the exhibition, Capture 2014; Nova Scotia realism.  I have spent many volunteer hours on this adventure and it's amazing that it actually happened!

On the way to the gate, Jim pointed out a paper copy of the weekend Herald,  We got a full page on the front of the second section,  Elisa wrote a superb article.  She really got the importance of this exhibition.  Realism is many many things and all of them worthy of our interest and respect.  The two paintings featured, Jaye',s wave and Yani's classical still life were perfect.

Many hours later ( and I have no idea what day it is), we are on a  plane from Dubai to Muscat. This wasn't on our itinerary but we were very late landing in Zurich and missed connections.
First of all, I saw the excellent French film, Gilded Cage, English subtitles. I'd read about this film last year and I had wanted to see it. I recommend it highly. Then hours later, when my foot was really itchy and throbbing, I searched for another escape. The Steve Job's film was amazing. I am still thinking of this despicable, narcissistic fellow who was such an artist and visionary. I love pig headed artists who try to change the world. The film made me feel empowered and committed to keep on trying to make the world a better place. At the same time, I wonder if it possible to be a visionary and still have heart and compassion.

January 21 4:30 pm Mumbai

After breakfast and a long nap, I am now out on a tiny fourth floor balcony. I am drenched in a throbbing bass hum of jeers and cheers, pierced with clapping, whistles and occasional squeals.  Hundreds of teenagers, mostly boys, are playing soccer. There are several organized pitches as well as areas of intermingled chasing of yellows balls and blue balls. A girl in a bright pink sari and head scarf swings a badminton racket smashing the bird back to her friend in jeans and a black tee shirt. Most of the girls cluster. They hug, hold hands and try to be noticed.. The boys shout and stand confidently, they race after balls and grab friends in head locks.  The fourth floor foliage is lush and exotic; palms, figs,money trees and something that looks like a giant sumac. They filter the views but not the pulsing noise. In the greenery, parrots squawk, pigeons preen and peck, while over head three large vultures glide in circles.  Beside me and up a level on a roof, next to a crumbling decorative column,  a boy in a pink shirt watches. Suddenly I am part of the landscape, when he smiles and waves to me.

Friday, January 17, 2014

January 17, 2014 opening of capture 2914 last night

Last night was the opening of Capture 2014; Nova Scotia Realism at Dalhousie Art Gallery. It is a wonderful exhibition and I am so proud. This was a crazy hair brained idea that I dreamt up and four years later, it is reality. Seven fellow artists, persevered with me, and I am so grateful to Steven Rhude, Paul. Hannon, Shelley Mitchell, Susan Paterson, Ed Huner, Gordon MacDonald, and  Tom Forreststall. We are the members of Professional Living Artists of Nova Scotia . Our curators, Tom Smart and Peter Dykhuis  are phenomenal and the exhibition is all that we hoped for. Thank you to the lucky 28 artists that are actually in the exhibition and thank  you also to the 110 artists that had faith in us and applied to be a part of this show.  I wish that everyone could have been included.

Without the financial help of the Robert Pope Foundation we would have never got to square one and the support of the Craig Foundation had allowed us to dream big.
Thank you  to everyone who has helped or donated.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

January 12, 2014

In a little more than a week, Jim and I will be in India.  We invite you all to travel with us vicariously.  From our blogs, it often seems as if we are on totally different adventures so you might want to check out Jim's blog as well as mine. 

Before we leave, one of my volunteer projects is coming to fruition after four years of work.
"Capture; 2014,  Nova Scotia Realism" is an exhibition which I helped instigate and it opens on Thursday January 16, at 8 pm at the Dalhousie Art Gallery 6101 University Ave, Halifax.
You are all invited.  This exhibition had an open call and over one hundred professional Nova Scotian artists applied.  Our curators,  Tom Smart and Peter Dykhuis selected a long list of forty-three artists and all of these were giving studio visits last summer.  From the studio visits,  twenty-eight artists were selected for the exhibitionopening.   The exhibition runs until March 9, 2014 (Tuesday to Friday 11 until 5 and weekends noon until 5) and then hopefully it will travel.  You can check out the works at