Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Making of a Flower Girl

As I shared in an earlier post, I have taken to working on mini paintings and my theme this year is 'Faces and Figures'. Despite having a busy month, I managed to make five of these 10 by 10 (cm) pieces. They are great fun to make - since the process involves multiple layers, and yet it takes me just a day or two from start to finish, as the size is small. So this post presents the story of how my current favourite piece emerged.

I started by pasting a random collage of papers on the base, as seen in picture 1. While pasting the collage pieces, the pink flowers caught my eye. Yes, you know what a sucker for flowers I am! So I decided to retain them in the final painting that emerged out of this chaos of colours. Working around the flowers, I spotted a face, slightly downturned. A hat seemed like the perfect accessory to put on that face.

Picture 2 captures the painting with its basic outlines in place, and the hat, face and hair painted in. I highlighted the pink flowers by adding the white marks and yellow pollen on top. By now I had also spotted the butterfly in the bottom right corner. But the painting wasn't coming together; there was no single train of thought that knit everything.

And then the word 'Freedom' flashed at me.... and it all fell in place (picture 3). I added the stamp mark on the top left, meant to denote the freedom of travel, both literal and metaphorical. The butterfly gained prominence, signifying the freedom from the cocoon phase. The flying birds on the top right completed the picture. Now you know why the girl with the blue hat has a smile on her face! Because she is a free bird....

So, dear readers, what do you think of this process? Creatively, I find it extremely satisfying. You start from zilch, and you end up with not only a mini painting but an interesting story to go with it. Wanna try some?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Nature Journal: Back Cover

This final post under the 'Nature Journal 2015' series is to showcase the back cover of the journal. The back cover appropriately aims to capture forms of nature across different elements - air, land and water. It brings together three diverse microcosms.... read on to see how.

The thought process for the back cover started with the Tree of Life, since it represents different life forms living together harmoniously, and also since it was something I was hoping to try my hand at for a while. However, once I started making the tree, these other ecosystems evolved on their own... as though the artwork for the back cover had suddenly come alive with its own interpretations, that forced me to realize the limited vision of my tree of life. Why present only one ecosystem when I could present three together? And that is how each element got its due representation....

The birds and animals that made the tree their home, thriving on its bounties and the fresh air it produced.

The foliage and flora that got their sustenance from the earth. I could have added more to this section but lack of space made me keep things at a more representational level.

And finally the water-world with its flowers and other creatures. Here I love the turtle silhouette the most.

I am happy with the way the back cover finally turned out - combining multiple techniques of painting, small sketches, some impasto and lots of collaging. That it represents nature in all its forms only makes it perfect for my Nature Journal 2015.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Faces and Figures

We are into the second month of the year already, and I thought I should share one of my personal art goals this year.

'F' is for February, and for 'faces' and 'figures'. So this year I am hoping to work up a sizeable number of random faces and figures. No real life inspiration, no magazine pictures either.... just things that pop off my head when I put together a collage of papers and markings on a piece of cardboard.

Sharing here my first attempt at doing a face. I worked mainly using the techniques of intuitive creation, where you train the mind's eye to "see" images in a chaos of colours and shapes. The inspiration for this face was sparked off by the blue prints (made using vegetable stamps) that looked so much like a pair of shades. Once I sketched that in, the rest of the face followed.

I love how the layers of paper and stamps underneath give the piece a unique sense of depth. This was a fun beginning. Hope I can keep this up through the year and get more comfortable making faces and figures out of thin air!


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