Once again returning to Behta Pani in May 2017, we found ourselves facing the on-going development of our magical valley, the Upper Seraj. A coal tar plant, used to make asphalt for paving the road from Jalori Pass to Ghiyagi (metaling as it is called India), was being set up with ugly machinery right across our sacred Hirub stream. The planned work, for possibly up to year, included daily production of the asphalt and the production of noxious and toxic smoke polluting our area, our organic vegetable gardens and fruit trees, our water source, and of our health. The noise of large diesel generators and the other machinery was intolerable. Kamla and I decided to move and we were very fortunate that our dear friends Gajendra Singh and Priti Kumar offered us their Guest House to stay in an hour’s drive from Behta Pani. Gaju and Priti, are the Raja and Rani of Khimsar, Rajasthan and their generosity and deeply felt affection towards us has been one of the great blessings we have experienced in India. So, we moved to their compound in Gushaini and spent 3 ½ months living in wondrous seclusion. What appeared to be a real negative situation transformed into a much-needed period of peace, in effect our own “ashram” with almost 8 acres of forest embracing us.
I set up a small studio in an unfinished library Gaju was building and continued my calligraphy painting series started last year/2016 at Behta Pani. The open valley of the Seraj on the Gushaini side was expansive, offering wide views of the sky and mountains looking east into the Great Himalayan National Park/GHNP. It was portal into my first experiences of GHNP in 2000, when I first trekked in this area with Sanjeeva Pandey and my dear friend, Arny Lippin, and now have returned to live looking into the Park.
The steep walls of the Gushaini valley are a constant panorama of cloud-sky-landscape all in flux. The daily cloud views, throughout the day and night, were mesmerizing and the catalyst/stimulus for this 2017 painting series: Monsoon Calligraphy.
I continue to explore the energy approach of decades of my painting, with less complex compositions (with some exceptions). My interest in the Zen calligraphic moment has had some liberating moments when the painting was in charge. My intention with this series is to be subsumed in the moment of eye-hand-brush release striving for the No Mind state that I try to imbue my daily meditations and my artwork.
These paintings are dedicated to Gaju and Priti with the deepest appreciation for our shared support for each other and as friends of the truest order.