Sunday, December 31, 2017

Adios 2017... and welcome 2018 with a new painting

I have been in this new station for 5 months now, but still feel unsettled and restless..
Like one "mojo" was missing!
I had all my paints out and all my brushes laid out...
My half finished paintings all displayed to get me going but I just wasn't getting a move on...
And then I gotta a push.
A National level Painting/sketching competition was  just the incentive needed and though I uploaded all my old ones for the competition, I was just itching to try out something new as well.
So here's what I did in 3 days flat....
Worked with fast drying acrylics and painted in the nice winter sun warming me up from within and without... and of course, endless cups of adrak ki chai (ginger tea)!
So a little peek into my last artwork of 2017.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

10 Fun Treats to Make for Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!!
As my kids have their school break, my sons was insisting that we make something fun for Christmas tomorrow.... and I looked up easy, fun, kid-friendly Christmas treats to make on the internet...
So many different, fun things popped up that I thought why not compile a small list of Christmas Treats for my readers as well?
So 10 different, fun, Christmassy treats for all my favourite people.
Have fun trying them out this christmas, or save them up for next time!

1- Pesto Christmas Tree Bread Sticks (link)
Absolutely delicious and looks fabulous too!

2- Pull apart christmas tree (link)
Fun to make and sooooo much fun to pull apart and eat!

3- Christmas shortbread cookies (link)
Colorful and vibrant that kids will have fun with!

4- Easy Christmas tree brownies (link)
Looks absolutely scrumptious!

5- Strawberry Christmas Tree (link)
slice it half, and you see a strawberry inside!

6- Santa Hat brownie bites (link)
Absolutely adorable.

7- Red Velvet Banana Bread (link)
luscious and gooey... you cant go wrong with red velvet can you? and top it that with christmassy forsting! yumm.....

8- M and Ms Christmas Cookie Bar (link)
Cut them into bite size chunks and you are good to go...

9- Holly Jolly Jello Shots (link)
So easy to make and they look like such awesome party treats!

10- Chocolate dipped ginger cookies (link)
Chewy and chocolaty at the same time, and soooo festive to look at!

These were fun to group together... and me and my boys will probably be making quite a few of them soon... maybe a couple tomorrow on Christmas Day itself...
will definitely share them with everyone.
I hope this inspires you all to get cracking have fun in the kitchen with these pretty treats.
Merry Christmas to you all!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Friday food for the soul: Hariyali Chicken Tikka in the Airfryer

Its Friday...yippee!! The weekend is nearly upon us and more than that, its the holiday season!
Kids are going to be on a school break from tomorrow...
Yeah, I know, I know.... I'll have next to NO work done from now on for two weeks!! But we've got quite a few things planned with them, so hopefully it'll be a good time for all of us!
I had put up this chicken hariyali tikka on my Instagram, quite sometime back, but here is the recipe for all of you to try this weekend! You can even grill it (bone in) on the tandoor and believe me it tastes divine and absolutely melts in the mouth.

HARIYALI CHICKEN TIKKA in the Philips Air fryer:

500 gm chicken breast (boneless) cut into small chunks or squares

For the marinade:
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
juice of 1 lemon (about 1 tbsp)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (zeera)
1/2 tsp ground garam masala
1/3 cup hung curd (curd that has been hung in a muslin cloth so that the extra water seeps out)
plain Greek Yoghurt (which is already thick in consistency)
2 tbsp cream
2 tbsp oil

Butter or ghee for basting the chicken while grilling


  1. Grind all the ingredients of the marinade (except hung curd, cream and oil) together. 
  2. Take chicken in a large bowl, add the above ground ingredients to it, add in the oil, cream and curd and mix well. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight or at least 5 hours.
  3. The next day, take the chicken skewers that you get with the grill attachment of the Airfryer. lightly oil the grill attachment as well as the skewers.
  4. Take the marinated chicken which should have come to room temperature, and thread them into the skewers, leaving a little space between them to let the heat circulate.
  5. If you want you can also add a sliced piece of green and red peppers between the chicken chunks. I didn't.
  6. In the meantime , preheat the airfryer for 2 minutes.
  7. As only 4 skewers come with the grill attachment, you will have to grill them in two batches.
  8. Once the skewers are ready, put it the basket and spray with oil, or baste with ghee/butter.
  9. Set the timer or 20 minutes.
  10. Check after 15 minutes and turn the skewers.... If they are still looking undercooked or are not grilled golden, add another 5-7 minutes to the timer.
  11. Mine got ready and crisp in 20 minutes.
  12. DONT overcook because then they become chewy and dry.

Serve piping hot with onion rings, fresh salad, a chutney/dip of your choice, a dash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of chat masala.....

You can also use this marinade for grilling your chicken in the normal Grill Oven.

For you to pin, and get back to, later:

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Peek into my studio.

I love learning how people work...
what inspires them?
what gets their creative mojo going! how different is it from mine.
What can I learn and imbibe from their routine, styles and manner of working.
And one of the best ways to learn an artist's mind is to see what do they have on their work-table or work stations? esp illustrators and artists.
It tells a lot about them.
Are they cluttered? or neat? or like a war zone? (which mine usually is)
Men have posters and comic figures, and usually have useful products laid out... no frivolous items.
while women have flowers and candles, and knick-knacks...pretty things that many a time don't have much of a practical use, but looks good and makes them feel good.
Their desks are color coordinated and pretty (mostly)

My workspace can't claim to be color co-ordinated, or state of the art, because I have to make do with whatever furniture the Govt homes are given. But I certainly like to spruce up the space with my little knick-knacks and candles and flowers. And of course my favourite pictures and illustrations!
I love to make my space as colorful as I can, to get me out of the Monday blues and the days my mind refuses to function.
So here's a peek:

Flowers: check!
Aromatic Candle: check!
Little candies and cookies in the that tiny bowl there to combat the hunger pangs.

Hand painted recycled bottles, to twig pencils and my quirky quotes!

I have my weekly blog prompts... because when I sit down at the desk, I am usually blank.
So if its Monday, I have my prompt ready for the day which goes like "Monday Moods (decor or color)" or "Monday Moment (a quick sketch of me n my boys)" or "Masala Monday (which can be food oriented)"
Or if its Wednesday... I can work with watercolors and put up a "Wednesday Watercolor" post!
You see how it works? It gets me out of my blank mental state and makes me think and come up with a concrete blog post of the day!

And this is my main weapon when I am painting... which is not these days...
But when I get my blank canvases out, this recycled caddy helps me in myriad ways.
It has my apron and spray paints and acrylic tubs and all my brushes...
And the best part is: It has wheels!
So it can follow me around whether I am busy outside or inside.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December 2017- a wreath and a tutorial video.

December is such a festive month....
and I love the chill in the air with wreaths, reindeers, Santas everywhere you look...
In the malls, shops, schools.
So to get into the groove of the festival here is my Christmassy Calendar for the month of December.
'tis the time to be jolly, y'all!!

And another one for you phone or tablet!

Also got you a bonus video of my work in progress in making this December wreath on Photoshop.
This and other videos of my art and sketching are also at my Youtube channel.
link is here at my Maryam's Art Studio Channel

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My Miniature Garden ideas and a November Calendar!

My baby sister is very passionate about miniature gardens and terrariums... and is pretty good at it.
Though I loved admiring all that she had made....but I never got bit by the bug.
Mainly because I didnt think I would be able to get the teenie tiny stuff, wherever back of the beyond world we lived in...and whether I'll have the patience to painstakingly make these tiny things.
But as one of our senior ladies of the station was leaving and she was pretty keen on plants and bonsais... I thought why not do something for her that she will remember!
So we bought a pretty, miniature Bougainvillea grown on a rocky bed... and asked the nursery chaps to lay in the moss and give some miniature mushrooms/birds to decorate with...
Took it home and started on a log cabin made out of twigs stuck on a tiny toothpick box...
got my Fevicol and my glue gun out and got started.
The little log cabin sat very well among the greenery with a white pebble pathway.
It was quite a task making it and the tutorial on how to make it will follow on the blog soon.

And then I thought why not make a tiny little chair as well?
There was an icecream stick that I used as a base to stick the twigs on... glued on the front legs first, and then the back legs were glued, which also go up to form the back rest of the chair....
Its a little untidy in a close up because you can see the glue, but looks cute when put with the surroundings.

I loved painting the cute little welcome sign on it, hung on a couple of twig poles.... I think it gives a nice look to the whole miniature garden feel.
The two little near the chair and a couple near the welcome sign complete the picture...

The nursery had also given a little rock stuck with 3-4 lady birds moving in a line...
So I thought why not add a little sign that says... "ladybird crossing"?
I saw it somewhere on Pinterest and I found the idea adorable.

Added a pretty little miniature plant to give a little foliage relief from the moss and the bougainvillea... And dont miss the tiny ceramic lantern hidden behind a tree. 

So this is how it eventually all comes together in the form of a cute little miniature garden....

I hope you like my little project, which unfortunately is being given away as a gift...
Though I am inspired enough to make another one for myself soon...
Will keep y'all posted! :-D

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Last two days of the INKTOBER 2017 frenzy!

I know, I know...October is long over, in fact its the 5th of November already and my monthly Desktop calendar is not yet made...
And I forgot to put up the last two Inktober 2017 drawings that I made...
They were up on my Facebook Page and my Instagram link, but somehow the blog lay forgotten!
The month of Inktober went by in a flash... and I am soooo glad that I took up the challenge.
Inktober I certainly hope to catch you again next year with a bit more ideas and a lot more better preparation.
But it was SO much fun!
Trying out new techniques, ideas, compositions and a few more things that I was a little apprehensive to touch!
Its been a learning month and I hope to continue with my upward curve, inshallah!
I will be putting up a YouTube video of the sketchbook and also link up here.
Stay tuned.

The Inktober Day 30 was a spooky pumpkin and a scaredy skeletal cat for Halloween...
Didnt want to make the usual gore and zombies....

and the last one, my finale seemed only appropriate to make a Scorpio woman as I am one too!
"She is mysterious, dangerous and extremely loyal...
She is a whirlwind of chaos, but she is so damn passionate that she is worth the hurricane!"
My finale as I bid adieu to Inktober-2017

Monday, October 30, 2017

INKtober2017-Days 27 to 29

I have tried a lot of different things and styles in these 3 illustrations.
The Day27 of October, aka Inktober was a Friday, so the obvious choice was a Fashion illustration.
Seeing I was craving for a cuppa coffee...I instinctively made a coffee mug illustration as well with the brown Rotring ink and black waterproof ink.

And then onto the freedom I feel while making ART!!
Did some hand lettering after ages... in fact since College days and it was pretty therapeutic while listening to Dire Straits and lettering with concentration.

A different sort of playing cards has been on my mind for a long time and though I had a rough idea of what I wanted... it took some trials and errors to get this sketch on paper.
Its still not nicely balanced out and not very neat, but then its on paper, not digital.
But I will definitely get around to doing a digital version of this pretty soon.
 So an inky Mughal Queen of Hearts for you, my peeps!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

INKTOBER 2017 illustration catchups! from a Tiger to a Witch.

I know I should be updating these here on my blog as diligently as I do on my Instagram account and my Facebook Page, but I somehow postpone and postpone till I have a BIG catching up to do finally on my blog!
But better late than never...
Here is a weeklong catching up to do on the blog of all my inktober drawings that have been done post Day19..... aka the Catwoman pin-up
For more INKtober 2017 drawing just head onto my Instagram account or maybe just type inktober on the search link located at the top right corner on the blog.

Anyhow... Day20 of INKTOBER 2017 was a Friday... hence a bit of Friday Fashion was required!

INKtober Day21 was all Sepia toned.
I had discovered a bottle of brown Rotring ink in a long forgotten pencil case and was itching to try it out for a portrait.... and also give a break to the monotony of just black and white images that I have made during the last three weeks!

With Halloween fast approaching Day 22 was for a witchy witch... loved making the background and the foreground pumpkin...
Also the graphic element of think lines versus the thick stripes and the contrasts of the stark blacks and whites!

Day 23 and I was still in the costume- Halloween mode....
why not a cute little pin-up drawing of WonderWoman for today?

Day 23 was a bit Japanese inspired, I think?
I remember seeing this kind of illustration on the internet sometime back and though I forgot to download it for future reference... it kinda stuck with me.
I remember a side profile with straight hair flowing down and a flower in the hair.
Did a bit of stippling (shading with dots) on the shading of the face for some relief.

Day 24 was for Tiger stripes....
I had completed this illustration with normal brush on the stripes...
not much detailing, but it didn't speak to me...
So to make it more interesting, I thought why not go the Zentangle route?
I was as it is, wanting to make one more Zentangle art before the Inktober marathon got over and I get back to my normal style of illustrations....
so a Zentangle Tiger it became.

Day 25 was again inspired by an artwork off the internet with this same quote...
but the illustration was kinda boring.
So I want ahead, kept the quote and made the illustration a bit more flowy and happy and in the mood, if you know what I mean??
I kinda like how this one has turned out.....

So thats all for last week's Inktober catching up.
will try hard to be more diligent with my updates.
I hope you all liked the different styles, moods and themes that I tried to capture during this month.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

INKtober2017 Day-19...Catwoman


INKtober 2017 day-17, 18,

Happy Diwali folks...
Been keeping up with the INKtober challenge and enjoying every moment.
Learning every moment.

A Happy Diwali to all of you....
I wanted to make an earthy and ethnic illustration for Diwali and this seemed just right!

Day 17: My dilemma every morning when faced with a blank page or a canvas....
So what do I make today?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

INKtober2017 catchups... from owls to portraits to fairy homes.

Inktober 2017...Day-13 to Day-16.
I have a lot of my plate...
The Military Station where we are posted is really busy socially with a lot of dignitary visits and Coffee Mornings, Ladies Clubs events... esp. this month.
So it has gotten a little overwhelming for me to take out even a couple of hours every day and churn out my INKtober drawings.
On top of that my freelancing work is also on... though in spurts!
So life is getting a little overwhelming but I don't want to quit INKtober when trying to participate for the first time....
Not when I know that I need this "me" time when I can connect with the basics of Art, and get the rust out of my hands... and I can see my work improving day-by-slow-day....

So here is the Day-13.
I wanted to draw a well etched, detailed lion but by the time I was half-way through the sketch, I lost interest and ended up drawing a cute little owl.

DAY-14- A Graphic Art Portrait.

Wanted to make another real graphic illustration... lots of solid blacks and whites and stripes and solid line work.
I kinda like how this has come about... the pretty face as well as the rendering!

DAY-15.... Looking for the elusive inner peace.
Life can get overwhelming sometimes.

DAY-16... A teensie little Fairy House.

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