Tag Archives: Painting

Khan el-Khalili Market – A Must Do in Cairo

Spices at Khan El-Khalili Market

By Lakshmi:

Khan el-Khalili market – a major souk or open air market was mentioned by many as a must do in Cairo.  We passed by the market during the day and night on many of our outings in the city and always noticed it packed with people.  So, one day we decided to spend several hours walking around what appeared to be a really fun market.

First, for those desiring to go, the market does not open too early.  When we got there around 10:00 am, things were just starting to get set up.  So, the best thing to do is to get there a bit later and plan to spend several hours there.

There is a lot of affection the Egyptians have for Indians, witnessed by the craze for Indian movies, movie stars, the cuisine etc.  So while it should not have come as a surprise, we were taken aback when store keepers started yelling towards us, “Amitabh Bachchan was here, you should come in”.  Or “Shah Rukh Khan shopped for something here”.  Or, they would simply start singing a song from a Hindi movie to greet us.  After witnessing this a few times, we actually looked forward to the next greeting.  We were asked as to what city in India we were from, we were told that a particular store sold the best spices, we were asked to take dried rose petals back to flavor our tea…..the list goes on.  Needless to say a lot of warmth was exuded towards us.

The market presents a smorgasboard of items and regardless of who you might want to shop for, there is something of interest here.  Bargaining is the name of the game.  We saw handmade leather goods, beautiful pieces of ceramic ware, spices piled up on stands, little packets of pepper in red, green and black (made for a very interesting rice when I got back), musical instruments, paintings, brass ware, lamps, jewelry, belly dancing costumes, interesting hookahs and so much more.  Besides seeing all these things, you could smell so many different aromas of spices and coffee and food being cooked and served at the small cafes.

We spent a lot of time taking pictures of the profusion of colors greeting us, shopped for an assortment of items and of course spent a lot of time answering questions from the store keepers.

My one regret?  I saw a stunningly beautiful painting of the courtyard of a mosque, with people coming in an out.  It looked more like a line drawing than a painting.  The details in the work were simply exquisite.  I absolutely fell for the painting, but it was too expensive.  And I had already picked up two paintings earlier, that did not even come close to the piece of art that I was admiring.  With a few more days left in Cairo, I walked away thinking I would find a similar piece elsewhere.  I did not and even extensive internet searches since then have been unable to unearth the image that is etched in my memory.

To learn more about Khan el-Khalili market, click here:


Art Lessons at the La Jolla Athenauem – A Lovely Summer Getaway

Athenaeum Art Gallery
Source: La Jolla Athenaeum Website

By Lakshmi:

Who?  Whether you are a professional artist or a wannabe dreamer like me, you can build a lot of artistic skills, from the basic to the advanced.

What? The La Jolla Athenaeum’s School of the Arts is located at 

1008 Wall Street
La Jolla, CA 92037-4418

Phone: 858 454 5872

How? Throughout the year, this school offers a plethora of classes to cater to every skill level.  Their philosophy…. “No matter what your age or the level of your skills, we welcome you and have the right class for you. ”

Why?  Every summer, I have a quandry….how do I keep my kids occupied and yet foster their learning?  And I was honestly getting a little jealous and frustrated that my kids got to explore so many creative angles while all I got to do was hear about their day, admire their work, and stay working in my office.

So, for one summer, I decided I was going to do things differently.  I enrolled both my kids for week-long summer programs at the University of California in San Diego and decided that I was going to study printmaking at the Athenauem.   From the moment I got the catalog to the time I showed up in class, I was like a little kid brimming with excitement.

That excitement came to a screeching halt when I came to class and realized that I was going to be surrounded by artists for a week, people who knew to paint, had exhibits, made prints and sold them… and here was little wannabe me….Well, I had two choices.  I could either feel inferior or just say I was going to make a fool of myself without caring.  I chose the latter and for the next week had a blast.  From selecting colors that worked, to applying the right amount of pressure, to creating texture, we worked all day on making prints.  At lunch, I would wander off and explore a new cafe, grabbing my lunch, sitting by the ocean, feeling just so grateful for this escape and then returning to class to get my hands dirty all over again.  Interestingly, since I was new to the medium, everyone in class wanted to help out.  I would walk around and admire the mosaic-like intricate patterns created by my classmates and go back and create my own version.  A few days into it, when someone complimented me on a creation of concentric circles in shades of blue, purple and black, I felt my inner artist surging with pride.

The week was so enriching, enabling me to explore a part of my brain that had not been tapped into for a while.  I emerged from the class with over a dozen ready to frame pieces and more importantly a can do attitude that given time, I could master an art form as well.

I am sitting now on my couch looking longingly at their summer catalog, wishing I could scrape the time to go back.

If you are looking for a break with some learning, you could not find a more picturesque locale than the lovely town of La Jolla, California.

You can learn more about Athenaeum’s summer classes at


Anywhere on Planet Earth – The Beauty in Nature is Simply Amazing

Double Rainbow 

By Lakshmi:

Who? Anyone on Planet Earth

What? Nature

How? This particular attraction is free for all.  It is one of the great equalizing factors in life.  The open skies and natural beauty are out there for one and all to enjoy.

Why?  If you’ve read one or more of our posts, you know how much we appreciate the gift of exploring a new place or a new experience.  But I have to say that there is many a moment when I have sat on my deck or laid in a hammock beneath a willow tree and just been so, so grateful for that moment of beauty, existence, solitude, harmony and being one with nature.

And last evening was one of those evenings where a hue of transformations happened as I sat transfixed.  The sunny skies with clear blue clouds transformed into a dark, grey atmosphere.  I could hear the raindrops trickle down on our windows and form little spots  on our deck.  And then came the downpour, completely unannounced, like an uninvited guest who is angry and crashes in.  That lasted all of ten minutes and just as the rain vanished, the sun emerged, bathing everything around us with the most brilliant shade of light.  As I got ready to take a picture and put the camera to my eye, there emerged a glorious double rainbow.  What a sight!  And the amazing thing is anyone could have enjoyed this absolutely beautiful landscape painting created by an unknown artist.