Monday, 13 March 2017

A group show after a sabbatical

I had met a friend recently who wondered why I do not exhibit and I really did not have a valid reason. Perhaps it was the non acceptance that I have faced in my previous shows. This brings me to the question, who am I painting for? Why am I looking for acceptance? Did Van Gogh receive any acceptance when alive? Did he not continue to paint till his last days irrespective?

My paintings have been my thoughts, my feelings, my views, my visual diary... I love them and would like to share my experience with you.

So I activated my Facebook account after three months and checked an acquaintance's page to see if he was up to any shows and voila, I am two days within the deadline of applying for his group show.

The show is for three days on 14th, 15th and 16th of April (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
@ Cymroza Art Gallery, 1st floor, 72 Bhula Bhai Desai Road, Breach Candy, Mumbai

Please do not see this blog as just an invitation. On the contrary, I thought of taking you through my works which I have displayed.

The first one being one of the most recent ones, Old no. 73. I have explained this painting in detail on a previous blog, please click on the hyperlink which will take you to it.

The following painting has somehow always fascinated me, it is David and Goliath.

Title: David and Goliath
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 30 in x 24 in
Year: 2016
The actual story revolves around how a human defeats a Giant. However, in this painting, I choose David (Michelangelo's David) to personify the Giant - the human ego which is larger than life, which has been the cause of many a downfall and the actual 'David' is the tiny ant which many a time gets ignored, the most efficient team player, the most hardworking, strongest creature on earth, yet is almost always squashed and dismissed to be a bug.

How many of us can relate to this ant? How many of our efforts are overlooked? How many of us continue to slave on waiting for our moment of recognition only to be swatted away by larger, more flamboyant creatures who are less deserving? Do you not think it is time to catapult our way and etch ourselves into the History books? Don't you think it is time to stop wallowing in our sorrows and rise on the wings of our glory? Let us all, all the 'David's' join hands and conquer the well-deserved limelight and create a revolution, one that the world has been in thirst for.

Title: Broken Sleep
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 30 in x 36 in
Year: 2015

The next one received the following review from a friend, "If I see this painting day in and day out, I'd pack my bags and go home! Therefore, I will not buy this painting." This friend resides in Manila and feels that this painting would evoke too many emotions in him to make him want to relocate. This has by far  been the biggest compliment I have ever received. This is what I want my paintings to do.

It talks about what is real and what is not. They say a mirror reflects the truth but in this case the mirror seems to be a doorway into a different reality compared to what is reflected in the barren land of disturbed, broken sleep. There lies a slipper and a path of ants indicative of something or someplace beyond containing perhaps the hope of happiness and contentment which currently ceases to exist.

Title : Journey
Medium : Acrylic on Canvas
Size : 36in x 30in
Year : 2009

My journey in life has till date been quite haphazard. I have never kept a clear goal to chalk out a set path. My choices have been driven by a constant boredom which has kept me on this never ending arduous path of search - a search for the unknown, a search for that sip which might satisfy my unquenchable thirst for an incomprehensible experience. Will I ever find it? I have no clue but I continue undefeated on this journey of mine which I would like you all to be a part of.

If any of my works caused an inkling of emotion in you, then I request you to please visit the show in person to have a one on one interaction with my paintings. If this blog is making you want to paint, then please do join me in this quest for the unknown. It has been tedious but nevertheless utterly enjoyable!

Friday, 3 March 2017

How to learn the art of learning 'Art'

The past couple of years, I have been toying with the idea of a wholesome learning through Art. Instead of teaching young children to draw stick figures of people, animals etc., limiting their knowledge, I wanted the learning to be a 360 degree experience. In the sense, if I were teaching someone to draw a horse, I’d rather take them to the zoo so they can observe what a galloping horse looks like, what it looks like when it is grazing, what it looks like when it is lying still. How high can a normal human being reach up to a horse?

The primary limitation which I feel in representational art is the lack of being able to see reality for what it is. Post observation and discussion at the zoo, concentrating on one topic at a time, students can then sit and sketch what they see: how much the neck is twisting, how much can you see of the other side, not only this but what kinds of expressions the people make when interacting with a horse. Coaching someone to ‘see’ is a long process. It does not happen overnight. Each individual has varying capacities of ‘seeing’. Picasso ‘saw’ clearly at a very young age, while others at a later stage. You might be born with the ability to ‘see’ better but everyone is born an artist. What we do with that talent is what differentiates one from the other.

Traditional art class, has people inside class rooms being taught your normal two inverted V’s to denote a mountain, the zig zag of road going towards the mountain with fields on the side and a hut. I have come to the point that I am absolutely, visually exhausted to see such standardisation. It hurts me to see my nephew or niece resort to such a representation with lack of imagination. A child’s imagination cannot be compared to anyone else’s. Paul Klee, is considered a genius for being able to deconstruct his adult mind to tap into the child within to represent abstract forms. His paintings might seem like child’s play but how easy is child’s play? Are we disregarding something which has so much more value than is credited to it? Are we not dismissing huge potential which exists by blowing away the flames to creativity?

I have grown up learning in a standardised framework. However, the rebel within me could not be confined within a box and I taught myself to break free from the norms to learn what I wanted. Google, being my best friend and Wikipedia my favourite tutor. That burning desire to learn needs to be fueled at a young age to enable the children to know what they want to learn, to pursue their passion, to give it their 120% of their own free will. Not because you have a test next week which needs to be aced to pass. I do not believe in grades. I only believe in individual growth. If you have learnt something new and have retained that information to apply it to something that you are keen on doing, in my eyes you have passed in flying colours.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Old no.73 2nd main road

Title: Old no.73
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 24 in x 30 in
Year: 2015
Thought I'd give you access to 'Behind the scenes' of this latest painting of mine :)

What began as an experiment in Tromp de l'oeil, ended up being an entire set of memories captured within this two-dimensional space.

Initially I wanted to fill the entire canvas with droplets. However, when I started working on the background, I loved the feel it gave; that of an old worn out wall. Then, my ant inevitably crept in.

It is highly imperative for an old wall to have a crack. I introduced cracks here and there. Nothing was pre-planned. I reacted to the canvas. Just follow your heart!

I felt that the painting needed an antique element added to it. With my fascination for unlocking ideas and thoughts, I introduced a key.

Subconsciously, I love a neutral colour palette, that of browns mostly. So, I was consciously trying to introduce brighter colours through the addition of moss and worn out paint effect.

I reached a plateau. I knew something was missing but did not know what. So, I put away my painting in the store room for days. Today, when I took a look at it, it made me feel nostalgic about something from childhood which was lost. After several hours of just sitting and staring at it trying to decipher it, I finally found the missing element. The memories from 73 2nd main road! My Dad's paternal house.

The house has been demolished and re-built into an apartment complex and pretty much put a full stop to those times. I have no connection to what it is now and hence the question mark.

The Tamil abbreviation stands for 'Palaiya en' or 'Old number'. Therefore, I aptly call this work 'Old no.73'.

The key is a tool used to tap into your memories. There is no actual door visible as that house no longer exists.

The painting finally settled! It was time to put the finishing touch to it.

I present to you my latest painting, 'Old no. 73'.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Behind the scenes...From an idea to Finishing a painting

Detail of a painting of mine, which I will explain from before conception
till execution.
I thought I'd give an insight into what happens behind the scenes, inside my mind. Please note, each artist has a different thought process.

So, I am at the moment in between series. I am brainstorming. Basically using a chopstick to pick through my brains!

Inevitably, that is what I look like while doing so! Often mistaken to be a grouch! However, how else am I supposed to look like while finding a needle in a haystack??

The problem with ideas is that they show up at unexpected times. Here are a few examples:

  1. in the loo
  2. while drifting off to sleep
  3. while jogging
  4. during a movie
  5. during a conversation
  6. while cooking 
I have pathetic memory! Therefore, ideas don't last long. If an idea pops up, I need to jot it down ASAP. These days, I have a memo app on my phone and just jot down ideas in it. Yes, I take my phone with me EVERYWHERE. :D

I have watched many a horror movie and when I'm alone and hear a strange noise, surprisingly I remember every single scene in every single movie! I see the mirror, I think of Candyman! Not to mention that scene from Grudge 2 where the kid is clicking the picture of the spirit's reflection inching towards him! *shudder*

However, one such moment I decided to not make the mirror out to be a gateway towards evil but a gateway away from negativity. Horror movies always disturb my sleep just as many unnecessary thoughts from day to day life do for most human beings. This got me to the idea of broken sleep. 

This was what my preliminary sketch looked like. 

Used a EE Staedtler pencil, dry pastels and black gel pen.
Never start a painting to replicate your sketch. This will hinder your free flow of thoughts. As my mentor, AV Ilango, always said, do not consciously create something, let your subconscious creativity take over. However, consciously keep away your negative thoughts which might stop your positive flow of thoughts. (it was something along those lines).

When I started painting, initially I replicated the sketch to some extent. Then, felt the mirror need not show the existing reflection. What if, the existing environment is not real? What if reality is what is shown in the mirror, if you chose to see it? What if a different world existed beyond the mirror? 

With these questions in my mind, I added a couple of more elements to my painting. It now looks like this.

Broken Sleep
Acrylic on canvas
30 in x 36 in

Detail of the slippers

Detail of the cactus
My thoughts work differently in different situations. Each painting is a new process. So, see what you are comfortable with and enjoy what you do! 

Until next time...

Friday, 8 May 2015

Back after hibernation...

Good Morning to all!

I know I've disappeared for almost two months! Been travelling and have had visitors.

I've been surfing (online obviously... I have no sense of balance whatsoever!) So, this morning I came across a post that a friend of mine liked on facebook. It was an image of a painting by the artist Logan  Hicks. I am sharing the picture here.

I did not ask permission from the artist though. (Sorry! But full credits to you Mr Hicks and I am sharing the link to your website as well :) ) 
I thought this work was FANTABULOUS! So, I googled his images and came across several where he is using cardboard stencils. Now all of us would have tried stenciling at one point or another. For those who have not. Here is the definition of what it means:

Stencil : a thin sheet of card, plastic, or metal with a pattern or letters cut out of it, used to produce the cut design on the surface below by the application of ink or paint through the holes.

Next, I googled about his technique and found the following link:

From the above link, I found out that there is something called 'Stencil Revolution'! WOW! I wonder what rock I have been living under to have not heard of them before! Shame on me! Bottomline, I did not want to keep this treasure that I found all to myself. Thought I'd share it with you guys!   This site has tutorials which you can try out :)

So, one other thing I noticed in the link is a movie called 'Rash'. A 2005 documentary on Australian street artists (FYI street artists use a lot of stenciling, check out Banksy, one of the most famous of them all!)

By the way Logan Hicks' works can be found at the following site:

What a wonderful way to start the day!

PS As a hindsight I decided to let the artist know. I should have just asked for permission before writing this blog. Oh well, for future 'borrows' from here and there I shall ask first before posting ;)

So here is the permission request, FYI.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Week 4 Day 3 - One point perspective revisited - Let's draw a kitchen!

Today we are going to draw a kitchen. Not necessarily the pic below. But, if you observe the pic below, you notice that the eye level is somewhat a wee bit above the center of the pic and the vanishing point is a bit towards the left of the center of the pic. Depending on where you stand and where you look, the vanishing point will seem different and accordingly the percentage of object that you can see will vary.
We are going to draw ourselves an imaginary kitchen, using one point perspective. Today, is going to be a bit lengthy but just follow the steps and you should be fine!

Draw two rectangles, one inside the other. Next, I am going to begin with a cupboard on the left, so we will first draw a rectangle!
Next, draw diagonals from the corner of the rectangles to the center of the inner rectangle. This will be your vanishing point.
Draw a vertical line up from where the bottom diagonal touches the inner rectangle.
Now draw a horizontal from the top of the vertical line, touching the diagonal to its left.
You just created one cabinet in the kitchen! We are going to add a cupboard to the top! Again, begin with a rectangle.
Do the diagonals, just like you did for the cabinet.
Now we need to draw the width of the cupboard, so draw a vertical line to indicate how wide you want your cupboard to be and then add a horizontal line to indicate the base of the cupboard.
Next, we will be adding a fridge to the right side corner. So, we need another rectangle, however, this has to be tall, unless you want a tiny fridge. Vary the rectangle accordingly.

Connect the diagonals to the VP.

Indicate with a diagonal, the right wall of the kitchen. Connect a line from the bottom right of inner rectangle with bottom right of outer rectangle. 
The distance marked as x is what we will take the width of the tiles to be. (If you want a smaller tile, you can draw a separate diagonal). Along the back wall, we divide it equally to mark 'x'. Then draw diagonals from the VP through the tiles which you just marked, reaching the outer rectangle. Next draw a parallel line to the bottom of the inner rectangle. This will be your first set of tiles!
Draw a diagonal, from the bottom left of the inner rectangle, through the midpoint, reaching the right corner of the floor.
I will explain why we do this procedure, in detail, tomorrow. 
Draw a horizontal line from the intersection of the diagonal with the bottom of the right wall. Repeat the above two steps until you finish drawing all the horizontal tile lines. 

Denote the ceiling line, by drawing another diagonal from the top right of the inner rectangle to the top right of the outer rectangle. 
I have erased all the guiding lines (and a bit of the fridge oops!). Now you can see clearly what you have drawn so far.

If you want to add details on the door of the cupboard, fridge, add a window to the back wall or a painting, go ahead. We will deal with detailing later when we start drawing objects without guidelines. With practice, you don't need to mark the VP or the horizon line or the diagonals. Visually, you will be able to judge how much a line tapers or doesn't taper.

As mentioned earlier, I will explain why we used the midpoint to draw the tiles in detail tomorrow. Until then, happy sketching!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Week 4 - Day 2 - Perspective continued

Now that you know what the eye level, vanishing point, horizon line are, let us move on to the next step of trying to draw with two vanishing points, ie 2-point perspective.

What you will be capable of, at the end of the blog, is to create any 3D object in space such as the pic below.

We need to start with the same horizon line, like yesterday.

Now instead of adding one vanishing point (VP), add two of them. One on the left and one on the right, VP1 and VP2.

Next, draw a Vertical line, which is perpendicular to the bottom of the paper. 
Perpendicular : at an angle of 90° to a given line, plane, or surface or to the ground. In this case, perpendicular to the bottom of your paper.

Next what you need to do is, connect the top and bottom of the vertical lines to the Vanishing points. 

In the triangles that you get on either sides of the Vertical line, I want you to draw two more vertical lines, one on the left and one on the right, touching the sides of the triangle.

Now, you will connect the top of the new lines with the VP which is furthest from it. So, VP1 will connect to the top of the line on the right and VP2 will connect to the top of the line on the left.

Do you notice the box that you have created?? Isn't it perfect in perspective? Now, we can further work on the box, to create whatever object we desire by adding more and more vertical lines, connecting to the VPs! 

Let me erase all the diagonals and give some colour to the table, so you can see clearly.

Tomorrow we will get into a more complex drawing, using 1 point perspective. If you have forgotten about it, no worries! Just read up on the previous blog and refresh your memory. You will enjoy what you will be sketching tomorrow!

Until next time, keep scribbling!