Sunday, November 30, 2014

America: Time is Now

America: Time is Now
Approx. 8 x 11
Mixed media/ digital

How many times did you tell yourself that one day you'd do this or one day you'd do that. A different job, a new hobby, writing a book, or something that you've always dreamt to do one day. 
That one day is today. In fact, its right here, right now! 
The theme of this artwork is highly inspired by the thoughts on these lines.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Working for Self, Seriously?

I need to share about the freelance work.

Recently I had been asked what I do. And I tried to keep the answer tidy and direct.
"I am an artist."
"Oh wow. Okay." Followed by a pause. "So, what do you do?"
"I make art." I said excitedly, explaining process of painting portraits.
"No, I mean what do you do for a living?"
Okay, it was little awkward.
"I work as an artist, full-time. That's what I do."
Longer pause.

It would have been easier if I had said, hey I am an engineer. And conversation would probably have been on where I work or on what technology.

But, this is what I signed up for. So, enjoy the perks of being different. Enjoy the freelance life!


After meeting the deadlines for the Fall shows, exhibitions and shows its a time for getting back to the work and letting that rush-to-create to overcome you. I can finally focus fully on the series' at hand.

While I wasn't blogging, in the past weeks, I

1. Finished two more oil portraits.
2. More than 2 pen portraits
3. 1 America artwork

Until the next post!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Joy of First Time : Pen Portraiture

I have always imagined drawing with pen quite hard. Due to multiple reasons, which I would list below, I didn't try to render much in pen.

1. Fear - pen won't erase, so if you make mistake, it can't be corrected and you'll have to work all over again.
I cannot tell you how deep-rooted this fear was! We all learn to write in pencil and gradually move onto the ink. Assuming as we grow, we learn how to write without making mistakes or learning to correct the correct way.
But for the art, most of us don't take the risk of making mistakes. I heard from many experienced artists how they do the first draft in pencil and then switch to pen. Serves some of us well.

2. Myths - pen art is not art. Can you believe that! Some still contest the real art is what painted upon and not just drawn. Well, to me, anything created with sincerity is okay to share with others. Let the debate go on, you focus on wherever your creativity takes you.

3. Lack of value range - this was something that kept me off for so long. What a myth! You and only you can keep yourself from giving the depth to the artwork. There are different techniques but sure a full range of shades.

But it just happened. Because its a milestone for me, I will share my story. Before hitting the bed, I had to choose the best reference picture of the model. One looked more promising than the other but second one has a striking unavoidable appeal. So, I decided to do underdrawing of both. Sleep can wait. This idea cannot! whichever looks better will turn into a final painting.

I had my supplies lying around and I decided to draw the rough sketches before going to bed. Shortly, first drawing was ready and I started the second one. By the time I finished, I realized, I was using pen, inadvertently. Oh woah, I don't use pen, I told myself. But I did and it was a big deal for me because the result was astonishing!  The output was darker, clearer, and bore striking likeness in much fewer marks as opposed to the charcoal, the usual medium for this purpose. Oh my, I had pleasantly surprised myself.

What can I say. This has made me a very happy person. In the days that followed, I am not able to put the pen down. One more, just one more!

My hands are tired, my wrists hurt, but the sketching is very enjoyable. You should try it! Here are some detailed pics of what I made as a full portrait out of this new love.

 Look, Ma!
9 x 12
Pen on paper

Details of above

I am not sure what's making me more happy - breaking the myth, seeing the light or is it pure joy of learning something new.

Either way, I am happy to share it with others. Tired muscles behold! You have a lot to do. :-)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Progress Through the Festival Season

Oct 8 - Oct 27 :  63 Days and counting

As far as the series is going, I'd say, its going good. There is progress, learning, and lots of excitement.

Let's just say, we are almost halfway through.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Portraits, Techniques, Likeness, and Life

Oct 1 - Oct 7: Day 49th of Friends Series

I have been drawing, painting, reading, and writing lately. As mentioned earlier, I met many new people during art show. And I cannot describe how helpful other artist have been. They gladly shared what they know and later sent more as promised. I cannot thank them enough for their help.


This is  a bonding process where a person tries to create his own version of how one sees. Its art and it also is science. Its 2 D in technicality and heavily 3 D for the artist. Or 4 D if you add the artist's perception to it. Artist tries to capture the essence of the model over the period of time.


There are as many techniques as there are portraitist. No single one is right or better. Some find realism to be the most disciplined form which may be true in a sense that if that's your goal in the first place. But over time, you learn to immerse in the process, and start to enjoy the process so much and so, that you hardly bother if that highly acclaimed belief of realism is only a way of seeing things.  The artistic license lets you enjoy the journey and the destination. Choose what suits you!  This is what I did for one of the works.

Likeness in Portraits

People find portraiture as hard because they think getting the likeness is not easy. Its true. Its not easy to get the likeness if you don't practice enough. There is a lot of relativity among different angles and shapes and the process requires a lot of swinging back-and-forth while creating a face.

When I do it with pause, there seems to be a harmony in the process. The focus is not on one part but the face as a whole. With this in mind, things just seem to be right. And when its right, you stop and gauge the balance. After a while, the process starts to balance itself.

Bonding Experience

I usually know when to stop. The work starts to speak for itself. It becomes a whole with its own identity and charm. At that point, artist need to take a step back and let the work enjoy its own identity. The bond between the subject and the artist moves on to next level. And that is a marvelous experience. Its too complex to explain in words.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

First Juried Show

Sep 30: Day 44

With this day the month of September comes to a close. In October, we hope to see diversity experiment and the results thereafter. Here are some pics from the weekend :

The show was well attended

The work of artists were unique

The acknowledgement

The food

Monday, September 29, 2014

Call for Models for Series Friends is now closed


I would like to thank you all for showing support and participating in the series Friends. The call is now closed.

 Niles Park

If you wanted to participate but could not, please feel free to contact me. I will surely be able to use the help for the future projects.

In the meantime, its all on me. Thank you again and I look forward to the progress!


Sep 29 (Plus week of 22 - 26): Day 43rd today

Status Update

I have some progress during this week. Its about time I had some pics of the work available here. But I think, it is better to hold off for now.

If you are one of the models, please feel free to mail me for the pictures. I will be happy to send you yours WIP picture log.

To do

As I look at the numbers, I feel this project has slowed down quite a bit. The reasons are many but I have to focus on what's been accomplished. So, here are some guidelines for self:

  • By the end of the week, have one piece ready from start to finish.
  • Organize the to-do list datewise.
  • Mail out the drafts.
  • Update FB group on closing of call

Other Stuff

Last week, I had the opportunity to met with many artists during an exhibition reception. Some were new but most were quite experienced. They work in different media.

Its amazing to encounter so many creative people who use interesting ways to express themrselves. We shared lots of ideas and I was offered some great pieces of advice.

As I get back to the regular workday, I think about the event and the inspiring crowd.

America: States United

America: States United
8 x 11
Mixed media/ digital
Its second painting in the series of America. 

This painting is inspired by the first one, focusing on the history, this time.
To highlight past, the flag is shown in toned down hues. The wheels, the essential - states of the times - project harmony, diversity and interconnection.
The machinery somehow shows an upward tilt, which was unintentional yet intuitive gelling with the overtones of progress and growth of the nation.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sep 18 - 19 : Day 37 Today

There are some changes underway. I have to get back to the drawing board (literally!) to make the changes in the series.

This means a slight delay as far as the weekly progress is concerned but Its within the scheduled deadline.

I have sent the new set of pics for printing and I await the pickup.

America - The Super Machine

America: The Super Machine
8 x 11
Mixed media/ digital

Its a wonder and relief that we are all different. Its this difference that make us beautiful. We come from different places, backgrounds, countries, and beliefs but its our acceptance and a sincere smile that lets us open up our hearts. When we learn to embrace the differences and seek the joy in the smiles of others, we enrich. Not just ourselves but others around us.

As the world becomes smaller, we all contribute to the global homeland and hope to leave it a better place than we found it.

About the painting: Shows a place by its flag where each and everyone contributes their part.  Role of some parts is less, for some it may be big - more visible, but every single one's, irrespective of their size, is necessary.  Along the way, parts wear out, get replaced with newer ones but the machine only works when it all moves together!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sep 15 -17 : Day 35 Today

I am happy to report that I have only a few of the under sketches to do this week. If everything goes by the book. I should have 2 more finished pieces ready to show.

I have to admit, I am not quite regular on posting pictures. Its seems like a commitment to transfer the pics from cam to com! Its comforting to know that its all there and will be posted and thus gets ignored in the light of work-at-hand and creating art.

Last week was special for I participated in a well attended artists' reception to the HTLT exhibition that opened last week. Loved to meet so many established artists at one place. Attending it with family was a dream come true. I would like to thank all my friends who support me and came down to the gallery.

If you are planning to go, please make sure to check the main hall of the gallery where my work is on display until Oct 11.

Sep 8 - 12 : Day 30 Reached

This week was super special in terms of personal and familial milestones. So, it was no wonder that the blog was somewhat sidelined. But there was a lot of activity in the studio-space.

This is what was done:
  • Underpaintings for the selected pictures. 
  • Some passed others didn't.
I am happy that the work is paying off. It takes time to weigh in all the options by making a sketch out of the selected headshots and then selecting the one that looks better, but its rewarding to give each option a try and then making a final cut. What I mean is the order of steps as follows:

  1. I select  5 - 7 headshots out of 25 - 40 model shots.
  2. Try to thin it down to final 3 - 4
  3. Draw a charcoal study sketch for all 3 or 4
  4. Pick 1 out of the last bunch
  5. Paint the selected study
  6. If its not what I planned, back to step 1

Its tedious but worthy of efforts.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sep 3 - 5 : Day 25 to 27

I could finish what I planned and more.

I finished the underpainting and later retouched it.
Its not what I had in mind, so I ma going to change it one more time.

Or, pick a different ref photo. I took some pics of the work but when I am too occupied, taking pictures is simply forgotten.

Also, there is good news to share. Remember, I mentioned a deadline earlier. That resulted in an acceptance. I would look forward to see the exhibited piece in the gallery.

In this past week, I met some amazing people. Talented, smart, kind and helpful. Its nice to learn something new from others.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sep 2 : Day 24

By the end of the day I hope to get a few things covered:

Underpainting done
Pictures taken of the work
Make the phone calls

Day 22 and 23 (Aug 28 - 29) : Weblog Update

I had some rough sketches and charcoal studies on what will work on what. I guess I will be using a size 12 x 16 or larger for most.

A long weekend and finally a chance to get back to work!

Rough under sketch for a model:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day 19 - 21 (Aug 25 - 27) : Weblog Update

Its getting close to a 30 day mark! Kind of a milestone figure for this series. This is a beautiful number if you think about it. "Do something for thirty days and becomes a habit!"  So, I look forward to keep working this way til I hit 30. And assuming, by then, it will be my habit to paint routinely, I will be all set for the remainder of the work.

It also makes me want to work harder to convince myself to set higher goals and chasing after it!

This week I changed the medium. Little bit. From soft pastels to oil.

There are some techniques that are common for both types of pastels but I feel, the output is dramatically different.

Both are, however, not interchangeable. Both have merits and limitations in setting the mood, building the layers, and delivering the results.

This week, I created two paintings, start to finish. Its part of another deadline that I had to chase. Both are differently themed and somewhat loose in approach of portraiture.

Day 14 - 18 (Aug 18 - 22): Weblog Update

This past week, there was a deadline to meet. This just made me slow down on my series Friends. Which, in fact, is a good thing, given it gave me a chance to do the squint eye test on the project as a whole. After a full week of planning, preparing, working and executing Friends , this welcome distraction came as a pressure valve. 

Looking back, I can say, it has helped me get back to work rather fondly.

Before calling it a week, I had, finally, finished  model 1 for the series.  Airbrushed and ready to frame!  Details of the portrait process can be found here. I would look forward to some good references for the framers at this point. I keep looking...

As a side note, I have been reading Picasso lately.

It made me quite amazed by the depth and breadth of the work by this genius. I also feel there has been many places where he's routinely quoted out of context. He had deservedly earned the respect and legendary fame.

Another book on the reading list is, Ajanta Caves. It is a a beautiful reference book for anyone interested in enjoying the historical arts. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pastel Portrait Process

Here is the finished portrait that got completed last week.

18 x 24.5
Soft pastels on paper

I have compiled the process in a video. Not sure if that works here but let me try. Please see if this link works for you:

Here is direct youtube link, just in case.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sweet Tomatoes

This piece was created in Fall of 2011.

   Sweet Tomatoes
20" x 16"
Oil on

Recently I  donated the above painting to Epicurean Delights. This will be used for a good cause, raising money for charity. I am happy the admin suggested that. Thank you, Shalini!

The composition involved fresh ripe tomatoes, a small latern, and an everyday cup. The idea was to show the tomatoes sliding off of a a basket onto the table. I tried to reflect time of Fall by fresh harvest and barely visible dried leaves.

I remember almost abandoning this painting in the middle when I first started. It seemed like just too much work. The lantern's colors seemed impossible to imitate.

But, I kept trying. Finally, piece by piece, it all came together.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Day 11 - 13 (Aug 13 - 15): Portraits Taking Shape

Let me begin with a huge thanks to the models without whom this series would be impossible. Thank you for taking time to be a part of it.

Because of you, in the past couple of days:

  • I had gotten four portraits started
  • Prepped and primed a board
  • Completed a charcoal/ pencil prep study
  • One study of a model who offered to hold the pose for almost 30 mins

You all are super special to me!

For those who haven't had the photoshoot yet, please bear with me. You are in the list and we will schedule as discussed. If you signed up but didn't hear from me, please send me a pm.

There will be no photoshoots in the coming week but I will keep updating here and on FB page.

Will get back on Monday. Till then!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 10 (Aug 12): Backstage Bustle

To celebrate the 10-day anniversary of the series related work, I had a review cum re-plan session. Bought some supplies, restocked paints, and organized the paperwork. This backstage work is usually not the fun part but essential and calming.

Created the framework for Tree of life and worked on some to-dos.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Day 9 (Aug 11): Pastel Portrait

Usually I don't draw before I paint. I start of with the paints and refine later. But this time I tried to do differently.

Sketch with charcoal. Some basic shapes and comparative placements.

After painting, this is what the face looks like.

Added hair. No background is developed nor the clothing. Again, this is something I usually don't do. I develop the entire area as a whole. Just not this time.

An exercise to get the right colortone with pastels.

The messy workarea,  appeals a lot. A reminiscent of the productive day!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Day 4 to 8 (Aug 4 - 8): Summary of the last week

As the weekend approaches, it seems somewhat 

The week has passed and there are signs of progress. Its admittedly slow but acceptable.

Reading, photoshoots, painting, no-shows, research, and some unplanned stuff - the week was thoroughly packed and productive.

For the next week:

1. There will be one full and final portrait ready
2. Frame it
3. Finish the last chapter of the book that I am reading
4. Fill those pending forms
5. Order that golden paint, I had been meaning since forever

More next week.

Happy weekend!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Aug 1: Day 3

The day can be summed up in a picture log:

 As it all begins. With a blank canvas:

The tools of the choice. Some stay, some go:

The other medium is considered as well:

Then compared to what other stuff might work:

After some choices, some selections are made and this is what the palette looks like:

And after a while, a face starts to emerge. This angle of the face is a bit challenge, but we will judge after it is finished. This is after first hour:

Finished painting will be shared soon.

Friday, August 1, 2014

July 31: Day 2

Some things are just too hard to miss. One such thing was this door. Look closely.

There seems to be a story to be told. The colors are too distracting for the motivation to unlock what the door is hiding behind. But there is more just on the outside.

Simple construction of the door confirms the age of the material, which probably goes all the way back to say one hundred years. The wall against it, appears to be constructed fairly recently compared to the door. The arch at the top of the entryway is covering the  corners of the rectangular doors that would otherwise have matched to the opening like a congruous shape. Its somewhat hinders the view, thus, creating a slight disturbance in the harmony and grandeur of this otherwise magnificent piece.

Barring that, there is an interesting shape play between those tiny squares and the scallops at the bottom. All matchy-matchy. Yet so different. The ones above are are sharp, hard and dominantly standing stacked up as if to rudely register dominance over what neatly lies under a meek blue horizontal line in a complete surrender. Makes look the door almost king-like.

Day 2:

Some preparation is underway. A recent doctor's visit slowed the process but not for long. More tomorrow!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Drapery : Some Warm-up

A purely academical way to acquaint ourself to the details of the folds, creases and shadow-play on the fabric.

A practice work on paper using pencil. Artificial lighting. The fabric is placed on edge of the board with another corner pinned back on the board surface.

Having to use just one color, forces to separate the different shades and hence add the depth.

New Series: Friends

I am finally back from my trip and after some unpacking and likes, its time to get back to work.

This journal entry shall keep track of the work being done for the forthcoming series Friends.

The first of the ideas was to record everyday progress in a log to keep things under order and etch out a clear direction for what's to come. So, here's to very first entry:

Day 1:

I spoke to potential models about their availability and sorting out the schedule clashes. Overall, I am happy at the response and the shared enthusiasm. 

I have been meaning to keep the medium/size consistent for the series, but I am now questioning this decision as to is it necessary? Will surely get back at this as we move on.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Project : Friends

Thank you friends!

As my prior ideas about arts generated a positive vibe I would like to announce the new and officially the first project of this kind where the paintings will be created as a part of series. For this series, I would like to have you as a model.

Its an enrichment project  and a learning opportunity for me as a new artist.

Call for models

For this project you are all invited to participate as a model.
Anyone in  the range of 14 - 50 can take part. 
The portraits will be painted from your photos that I will take. So, you don't have to sit for the paintings.

The photoshoot would be 20 to 40 minutes long, followed by a get-to-know session. It would include a small introduction and discussion about details of the process. We will discuss your likes, dislikes, favorite color, and stuff like that. A mini interview, if you like.
Based on this session, I will paint your portrait.

You don't have to be present for painting part. But you can always check on the progress. In fact, I will regularly update you on the progress.

This project will begin towards the end of July or beginning of August and would continue until around Christmas/ New Year.

I will hand out more information and other details as a followup and would be happy to answer any questions that you might have.

For the exhibition purposes, your personal information will not be revealed. 

About me:

I am a beginner artist trying to make a difference with my love of portraiture.
For my sample work please visit this post.

I work from my home-studio based out of Bay Area. So, if you are local  you can visit when you like!

Project Info:

This series Friends will be created for an exhibition.

It will be a collection of portrait paintings created around a theme.

The portraits will be painted from photographs selected from the ones that I would take. Model can bring  the pictures of their liking. If you are not available for the picture shoots but would like to participate, we can set up a phone call where we can discuss how you may have your own pictures taken and sent over for the painted portraits.

During photoshoot, I will try to capture the personality as a whole. Likes, dislikes, favorite color, special interests, hobbies, and any other information that you'd like to share. If we have already met, the photoshoot time would be really short.

I am planning to paint over 20 portraits but only 12- 14 will make the final cut for the exhibition.

The painted portraits will be used for the purpose of art enrichment such as exhibition and will be available for sale after that.


Any prints of the portraits will be made available to the model free of cost.
The model can buy their original portrait after it's been exhibited.
It is a volunteering  opportunity for the art project.

For more information:

Leave a comment below, or
comment or PM me at my facebook page or 
mail me at

Thanks for reading. I hope to hear from you soon!


Faces - Portraits of Women

Here are some of the samples I picked for the variety in the medium. Oil, pastel, canvas, paper, and their combination.

Woman in pink
Oil on canvas, 12" x 14"

Oil and hard pastel on canvas, 12" x 14"

Oil on canva paper, 12" x 15"

 Self Portrait
Pastel on paper, 18" X  24.5"

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Preparing for the trip

24 x 12 (Approx.) Oil on canvas
(Retouched with pastels)

Preparation is the key to everything done well. Be it the preparation of  upcoming exam, a show, a party or anything of that nature. Planning and preparing in a timely manner makes the big task break it into smaller ones and thus can be taken care of rather easily. It helps you see the whole project as a series of smaller assignments and help you further reprioritize the remaining tasks.

Does it guarantee success? Well, there are no guarantees in life, so, the simple answer is, no. But we can agree that it's one of the influential tool to tilt the chances in the favor of success.

So, having that in mind, I will like to share that, I have been busy preparing for the upcoming trips. I hope things will be as we plan and prepare for. But I have to admit the hovering anxiety of the unknown is somewhat daunting. These are two very different trips. One is of a real trip like trip. Where you pack your bags and leave. And the second one is more in the alleys of my mind.

Now that's where the hard part is. When the journey exist in the mind, planning becomes somewhat confusing. How, what, where, and when? After a long and hard thought, I chose to what I always like to do. Talk it out!

So here it is. This year, I am going back to work as a full time artist. Soon after my abovesaid trip.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


You are looking for some ideas. Have a vague sense of what you want but not with certainty.  There cannot be anything more torturous to your keep-everything-organized personality than this mish-mash of leaving and landing ideas.

But on the same note - when light shines on the right ones, like a spotlight following a series of dancers leading to the wholeness of the storytelling in a play - is a delightful, satisfying treat.

I thank to people who are smart and sharing. They have no idea how they help making this a better place.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Just Blogging Away

In our Physics class, we had a whole chapter dedicated to achieving perpetual machine. It is that dream thing that doesn't exist!

Basically, this is how the theory goes. You work on a machine and machine does something for you in return. Like a bike. You rotate the paddle and bike moves forward. Its this effort of yours that makes the machine work for you. Good enough. We should be happy about it. But are we? Ever?

We learnt that the machine always gives back lesser than we gave it. That's not right. We are humans, for crying out loud. We are never happy with what we have.

We want more. To get more is the aim. Wait, that's not it. The real aim is, to get everything without having to give. No, really.

And that's leads to our fantasy of a perpetual machine. A machine that keeps giving once you hit start button, without asking anything in return.

Pause. (A long one).

We humans want everything to be a perpetual machine. I think we need to take a moment to think about this arrogant attitude. "We oughtta have it 'cuz we deserve it!" won't help. It pops up everywhere. Respect, dedication, love, passion, compassion, and all of those intangible feelings that actually make things worthwhile cannot be imposed or asked back in return.

You just have to give. With an open heart. If not for yourself, for others. Just like that. Life is not a perpetual machine, its more than that, but you have to make the first move.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Day 30 (Thursday): Self Portrait

I made my portrait in profile. Its going good.

With this, I finished my thirty day marathon! And yes, this made me learn a lot which I will share in a separate blog post.

Thanks for reading and sending your feedback.

Day 29 (Wednesday): Some Drawing with Pen on Paper

I shopped for some supplies for the work. In the meantime, I read, wrote and drew some.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Day 28 (Tuesday): Head Study in Oil

And this was one of those not so right days! Try as much as you like, but it won't happen.

So I painted everything red. No really. And it helped.

And look, its 28th day. Could be 29th, not sure, I don't think I did a great job keeping this log accurate, but either way, now that its either, it makes me content to accept the 30 day rule.  Habit forming or not, it definitely helps putting things into a perspective of discipline, hard work, and consistency.

Looking forward to tomorrow for new beginnings!

Day 27 (Monday): Another Head Study in Oil

Okay, this was the right day. 10 minutes and bam! No more, no less.

Day 26 (Friday): Head study in oil

After a few earlier attempts, I fixed few distractions.

Taking up all the available space for the placement of head.   

Its a real hard one for me.  So, I covered part of the canvas leaving work space peeking through a waste-paper frame. Problem solved. Once reached to the corners, I removed this temporary paper-frame and voila, I have a blank border available and the main subject doesn't seem to confined within. 

Mood can dictate a lot. 

So can the weather. So, be prepared for this. 

Some days are oil days, others are pastel

Just deal with it.

Right days versus not so right ones

There is nothing a deep breath can't fix.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Day 25 (Thursday): Oil Portrait Started

I have observed some amazing artists work on portraits. They have their own styles, techniques, and rhythm. But they have one thing in common. It is this - the face on the canvas starts to show the likeness right from the beginning. You can tell its going to look right.

I feel its very empowering. Knowing you are going in the right direction boosts your confidence, helps you create better and ultimately earns you respect as an artist. That's what we strive for - being respected by your peers.

That's it for today. More tomorrow.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day 24 (Wednesday): My Princess II Finished

Worked on the portrait started yesterday and practiced getting it finished in limited strokes. I have come to realize that :

  1. Its the first mindful stroke that matters. Dabbling on an area multiple times just kills the thrill of painting.
  2. Painting is more about enjoying the process. So go slow. It will show up in the painting if you rush!
  3. You know it when you get it right. There is no other gauge for the  good work.
  4. Before you discard, review critically. Most times, a small change can alter the outcome.

For tomorrow:

Portrait in oil.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Day 23 (Tuesday): New Portrait in Pastel (Untitled)

I have some good news and some bad one. Bad one first. I almost ran out of my pastels. Mostly the ones used for face. Pinks, reds, oranges and greens.

Good news - I will get new ones! I know. Its what a child feels like when going to a toystore.

I think I have to get back to the studio and will post some more soon. And hopefully with pictures.

Baby Hat

I would love to have a written pattern if anyone likes.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 22 (Monday): My Princess Completed

I think I finished this one. But I know I will give some finishing touches tomorrow.

Okay, I have to find a theme. And start to work around it.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Day 21 (Friday): My Princess Pastel Portrait

This is what you call an educated attempt. Something you do after deliberately making a mistake to prove that exception only proves the rule!

After the two previous ones, there were a couple of things that got reinforced:

  1. Practice & experiment is still the best way to conquer the fear of making mistakes. If it taught you something, its called lesson.
  2. Surround yourself with the positive people, they enrich you.
  3. Shoot for the brightest colors; nothing cheers up a piece of art like intense, pure colors
  4. Trust. If there is hesitation, verify! In this order.

I have got some books. Will read. Till then!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Day 19 & 20(Wed/ Thursday): Pastel Portrait

I have the urge to work on larger pieces. The biggest that I have is paper base of 18 x 24. Being non canva, it can't take oil. But it can handle pastel. Good enough - I had a compromise. Use pastel until  I find, (read buy), a bigger or similar working surface. I think oil pastels could have worked, but I just have a very limited sticks to offer the wide range I need for the portrait.

As a beginner I would have laughed if someone mentioned the necessity of green or purple for the face, and funny it may seem now, I cannot do much without these two colors!

Green, specially, yellow green is such a cheer spreader. I think everything is color anemic until this touches the surface. Just a thought!

Okay, so, I finished the second portrait and cleaned it up on Thursday.Hard pastels are somewhat less intense but very forgiving. I like to use it.

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day 17 (Monday): Mask finished

I think, by now, I should have the necessary courage to lay down my work out for others to see and hopefully, enjoy.

We will talk more about that. Today I finished previous week's Mask. During the work, I have come to appreciate some other artists' work and generosity. I hope his makes me look at my own work in different light.

For tomorrow. Portrait with limited strokes.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Day 16 (Friday): Mask continues...

So. I crossed that half mark! 14 more days before I have this new habit.

Lately I thought a lot about what one of the smart bloggers shared about their passion towards their work and how they get what they dreamt of. Its quite interesting, intriguing, and inspiring. You start with Yes, yes, yes. That's what I believe in too, but you said it better! And end up with some happy fuzzy feeling of approval and encouraged to deliver even better & more delightful.

I would like to be like that. To encourage others and keep learning along the way.

Happy weekend!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Day 15 (Thursday) : Oil Painting - Mask

To play around with the colors, you have to, well, play with the colors.

Bold juxtaposed against pale create the necessary drama, giving character to both ends of the spectrum. This one is more or less on these lines.

And I read. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day 13 and 14 (Tuesday and Wednesday): Portrait Study

There is not much to report really.

Practiced on the 18 x 24 sketch pad. Just like old times, I say! Love the way it liberates our creativity to draw with your entire arm, not just fingers or wrist.

And well, these ideas...I literally had trouble sleeping with so many of those coming at me at once. All for good!

Looking forward to the new day!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Day 12 (Monday): Plum Tree on Hillside Finished

I started a new charcoal sketch study. There was not much time available, but some progress can be registered nonetheless.

  • Bigger canvas is better 
  • Try to have things ready so that the studio time can be focused on the real work
  • Plan ahead. I cannot stress the importance of this bullet-point enough!
  • A discovery - Alizarine crimson is maroon!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Day 11 (Friday): Oil Painting - Plum Tree on Hillside

I worked on a landscape.

Its actually a preparation for those real ones that I had been planning all along. In this attempt, I made a glass palette, which is rather makeshift, but seemed to work just as well! I used my first brush washer. Experimented with the color mixing and value shifts.

I also made a cutout wheel to go with the Munsell wheel. Can't wait to put it to use in a project.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Day 9 and Day 10: Charcoal Portrait Practice

Day 9:

I could not resist giving finishing touches to the one I started. A few turned into quite a lot. I mean, I felt like spending more time on this one before calling it finished.

Day 10:

I repeated another one that I practiced a little while back. Some changes, smoothing rough edges, applying what I learnt. Finished a self portrait.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 8: Charcoal Portrait

Sometimes you need to follow the rules, but mostly, you should let your inner artist take the lead. Its the real you!

It helps you see what you love about your subject. A human face in this context. Is it the nose? Or eyes? Or smile - which is rare when your model is posing for you, but from picture, sure. If you can capture that special something that you appreciate, your work reflects it - effortlessly.

Today I made a mistake. I didn't have the work planned ahead of time. So, at the work hours, I was hard pressed to select and execute. I entered the studio with vague ideas and when I settled down, I wasn't sure if I wanted to open a sketch book, paint box, palette, or set up the easel! 'Disaster!' I thought aloud. This is what I promised to myself, to plan next day's work and here I was with blank as clear as my white gessoed canvas!

Have no time to waste and work on something that is necessary, I told myself. What if I had gone to an arts class knowing nothing about what the instructor would ask us to draw? Well, it wasn't all that hypothetical to imagine. I mostly encountered this in the arts class. Going in there with no clue about the subject of the class. "It will be drapery today!", The instructor would say and set up a green chenille sheet inside out with lots of enhanced folds to draw.

I had to gather all my senses to understand where should I start from!

So, today was kind of like that. Bingo! That immediately started to straighten the mental clutter. Be that person and dictate! Choose something as your assignment of the day. Anything! And that person chose portrait!

Okay then! Portrait it was. Luckily, I had a reference photo and to save the day! I stared and finished within 3 hours.I am glad to report that it did come out well.

What started as an ill-planned work day, ended on a happy note. But I hope not to make it a practice. No sir!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Day 7: Landscape from Picture

Garden Scene from picture is finished and is sent out of the studio.

It presented a good number of learning opportunities. Here is a summary:

  • To create a backyard garden scene, I planned to use a limited palette. To my amazement, that still didn't limit the spectrum of hues. Who would have thought that! There are atleast a dozen different shades of green in between the few steps of value gradation. :-)
  • All you need is a few strokes. The more you drag, the less impact it makes.
  • I finally understood what it means to see your painting before you bring your brush to the canvas. 
  •  I need more paint and bigger canvases. 

There is a thought on the timing. Sometimes all you need is, a push. Just a teeny tiny one. And you set out like a car on auto-drive. But how about the times when you need little more than that to keep your momentum. Well, we will see.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Day 6: Landscape for value study

I began the study of values,  using oils.

For this, I chose a canvas that bore the reminiscent of an earlier incomplete plein-air painting. I remembered a classmate from art class who reused canvases. He had come from China to study here to earn a name in west. I am sure, he was trying to keep his ways frugal. His work is brilliant and copying his habit, more environment friendly than artistic - made me feel somewhat more of a serious beginner!

There was no need to cover the backdrop as the first layer was already laid. Squeezing most of the work in the available time seemed hard and I have this half done work here. Hopefully, it will be finished tomorrow.

Day 5 - Oil Portrait

Not sure if I like it. Yet. But let's call it a work in progress. A baby step in the right direction.

It was worth the time spent. I had come to realize:

  • Putting down all the colors is first step, blending is next. No exceptions.
  • Cool shadow is different than warm shadow. Purple vs. orange, remember?
  • Just the right number of strokes, no less, no more. Period.
  • Try your best but also, learn to be kind when your work doesn't measure up.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Day 4 - Oil Painting

Okay, so finally I have come to oil. After a few weeks of warm-up, the brushes are out and the tubes are being squeezed out. I had forgotten how hard it is to unscrew a paint cap after months of storage. It almost amazed me how much paint a brushstoke takes. After relishing these initial hiccups, I jumped right at the work.

It helps to plan, especially when making time is more than a luxury.

I chose a simple subject to paint. The work of the artist Patty Baker had been procured a while ago. I just copied one of her paintings. Looks good. She is very inspiring and her usage of cheery colors can brighten any room, and day!

Homework is done! I have a free weekend. :-)

Day 3 - Charcoal Portrait Finished

"Do something for 30 days and it becomes a habit." - Unknown

Keeping a log for thirty days seems like a good start. This is sort of bringing me to form a new habit. I am finally able to devise a course plan and trying to score good in it. Well, see the beauty of being your own boss!

You can get an A, when you like it. Oh, and it's easier said than done. Then again, we stick to the plan and see how it becomes a habit. So, with this on our side, we conquered day 3 and finished what we started last day.

  • Gave finishing touches to the charcoal portrait. Realized, I need to work on values even more.
  • The  suggestions for the likeness*, space usage , and proportions** were used.
  • Finished it off with touch of fixative
  • Good to have a homework
** Andrew Lumis

I realized it would help to push me better if I had some homework and assigned it to myself there and then. What's more, I even started to prepare for it too.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Day 2 - Charcoal Portrait Started

Not sure why my last post is missing from the blogosphere!

I can no longer recall exactly what was on that post. Ummm, that's not very effective! Okay so, let me take a moment and see.

I think, the last post was about the first day. Actually, that Isn't very brilliant given this post is titled Day 2. So, I guess, it was on what I did for that bigger goal. I read. And I am quite glad that finally I understood the theory behind the value, intensity, hue and temperature.

Reading counts.** But its the doing that impresses the understanding better. Its like, confirming by testing it yourself. So, that was something left for the next day.

I am convinced that if heart truly desires something, that thing inevitably becomes accessible .
  • Define expectation clearly to see the outcome clearly.
  •  Give it a timeline and work smart. Hard work is essential, naturally. 
  •  Make sure you enjoy every part of the journey, otherwise its a chore. And this chore, in turn, makes the next step even a harder chore.

That was pretty much about the first day. getting back to day 2.

I practiced drawing. A charcoal pencil portrait. Worked good on marking the edges, its where the artistic eye comes handy. Worked on values.

 ** Margaret Kessler's Color Harmony

Monday, February 24, 2014

Ideas - the source of everything creative

"The hardest part of any journey is taking that first step." - Unknown

The First Step

While getting back to reading, writing, painting, or anything you love should not be hard, its easier said than done. I wish I could pinpoint the day or the time or the thought that held be from the corner of my shirt and made me stop in my track. Now that, I say it aloud here, I think I can backtrack the chain of events that made me realize the power of ideas. I mean, really what it is.

Is this the same wisdom that proverbially comes with age?

Or even at more profound level, called enlightenment. Whatever this is, its extremely pleasant. Like finding a hundred dollar bill in the inside pocket of the jacket that you so wear often but don't care to check. I mean it was there alright, but it made you happy when you finally owned it!

I know it may sound slightly disconnected at the time, but I have come to realize the timing is really the key between the good and truly refined!  And it is almost divine to have a combination of the life changing idea and the luxury of right timing to atleast jot it down for accomplishing that idea. If I could do that, I would consider it a huge success to get my first step in the right direction.

The Clarity of Thought
No matter how good your intentions are and how resourceful you may be, if you don't act at the right time, its all for nothing. As I progress here, unraveling the chain of thoughts, I am finding things more and more incoherent as opposed to what I initially had in mind. It has to go.

So, here is a start over. Some bullet points, some random ramblings and then getting back at ironing out the kinks of expressions and elaborating  for myself and whoever comes along for the ride. Fasten your seatbelts!

Here goes
  • Write down the ideas. All of them. 
  • Smile
  •  Be yourself. You are you, because of your past. Accept it and try to make the best out of it for the future 
  • Every day is not just a new day. It may be the beginning of something special, so treat it with respect. Please, don't waste a single moment.
  • Keep the thoughts in the right prioritized manner. What good is a genius idea that is left unexpressed.
  • Work with focus, determination, and with the expectation of the best.
  • Just do it, when you know, you can!   

Have Maturity, Display It 

Know what you want. Write it down.
How would you know what you want if you haven't known. Like, how would you know strawberry is your favorite fruit unless you have eaten it! 

Ummmm, wrong metaphor?

Wait, here is what I am trying to say. If you don't know where you want to go, how would you reach there? Okay, this is better. 

Ask Yourself
  • What do you want to accomplish in 5 years, 1 year, 6 months, 1 month, a week, a day. Right now?
  • If not now, when
  • Are different dreams mutually exclusive?  I hope not, otherwise, its gonna be hard, if not downright infeasible.
Label of the New Post

As I start off the new dream, which has to be shared here sometime soon, I have chosen to keep the progress log public. By baring, I hope to keep myself motivated and energized. Also, I hope this will take me an inch closer to my goal everyday.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Running running and more running

Ever woke up with an idea and the excitement to do something with it, mostly on the lines of accomplishing what you just had in mind?

I do. Everyday. Except there is not just a single light bulb, its always a chandelier of bulbs, something similar to the builders' grade chandelier. Or like a tangled web of threads, with some ends hanging loose, others just barely showing in knots here and there. Or more like a flood! A dozen or so ideas hit me, each one fighting for attention for the day.

To be continued...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Knitter Quitter

I almost not knit anymore.

But a very lucky friend chose to delight us with the best news of the year. She was going to have a baby!

Opportunity of baby knit knocked! So, let's just say, I quit knitting but knitting didn't let me. Grabbed me and didn't let me go until I finished that baby clothing - sweater, booties and hat. So, I told myself I was done.

And as any knitter would tell you, you just can't stop at one. That's almost unethical in the religion of knitting. So flew my needles and there was one more! Yes, the whole set - sweater, booties and hat.

Well, I forced myself to stop there. Really! But there was this last skein of stash left in the bag. And you can't be heartless to leave it there without turning it into a wearable. Think about the poor yarn. So. I had to crochet a scarf. I didn't even try but it got made. Like a miracle.

I tell you, I am finally done for this season. Until next project!