Saturday, January 30, 2016

Peace on Earth: Portrait Show in Feb

For this show,  I have painted six big sized portraits,  I am sharing a couple of those here. 

While researching for this show, I came across the interesting fact that many World leaders respected the philosophy of non-violence introduced by Gandhiji and most of these followers received Nobel Prize for peace.  I chose the people who are working or have worked towards the world peace through a great deal of compassion and integrity. 

They all faced hardships, criticism, and resistance for their efforts, but they responded with love and conviction and fought for the basic rights of humanity. This portrait series is my humble attempt to show my gratitude towards these grand personalities and pay my respects to them and all those who believe in power of love.


Each portrait is painted in defined, saturated brushstrokes on the canvas.  I used direct brush drawing on the surface and for most part, let the light dominate the display instead of the actually painting the skin color.

The portraits are saturated with mid tone-hues and crisp strokes. The paint leaves no area exposed and layers of colors blend the unique effect for each viewer. Its clearly the intention to not fuss over the tight likeness but to involve the entire persona. 


From the distance the flag dominates, which introduces the country of birth of the leader, and as you walk closer, you recognize the person, and if you come even closer, you witness a playground of warm and cool tones of colors. 

India Republic Day

India celebrates Republic Day to honor the date on which the Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India. 

The main Republic Day celebration is held in the national capital, New Delhi, at the Rajpath before the President of India. On this day, ceremonious parades take place at the Rajpath, which are performed as a tribute to India; its unity in diversity and rich cultural heritage. On those lines, we try to put together a vibe of celebrations in our adopted country. This year, I am excited and honored to be part of the ceremony by sharing my portrait work.

Celebration in Fremont

The show is scheduled for Feb 6 in Central Park alongwith multiple dance and talent contests. It is an open event and you are all invited.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Pricing the Art

Art is not just a painted surface; its an expression - a representation of feelings, emotions, and thoughts in response to how the artist sees it. So, when it comes to the painting for the sheer joy of it,  its quite understandable that artist may not even want to share it with anyone. Its their very private moment that is now out there on the surface not meant to be subjected to the judgement or evaluation.
But when you are a professional, who earn their living by making art, you also make it clear that you have prepared yourself to be vulnerable! You not only invite everyone to be a judge, you in fact, ask everyone to be the critique of the work; right from the choice of the subject, color scheme, layout, process, all the way to pricing! 

How Pricing in Done

When I was starting out, I consulted many artists in regards to pricing the art. To my surprise, most suggested that after many years in profession, they still hadn't figured out a cookie-cutter way to correctly price their work. They try to balance different factors to reach to a correct recipe for the right price but it never seems perfect. There are different ways, yet pricing undoubtedly remains a tricky one. Different artists choose different ways to put a price tag on their work.

Many told me that because art is subjective and so, its juxtaposition plays an important role in the process. Meaning, one abstract art might sell for thousands because it was hanging in a high end museum, whereas another beautifully created realistic artpiece may not even cover the price of supplies when sold from the artist's home.

Some suggested going by the square-inch pricing. Its straightforward to calculate - you find the area of the artwork and multiply it by the $ and round it to the next zero. Its simple and easy to explain to the potential buyer.

Others support the pricing by number of hours times $ plus supplies.

After a while, it slowly became obvious that one should follow what suits them the best without having to compromise the quality.

My Take

Knowing, the process of pricing is your own decision. No matter what method you follow, make sure it does not affect the quality of your work. Keep in mind that :

1. The pricing should be fair

Make a price list and keep it where everyone can see it. Mention clearly what all it entails.

2. Be open

If someone is really interested in something, all they have to ask me for a discount. In most cases, I adjust to the reasonable requests and explain what I cannot.  I even have offered my 70+ hours of work for free because they convinced me so with their kindness! On the other hand, I saved a lovely piece from the hands of a disrespectful person. Disrespect towards art in particular.

And here is the most important one - 

3. The creative spark should be white hot

The passion that gets me to the work, day after day is respect for my talent.  Prime reason why I paint is because I love to do it. Why I make it available to purchase, is to create more art and to create better art.


My favorite subjects are nature and people - both have shaped my creativity in ways that are beyond words.  It makes me so optimistic to open up to others and keep trying to do better. Please share what your thoughts are. And as always, keep chasing your dreams!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

On the Cover of Key2Arts' Recent Newsletter

I am glad to share the Key2Arts newsletter that has featured one of my paintings on their cover.

In each newsletter, they choose and promote one artist by putting his/her art as the cover and adding links to the artist's profile and artwork page.

I would like to thank Kathy, for choosing this image for the 77th issue.

As many of you know, it is one of my beloved paintings. It's now proudly hanging in a lovely home in Bay Area.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How Long Does it Take to Paint a Portrait for a Show

In the making of Dreamer, my sitter sat for me for about a 30-minute photoshoot. I took almost about 50 or so pictures from various angles.

Camera has a very conspicuous impact on us. It makes us smile at any given moment :-)
Once the lens is pointed at us, we just cannot help but let go whatever expression we're wearing in exchange for this perfect blissful smile. We are trained that way - to present our best two second lens-perfect smile. So, its a skill to let the sitter loosen up to the point where they let you get beyond that practiced smile and capture whats most natural to the sitter. It takes a while, but we eventually get there.

After the photoshoot, I printed out the whole shoot and set out to select one. Once I had that perfect expression I was looking for, I chose it and had it enlarged to read it further. I reviewed my interaction with the sitter in front of this printout. Once that connection is made, I examined few options for the size and composition.

Selected Ref Photo

I selected a 16 x 20 for the portrait and painting started. Along the way, I realized, the background of the work had a great influence of the works of Gwenn Seemel's paintings. So, before moving forward, I emailed Gwenn and asked for her blessings and as expected, she had all the encouraging words about remixing it in my artwork. So, I went ahead and let the brush do its work.

almost 80% done
I wanted to change the color and texture of the outfit of my sitter. Here is the Maxican peasant top that I admired a lot for its feminine touch with lovely white color and delicate colorful-embroidery. It seemed to be fitting to have it on the sitter who loves this color and have this kind, compassionate demeanor.

White peasant top

Then I adjusted the tone of the overall painting. darkened a few spots, added some light in desired parts and pulled it all together as a whole - the backdrop is becoming part of the person.

At this point, I let the painting sit. And I observe. this period is one of the most important time to ponder over - I start to have the feeling of departure. I know in the next sitting it will be over. The entire journey will come to an end. The end saddens you like any other awesome, productive journey, that you don't want to end and thus unconsciously, I delay this stage.

Once I am ready to let go, I return back to it. At this point, I know what will go where - the painting practically finishes itself.

Palette for the portrait

 Artists are often asked, how long we would take to finish a painting, and I am no exception, "I cannot really say!"  Technically, there is only this much time you need, but in real life, you never know. 

Finished Portrait

Once the paintwork is over, The portrait is allowed to dry completely. Oil paints take longer to dry especially if the weather is not warm. Once dry, I paint the edges with protective paint, mostly acrylic variety. This saves the corner of the stretched canvas, in an event we would like to have it re- stretched or hang without frame. 

Later, I have the work varnished. Its usually a non-yellowing, matt-acrylic coat to protect the oil quality of the paints. 

Finally, its sent to the professional framer who makes sure the presentation is in-line with the basic color-scheme. At this point, the painting is all ready to hang!

Not the greatest pic but here it is!

 Now, you get a glimpse into the process. Its long, tedious, subjective, and unexpected. Would I like to repeat it again? Oh yes, any given day, just ask me! 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Portrait Series II on Display

Remember the Call?

I am happy to post that the Portrait Series,  Portrait Series II finished last year and is now on display.  You might remember that I sent out a call for the models which read :

For this project you are 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.

I posted this on my blog and later on a facebook group and linkedin. From the responses I shortlisted a few people. Contacted them and invited them for the photoshoot. 

The Process

This part is most time consuming yet really awesome! Thrill to know someone whom you'd paint is very motivating . The idea of painting as a means of capturing the whole personality is the essence of portraiture art.

Then followed the photoshoot, painting,  getting the work display ready, Inviting the sitter to view, viewing-by-sitter, and finally, the display in the exhibition.

The selected portraits are accepted and are on display in show titled Expressions

And Here We Are

Given how unpredictable things can be, I am delighted that everything went as expected and beyond! 

I want to thank the sitters for their gift of time - they allowed me to paint their faces for my art enrichment experience. Its not just  commitment, its an act of kindness and support and I am extremely thankful for that. Along the way, I made friends, renewed friendships, and learned so much.

I invite everyone to Mission Coffee, 151 Washington Blvd., to see this display. Its on till Jan 31. I will be there on Sunday, Jan 10 from 3 to 5, so drop by!

(This is one of the selected portraits on display. Sitter is Rupali.)
Oil on Stretched Canvas
16 x 20

What Lies Ahead

One ending is the beginning of something new. I continue to paint faces. 

If you'd like to join me in this journey, you are very welcome. Just email me or call me, I will take it from there. And above all, keep sending your best wishes, we all need it.