We just spent two colorful and exhausting weeks exploring India—specifically Delhi, Agra, Udaipur and Varanasi. This is a culture very, very different from ours. There were moments when I was further from my comfort zone than ever before, and those are some of my favorite memories.
The common thread everywhere we went was overstimulation. Streets are choked with constantly honking vehicles, cows, feral dogs, and aggressive solicitations from shopkeepers and touts. My wife was openly stared at by men at all times. Factor in that you need to be watching your step for missing chunks of pavement while also trying to take in all the beautiful crumbling architecture and vivid colors, and it gets exhausting fast.
Udaipur in particular is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. It’s positioned around two large lakes, and the architecture seems conjured from a blend of European and Middle Eastern fairytales.
Varanasi, an ancient city where religious pilgrims visit the holy waters of the Ganges River and public cremations are performed, was flooded when we visited, lending an already very foreign place an especially strange, haunting aesthetic.
These watercolors, like these words, could never fully convey my experiences of such a vast place and culture. India is big, and we'll be going back some day for another glimpse. Meanwhile, I’ve got plenty of inspiration for some possible new oil paintings!