Sunday, February 28, 2021

Award, Anthology and Judge

Started my year with grace from the Omnipresent Light and paying forward the gratitude to the Universe and the few people in my life who have always supported and stood by me in my journey. Creative field is a tricky one where it’s so difficult to get a good foothold. Fortunately, it is times like this when our efforts are acknowledged that one feels fulfilled and reminds others that arts do have a purpose. Not everyone concedes to it though. I guess they find it hard to do so. Arts mean something (while Arts mean everything to some)!

The first mention is the OrangeFlower Awards by Women’s Web, a well-known platform for women and the other genders who have been tirelessly promoting women’s welfare issues across every segment of life. I received the prestigious “Artgram” Award 2021 from this very established platform! Except that, it had been an online event if not for Covid! It was a well-thought out and extremely well-organized occasion with some amazing speakers and discussions in between. Extremely thankful to the entire team of Women’s Web and the Orange Flower Awards. Kudos to all the powerful souls who were nominated, shortlisted and won!

Artgram Award 2021-Orange Flower Awards-Women's Web-HuesnShades

Received this badge as memento for display on this blog! 

Artgram Award 2021 trophy-Orange Flower Awards-Women's Web-HuesnShades
Picture clicked by my dad as this trophy reached my home back in India while I am in Dubai right now.

The second is “The Kali Project: Invoking the Goddess within” where two of my works were selected from amid 1000 submissions. One of my poems and an artwork found home here. Honoured and overwhelmed to be part of this International Anthology – The Kali Project, published by Indie Blu(e) Publishing, USA conceptualized by Candice Louisa and Megha Sood. The Kali Project is the #1 new release in Asian Poetry. It’s a power-packed anthology of fierce and passionate Indian voices from around the world. It’s an amazing experience to be part of a badass multilayered expressions, interpretations, assertions, narrations and renditions summoned from within the depths. Can’t thank you enough Candice and Megha for putting this together! Kudos to you, your team and all the incredible authors and artists in this project for the power-loaded, abundant anthology. The stunning cover is designed by Mitch Green!

The Kali Project: Invoking the Goddess Within-HuesnShades
"The Kali Project: Invoking the Goddess Within"

The Kali Project: Invoking the Goddess Within-HuesnShades

Kali-The Kali Project: Invoking the Goddess Within-HuesnShades

Untamed-Kali-The Kali Project: Invoking the Goddess Within-HuesnShades

Bio-Untamed-Kali-The Kali Project: Invoking the Goddess Within-HuesnShades

Sharing Stories, a splendid online magazine entrusted me with the job of shortlisting the poets for their upcoming Poetry Awards. It was a unique experience to go through a delightful range of subjects and an enjoyable familiarity to share the amazing poets’ experiences and journeys, thoughts and feelings. It made me wonder at the caliber and talent spread across and around us! In case you are interested, you can download the magazine HERE. You can find previous issues too.

Sharing Stories - Book Awards 2021 - Panel of Judges -HuesnShades
Sharing Stories - Book Awards 2021 - Panel of Judges 

Finally, Thanks to everyone who has faith in me and my work, who have been constantly following my works here on my blog and elsewhere for years and who have constantly showered me with love and encouragement. Deeply in gratitude!  

So how is life treating you, my friends?

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Reminiscing “Lover’s Eyes” on Valentine’s Day

What if we could give a part of oneself, in some miniature form, to the one we love and adore without revealing our identify to the rest of the world? What if that miniature form is something you can wear everyday like a ring, pendant, brooch or a charm? Something that remains close to you, that you wear, hold it to your bosom and kiss at will. That is what the lovers in the late 18 century to early 19 century did. Since Valentine’s Day is perfect for such a theme, I am sharing with you a tiny tale of romance, intrigue, saccharine days and the lovelorn aftermath. However, the story mainly is about the ornament that held the affection decades in the Georgian era though.

Alexis Zambrano-Lover'sEyes-HuesnShades
Artwork : Alexis Zambrano
lovers eyes art print illustration

Prince wooing a commoner – A Cinderella-like tale

It is said to have started when Prince of Wales, love struck, relentlessly wooed Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert to marry him which was preposterous at the time considering that she was twice- widowed and a Catholic while Prince of Wales who later went on the become King George IV was a Royal Anglican. To escape from his wooing, Maria even moved to France but the Prince, like any hot-blooded-star-struck-lover, wouldn’t give up, sending gifts and even making a suicide attempt. He then commissioned Richard Cosway, a miniaturist, to paint his eye and sent it to her as a token of love along with a marriage proposal. The gift to her astonishment was an intent “eye” painted for Maria’s eye alone making it the subject of her gaze while she herself became the subject of the Prince’s gaze. It is an intimate gesture – the gaze. Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert invariably couldn’t resist and succumbed to the wooing. Later he presented her with another eye miniature and it was said that she returned in kind. They married against all odds only to later move apart due to the clutching circumstances of the time shortly after their union. Their marriage was declared illegal and the Prince remarried his cousin, Catherine or a German Princess of which I am not sure. Much ado about nothing was what was left, I guess!  

Convex glass backing with Prince of Wales hair plumes-Dr David Skier Collection

Eyes catch Fire

When this story wafted into the country, the rich modelled their love following the Prince’s suit. There was a surge of such tokens being exchanged as rings, brooches, pendants, toothpick cases, charms etc. It apparently became fashionable. The painting or the eye miniature itself was no larger than the nail of the pinky finger (some from a few millimeters to around two centimeters) and it was encrusted in rubies, pearls, garnets, turquoise, diamond depending on the wealth of the lover and of course the sentiment. It sometimes even contained a lock of hair. These romantic keepsakes were in vogue from 1780s to 1820s when they would bestow it upon their paramours keeping their identity a secret from the inquisitive eyes. However, ironically, declaring that they were having an affair leaving the rest of the world to question and wonder.

Philadelphia Museum of Art-Lover'sEyes-HuesnShades
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Eye Miniatures or the “Lover’s Eyes”

The term “Lover’s Eyes” was coined by a New York based antique collector, Edith Weber.  It is estimated that only around a 1000 exists today. They were painted in watercolour or gouache on ivory.

“Treasuring the Gaze: Intimate Vision in Late Eighteenth-Century Eye Miniatures” by Hanneke Grootenboer provides new insights into the art of miniature painting and the genre of portraiture.

Image: HauteMacabre,com


During the reign of Queen Victoria the painted eye miniature gradually took a different connotation becoming the memorabilia of the dear departed. The pearls surrounding it indicated the tears. The coral warded off the evil, garnets symbolized friendship, diamond signified the wealth, obviously. Sir Charles Ross, the Royal Miniaturist, was commissioned to make such objects of affection during her era of reign.

Mourning motif 

Victoria and Albert Museum-Lover'seyes-HuesnShades
Eye Miniature, early 19th century-Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Dr. David Skier is an eye surgeon from Birmingham who was so fascinated by these miniatures that along with his wife, Nan Skier, started collecting “Lover’s Eyes”. They held an exhibition of their unique collection of around 100 pieces, one of the largest collections, at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama in 2012.

Dr. David Skier Collection-Lover'seyes-HuesnShades

Dr. David Skier Collection-Lover'seyes-HuesnShades

Dr. David Skier Collection-Lover'seyes-HuesnShades
Dr. David Skier Collection, Birmingham Museum of Art

Contemporary Artists

Fee Greening, Lorraine Loots, Mab Graves, Celeste Mogador, Sarah Hendler, Alexis Zambrano etc. are some of the known contemporary artists who have explored the eye miniatures.

Personal Statement

Here’ my version of eye miniatures of my daughter and my beloved.

My daughter's eye -Right eye

Beloved-right eye

What do you think of the “Lover’s Eyes”? Would you be interested in such a keepsake, a token of love?

If your interest is piqued and if you would like to own/gift such a painted memorabilia do send me an email ( with a picture of your beloved’s (left/right) eye and I shall message you the terms.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Do let me know your thoughts about this post in the comments.