The Starview house staircase goes up high along two floors starting from the ground floor where the ceiling is quite high.
These staircase walls are some of the first things that I painted in the house. They have lasted quite well over the years. We did have an electrical fire that did some damage and I had to repaint some parts, but it is almost impossible to see anything was repaired.
I used medium-size brushes with long hair to paint the long grass that grows on the hillsides around the house. I mixed at least five different colours of green with a big dollop of white on a steel plate. Then I loaded plenty of green paint on the brush and placed some white on the brush tip (this is a technique that I still use from when I learned Chinese painting). I then placed the tip with the white higher on the wall than where I want the grass to be. Then I quickly pulled the brush down towards where I have painted the ground and where the blades of green grass are painted. Loading the white on the brush tip gives the impression that there is a white reflection from the sun‘s light. The consistency of the paint has to be like cream.
There were days where all I did was paint grass, but I enjoyed it because there were so many different ways of doing it. Every time I stepped outside I saw the wind create new patterns on the grass and I just replicated what I saw outside.
We can often see swallows fly like little Kamikaze fighter planes outside the house, zooming, swinging and dancing around the rooftop. Of course, I copied and painted this real outside image of the swallows to fly along the staircase and throughout the house.
The whole effect is warm and light, like the heart of the mountains with the wind blowing in its many voices. The wind blows differently in Mussoorie. Its voice is very strong, rattling the pine tree branches and needles to play in the wind and make rustling sounds. The pine trees are also painted along the staircase. Some are large and dark and some light and fading towards small in the background.
There is a completely different scene as you go to the upper part of the staircase on the second floor. Here is a painted fire. A startled small traditional cow dislodges some rocks. A rabbit and a mouse look up to check what is happening.
I like the contrast between the 2 parts of the staircase. The windy peaceful scene downstairs and the other part with the fire upstairs. There are many fires in the mountains. They can come at any time, especially in the summertime when everything is really dry. At that time we can see maybe 10 or 20 fires burning on various hillsides around the house.
My mother, who is a tapestry weaver, really liked this painting. She made a beautiful tapestry based on it that is just the same size as the original. It is included here.