Laurence O'Toole

Objects & Paintings

The Indian Experience  —  1983-87

 

First visit to India.

This was the title that I gave the work inspired by first visit to India in December 1983. I had gone to India for a month to further my yoga practices at the Iyengar Yoga Institute. Whilst in Pune I stayed at the CPS Ashram. Here at the time were an assortment of fellow yoga practitioners, visitors and pilgrims. The Ashram was run by a mixed group of older nuns, both catholic and protestant, European and Indian. They had integrated their Christian beliefs within the Hindu tradition with many of the sisters also practicing yoga. This was to be my inspirational base as I imbibed the culture and colour of my new environment.

I enjoyed walking around and observing people going about their lives. I took a camera with me to record events and things of interest. The original series of paintings were based on compositions I had taken with the camera. I had very little interest in copying the photographs, I wanted to create in paint and colour the experience of India. The photos were used like sketches that were open to revision. They were simply seeds that had the potential for germination. I did take some oil pastels with me to India and produced a few sketches, one of an elderly gardener sitting on the floor on the verandah I used much later as the basis for A Prayer before Supper (1987). By this time I had decided to paint in a completely different way to those that I undertook in the preceding years after the journey to India.

 

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