In honour of Darwin

Spent around 8-9 hours spread out over a week and a half for the more or less final sketch down below.

following photo was after I guess 4 hours, wasnt feeling confident enough to be able to reproduce the texture of ruff surface which is on the right side of the fossil. So left it there and didnt touch it for 2 days. Deliberately letting this only photo at that stage of sketch uncropped for inclusion of the book itself in the photo. "On the Origin of Species" was indeed the major inspiration behind this attempt! On one fine day, I hope I will be competent enough to sketch portrait of Darwin which is printed there.

I am not yet done with the book, still some 100 pages to go. But man, this is the book, every single civilized educated modern home sapien should read! The name of the book is a little misleading since it neither ventures into the beginning of life nor has it yet touched philosophical side of the origin mystery, which I think it wont touch at all, given the scientific nature of the publication. Origin of THE SPECIES is, as far as I can put into words, a hypothesis on the existence of various species since the beginning, their extinction, the laws governing on the whole massive scale of nature and empirical deduction of those laws with handful of eye-opening examples. In addition to that Darwin does pose, often than rarely with an air of scientific sophistication, some of the very intelligent and important questions against the then widespread creationist theory involving god.

Another thing about the book is the very language. Out of the very few number of books Ive read yet, this was I presume the most attention sucking book. I couldnt read more than 20 pages in one go. Sometimes it took more than 2-3 readings of the same line to extract the implication and understand the context. Used to wonder from where the hell do they get the GRE verbal section passages, damn. Nevertheless there are great number of lyrically eloquent passages and smooth spoken arguments that one cant just help but appreciate the adept writer inside the great naturalist.

Some of the ideas like survival of the fittest etc. might sound cliched to our 21st century brains but definitely it wont stop us being awestruck at the huge amount of work this man must have done and the great many years of his life he must have spent to figure out the most probable, I dare say as of yet the best and the most logical, explanation to the intricate, complex and mammoth of a question that was in front of humanity ever since those advanced primates started being conscious about their own existence and the nature around. You can find some loose notes I took from the book on my Listography page.

Biologist Thomas Huxley was known as Darwin's Bulldog and Richard Dawkins, the most influential figure in current scene of science vs religion, is known as Darwin's Rottweiler for their blaring advocacy and support for Darwin's ideas and theory. Bet they must be feeling proud of it!

Coming back to the sketch, on the 3rd night, figured out a way to get the texture on the paper. by very small dots packed near each other at varying density and value! and well, here is the final piece, dedicated to the man. still a lot to improve, but enough to keep myself motivated!

had to use more than 5 pencils of different hardness, the lovely kneaded eraser and oh yea, hell lotta fuckin patience ;)

"What can be more soul shaking than peering through a hundred inch telescope at a distant galaxy, holding a hundred million year old fossil or a five hundred thousand year old stone tool in one's hand, standing before the immense chasm of space and time that is the Grand Canyon, or listening to a scientist who gazed upon the face of universe's creation and did not blink?
That is deep and sacred science."  
- Micheal Schermer

absolutely beautiful quote!

and have a look at this picture below:

Father of my land lady was an artist, so the whole house is full of paintings, sketches and empty wooden frames. This one is my personal favorite, feels like sitting in a small town European cafe, sound of a distant church bell falling into ears, looking at small passageway between the walls of houses painted with warm colors. Simply wonderful!

Every week or two the tiny flowerpot on a dining table gets new flowers. This time it were those cute yellow flowers (dont really know the name, ive always been lousy at remembering English names of different flowers!). The whole frame with thick layers of paint, light yellow wall in the background and bright yellow flowers contrasting it, what else one's eyes may need to feel delighted.

I used to think, what for waste money on flowers! That was utterly distasteful of me!

At Eternity's Gate

Came across this sketch by Vincent van Gogh, known as At Eternity's Gate or by it's more solemn alternative name Old Man in Sorrow. Such a poignant piece of simple artwork by one of those artists who had a long personal relationship with dejection and sadness. It was after his young death preceding years of mental illness and anxiety that his work reached the heights of glory he deserved and influenced range of artists.

Last time I picked up a pencil to use it for a purpose other than drawing triangles in geometry test was around ten years ago, guess I was in 7th! Probably it was during that Maharashtra board's "elementary" or "intermediate" drawing exam. Dont seem to remember exactly but I think I got a miserable C grade in that exam!

Somehow got so deeply moved by van Gogh's drawings that I was compelled to open the door of my drawer and find that untouched HB pencil hidden underneath a big pile of junk and a small notebook, both were freebies from one of the engineering exhibitions I attended ;) Googled a sketching tutorial (Great one! and spent more than two hours of cozy sunday evening fumbling my way through shades of gray and lack of my skills. But eventually it turned out to be a rewarding experience. time worth spent! beginner's luck I may say!

I wish I at least had a 2B pencil, maybe a dark charcoal one and a quality fine grained drawing paper. Graphite HB and blank side of the chequered notebook page were real pain to deal with! Anyway im gonna go to an art supply shop and get me some real nice shading pencils and a sketching guidebook!

The Old Man and The Sea

“Up the road, in his shack, the old man was sleeping again. He was still sleeping on his face and the boy was sitting by him watching him. The old man was dreaming about the lions.”

These were the last lines of a small book which I picked up from a shelf tagged as "Classics" in a book shop. It was a little boring and I was quite inattentive while reading, chiefly due to the simplistic and minimalistic writing style which conflicted with my expectation of highly sophisticated style, especially because of its abode in the "Classics" shelf. Nevertheless I was desperately looking forward to the story, amidst my contradictory yawns, waiting for the fate of that old man to unfold. He is a fisherman with white beard and deep wrinkles, dwelling in a Cuban coastal town whose worn out pants stink with fish. Who has been returning from the sea every single of the last 84 days without catching any fish. All the fishermen from his neighborhood laugh and make fun of him, call his boat the unluckiest one, except a boy. A small boy with whom he used to sail, whom he taught fishing since the boy was five. Who, now by the strict order of his parents has to fish with other 'lucky' fishermen. He brings him food, he talks to him. He takes care of the old man in a strange unspoken way, mending the blatancy of words.

Before dawn of the eighty fifth day, the boy helps him prepare and wishes him good luck. The old man unfastens his skiff from the rock and sets out, hoping to catch a big fish he has been looking for since the last eighty four days.

After three days and nights of sleepless sailing, far in the deep seas, on a starry night the old man returns.. returns with...

And in the next morning,
“Up the road, in his shack, the old man was sleeping again. He was still sleeping on his face and the boy was sitting by him watching him. The old man was dreaming about the lions.”
were the last lines of a small book which I picked up from a shelf.

What makes it so special? I am not good enough with words and articulation of my thoughts to put the reasons into an understandable clear prose, why did it hit me so much? For the old man, was that a heart wrenching defeat or the greatest victory in its own wonderful sense? is that really the most important question? or the question should be "did it make him loose all the hopes and give up? with his deep blue eyes, defeated? or was he so very at peace, dreaming of lions that he once saw on the African beaches when he was young?"

Its was a story told with simple words and with a simple ending, still and all, left behind an extraordinary impression and an unsettling feeling. I did put that small novel back in its place on the wooden shelf, with its bound side outside, vertically showing off "The Old Man and The Sea - Ernest Hemingway". Then looked at the tag "Classics" and found a slow smile spreading across my face.