This is a drawing of the ninth guru, 'Guru Tegh Bahadur' who was beheaded in 1675 at the age of 54. And is part of my 'Sikh Art' exhibition taking place in November in Walthamstow East London. But before I go into the story behind the drawing I must clarify that this artwork has no relation to what is going on around the world today.
In the 17th century The Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb was trying to convert India into an Islamic country. In Kashmir some of the conversions in Kashmir happened peacefully but the policy was also done by converting non-Muslims by force. A group of Kashmiri Hindu Pandits, approached Guru Tegh Bahadur for help. They, on the advice of the Guru, told the Mughal authorities that they would willingly embrace Islam if Guru Tegh Bahadur did the same. Orders of the arrest of the Guru were then issued by Aurangzeb.
The Guru was arrested at a place in July 1975 called Malikhpur near Anandpur and they then departed to Delhi. Before departing he nominated his son, Guru Gobind Singh as the next Sikh Guru. He was kept in custody for over three month along with some of his followers, Bhai Dayala, Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Sati Das. Guru Tegh Bahadur was subjected to many cruelties, he was kept in an iron cage and starved for many days. The Guru was made to watch as Bhai Mati Das the devoted Sikh was tied between two pillars and his body split in two by being sawn alive. Bhai Dyala was boiled alive in a cauldron of boiling water and Bhat Sati Das was wrapped in cotton wool and set on fire.
Finally on November 11, 1675 The Guru was put in chains and ordered to be tortured until he converted. When he could not be persuaded to abandon his faith 'Guru Tegh Bahadur' was publicly beheaded with the sword of the executioner as he prayed. The Gurus body was left in the dust as no one dared to pick up the body for fear of the emperors reprisal. A severe storm swept through the city and under the cover of darkness a Sikh named Bhai Jaita managed to collect the Guru's sacred head and carried it off to Anandpur Sahib to the Guru's son.
Guru Tegh Bahadur is popularly known as "Hind Di Chadar" i.e. "The Shield of India", in reference to his supreme sacrifice to protect Hindus of India and the religious freedom of other non Muslims in Mughal India.
I am gonna be a little hard on you.
Overall I think it's a good piece . You get the point across and at first glance all looks pretty convincing.
You are increasing in the complication of your compositions and lay out. The perspective of the buildings looks to be about right and the tree looks good and placed well in perspective. The people in the back ground look right in perspective and the people in the from tot the image seem to be as well at first glance.
The dirt and rocks also look good.
No on to some issues that I see.
- I'm still gonna get ya on the ear, it's seems to be your default ear. Ears are as individual as finger prints, take advantage and it will make your portraits stand out more.
- His hand, specifically his right hand, the body of his hand seems awkward. Perhaps it's how it tappers into the sleeve but the shading on the knuckles… wait, now I see it. It looks as though he only has 3 fingers and a thumb. He is missing a knuckle, unless of course he is suppose to be.
Next, the guy swinging the sword:
- His left arm. It is that of a 90 year old man. The way that it is shaded give the appearance of loose floppy skin, no muscle tone. This leads all the way into the hand which has awkward shading as well. It gives the impression that some of the bones are in the wrong spot.
- His face, his features are misplaced. His eyes are slanted down to much on his right side, his nose is too straight with his right nostril being too low. All that makes his mouth look like it's facing too straight on to the viewer.
- Now his right arm, his is swinging in and lacks muscle tone but the big thing that stands out is his bicep is way too big. Especially when looking at his old man arm on the left.
Now the guy on the left:
- Same problem with his nose as with the other guy.
- His right leg doesn't look long enough in the thigh to knee and then perhaps the knee to foot is too short as well? But what is odd, and maybe it's the type of foot wear but it looks like he has the wrong shoe on. His foot looks a little too small but he looks lille he is wearing his left shoe on his right foot.
I know they are not the focus and meant to blend in more then anything but the legs and feet all look the same. Maybe that's what you wanted?
- You can tell that you focus on the lead character and his clothing looks best. The clothing on the next 2 guys back is too soft and lacks attention. Same can be said for the background people though maybe if all the guys upfront were done a little sharper then the faded background would look better. But as it is, the soft look covers the entire drawing minus the main character. But I think the drawing itself would benefit from a sharper forefront.
As a side note, like I said in the beginning, you composition is getting more complex but I feel like your rendering is getting less crisp. Everything maintains a "blended too much look". I have been noticing this in many of your themed drawings that have multiple characters in them.
Your improving on certain aspects but try not to let other suffer as a result.