Sunday, January 29, 2012

'Bihu brands'- Oil on canvas board

20X 30 cms

This is a brushwork I did about 2 months back, for a function to be held for the launch of an album on Bihu music.
Bihu is a festival of Assam (Indian state) which is held in the Spring season, and is also the Assamese new year. This festival heralds the beautiful greenery and people make merry and indulge in romance. 

It is marked by the Bihu songs and the Bihu dance , which are performed by dancers, originally in the crop fields . The female dancers wear the traditional Assamese( Indian state)  two piece dress  Mekhela Sador in Muga silk. The bottom left most corner of the painting depicts one piece of the dress, in dull yellow silk with red ,yellow and green work done on the loom.

The leftmost corner of the painting depicts the 'Japi' , a traditional Assamese headgear, used for decoration.( not worn as a headgear though). It's made of bamboo and leaves of certain trees and is usually yellow in colour with bright red and green cloth. It is used as an accompaniment in the Bihu dance.

The rightmost corner of the painting depicts the Assamese orchids, 'Kopou Phool'  , or the foxtail orchid and it blooms in abundance during the season. It is used as a decoration in the bun of the Bihu dancer, while she is performing the dance.

At the bottommost right hand corner is the Gamocha or the Assamese towel. It is a versatile piece of cloth, used right from a gift of respect or greeting to a special or revered person,  to using it as a  towel for daily use. During Bihu festival, it is used as a gift for friends and family, to wish the new year. 

I gifted this painting to the friend of mine who is releasing the album.

Here's a video of a bihu dance, where the dancers are performing Bihu dance in traditional dress to a bihu song.  :

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lucky lips?- Oil on Canvas

A4 size

A brush work after ages! Part of my couple series.

Companionship - Oil on canvas

A4 size

Who is a companion? One who loves you, who understands you and lets you be.
But at times love is unrequited. It is painful. Still, at the end of the day we all want to be loved and we all seek companionship. 

Here is Rihanna with 'We found love':

Friday, January 20, 2012

Palette Knife Painting - Experiential learning notes

 I have been doing palette knife painting regularly for the past few months. Some things that I learnt:

1) Use knives that are sturdy and do not 'bend' with the pressure.

2) Have a variety of shapes, from the broad spatula kinds to pointed, sharp edged ones.

3) Use broad spatulas to do surfaces like skies, walls and backgrounds and use the sharper ones to do finer details.

4) Palette knives are better for Alla Prima and impressionist works. Keep in mind that the approach that you use in a regular layer to layer painting cannot be adopted here. e.g.  If you want to highlight lemon yellow or auburn streaks in the sky, it's best to do the streaks on the blank canvas, because as the paint is impasto, if you plan to do the streaks after applying blue for the sky, the yellow/auburn will blend with the blue, thus making it impossible to show up on the sky. This will restrict the effect of the sky. I recently did a scenery where I wanted to highlight autumn leaves on the greens of the trees, but failed to do so as I had already applied the greens. The lighter colour just blended into the greens and disappeared.

5) Do not use colour sparingly. Pile on. The very fact you are using the knife is for an impasto effect. Knife work doesn't have to look photo finished. It should have a painterly touch to it, and the advantage of the bright, unadulterated colours ( no medium)  should be felt. The colours should 'shout out' from the painting!

6) Plastic knives are handy and are great for small paintings, especially when you have to build in details for flower petals, eyebrows, eyes, parts of houses etc etc. However, for very large bases, you wouldn't want to use them, as they bend with pressure and may tend to alter the shape of the strokes.

7) Steel knives are the best. However, make sure they are stainless steel as otherwise, they will rust in no time.

8) When using knives, first make the values on the palette and pile on paint straight from there on to the canvas. Please do not make the mistake of using a medium, as the colour runs on the canvas in that case and it will give a 'dripping' look to your painting.

9)  You can adopt a top to bottom approach while painting, as that does not get you into a mess of colours. If you start working from the top of the painting and proceed till the bottom, there is lesser chance of colours sticking to your hands and  elbows! This is easier said than done however and will come with practice!the paint being thick and wet, gets off the canvas at the slightest pretext and if you aren't careful, you will be a colourfull mess in no time!

10) You can also adopt a brush and pallete mixed work, if you want to give some work a 3d effect, with the palette knife and the rest of the background done in brushwork.

11) While doing figures and portraits, you can adopt an alla prima technique to block values . I find the thin plastic knives great for this. The plastic knives are also great for plein air.

12) You need to finish the painting at a go, as blending of colours becomes difficult if the paint begins to dry since impasto paint will be patchy when it dries. The painting will take at least three weeks to dry completely.

13) If you are planning to use knives for plein air, its best to use acryllic and not oils as they dry faster, unless, you have provisions of getting them home or to the studio untouched.

Photos of two of my knife works.

14) Keep 2 or three clean rags and some rolls of tissue as each time you apply paint of different colours you have to wipe. You can use different knives for different colours/ values also.

15) Always, always wear an apron.

16) Put your signature after the work dries.

I've been having lots of fun with the knives. Hope you do too!

Here's the song cuts like a knife, by Bryan Adams, dedicated to this post:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ecdysis- Oil on Canvas

A4 Siz
There are times when we have to moult, shed our past and move on with what lies ahead. The present is turbulent, past dark but the future holds promise! This work is a mix of palette knife and a bit of brush work to do the background. this pic is clicked with my cell phone but i'll try to upload a better pic later.

Commorancy- Oil on Canvas

A4 Size
I had to live up to my last post, written about an hour or so back. I fished out my paints and canvas and of course my palette knives and did this quick painting. I mean to do a few landscapes now. They have universal appeal and are good as gifts. I just gifted a small painting to a friend of mine who is going away. The look on her face was so motivating for me!

Habitats and dwellings always catch my fancy. Humans live in the real jungle as well the concrete jungle, and beautifully so, bringing a sense of regularity and timeliness to the setting! Looks like I am back, as my palette still has paints and I better use it tomorrow if I don't want to waste it!:)
A personal appeal:

Please take a look  at this video of my family friend Dr. Ashok Kembhavi who runs the Mumbai Marathon every year. His story is no ordinary story. He is an inspiration! This video is made by  Sushi Karnik.


This is my first post of 2012 and I so wanted it to be a painting! But the month is almost more than halfway through and I haven't painted! Some things have taken my life over in such a way that I haven't had the time to paint or even sketch or draw! My paints lie scattered, my brushes lie still and my very dear palette knives which I brandished so forcefully in the past few months lie abandoned!

In the past whenever I have announced on my blog that I am off art, it has always propelled  me to paint right afterwards! So it's with this very hope that I have posted this.  So I hope to at least start off with a small artwork this evening..

Meanwhile, am uploading this half done painting done to practice alla prima technique , with a live model .
It's a brush work done with oil paints. However, I couldn't finish the painting on the spot and later on tried to finish it a bit from memory, as I didn't have her snaps. this was done a few months back.

Another one done in a learning session with a male model is here, using same technique. I was still learning the technique when I was painting him. I made mistakes while blocking values here. But the model (who is a big artist himself) was very sporting and I didn't exactly get beaten up by him! :)
Blocking values is really crucial when doing portraits, as there is no messing up with the way someone looks:).

Finally, to make up for a long absence, I am also uploading a video of a performance by a friend of mine, who is a violin artiste,
Sunita Bhuyan. She is about to release her album shortly. So please watch out for more on her on my blog!