Not there yet

P1050099 P1050097

Going through my usual settling back in period. A fun photo shoot helped me start the first one and the second happened when I got stuck on the first. Both are at the “ugly” stage but I’m just happy to have started.

The first is based on a photo reference taken at Jama Masjid 3 years ago. The second is loosely based on my recollection of a photograph that I’d seen a few days back. I have not used the reference for this one as I’m attempting to move away from relying completely on photographs.

Update : May 8, 2008 : you can see the finished piece here.


Heavy : Illustration Friday

Ekla cholo re

Sometimes, when there is a heavy load to bear, you have to walk alone.

This painting has been inspired by Tagore‘s poem “Ekla cholo re” (walk alone) and is one of 10 paintings that go on display at the “Friends and Faces” exhibition starting tomorrow and continues till the end of the month.

If you happen to be in Dhaka, please drop by at the Art Gallery, Ground Floor, Standard Chartered Bank, Gulshan Avenue anytime between 9am and 8pm (except on holidays) and do leave us you comments. Look forward to seeing you there.
“Ekla cholo re” 24″ By 36″ acrylic on canvas


Check out many more interpretations on

Three, Four and Five

Self Portrait

In yesterdays post, I talked about the first two of my Going Nuts in November projects. This post expands on the other three 😀

The third project. While reading about Nanowrimo I can across Nablopomo, which is about blogging everyday for a month. Sounded like a good idea to me but when I went to sign up I realised that it was for the month of November. Did that stop me?? And now for everyday in November, I’ll be attempting to make a post a day.

The fourth project.

71979-final-1.jpg ppw - final
And then came the realisation that last year, around this time, I’d taken part for the first time in the 3rd Annual Portrait swap being held at WetCanvas! How could I not participate again? And so I signed up for that too. 😀 ( The portraits above are from last years swap )

And the fifth acitivity is attending an art appreciation course with either Rokeya Sultana or Javed Jalil at the Art Club Gallery. I have to go over in the next couple of days to sign up.  I’d like to take sessions with both of them but then I think I’ll be asking for more trouble 😀

Now that you know the whole story – Wish me luck!

About the painting at the top of this post. One more wip. Started this self portrait several nights back. I’m hoping to progress it further before my hair grows back! There is a slight tilt to the head as I was peeping from behind the easel to look into the full length mirror on my cupboard. Oil on a 10″ X 12″ canvas.

Variety is the spice of life!

At thirtyAt thirty
At thirty At thirty

Finally, I’ve decided to accept that in art I like to do different things all at the same time. I have not been able to stick with one medium though I tried hard. Instead of wasting energy I am going to allow myself to go with the flow. Though I continue to stay focussed on one subject – people, my experiments with various medium will continue unhindered. Makes me happy just typing it in. 😀

The piece above is 10″ X 12″ oil on canvas and the one below is acrylics on a 20″ X 30″ canvas. One is from an old b&w photograph and the second is my imagination. Both need work. The one above a little and the one below a lot more.


Loosening up

September 16,2007 : The paint was wet on the first painting and I wasn’t ready to go back and finish the Ashulia Lady and so I decided to experiment some more. There was this beautiful, strong B&W photograph,taken by Anil, of a common friend. The thinking was that a monochrome painting would be different from what I’d been working on lately. I started off fine with a limited palette, mixing blacks and greys but one thing led to another and soon I was laying color over the black and white layers. It wasn’t an underpainting as I didn’t wait that long.

Getting a reasonable likeness was an important factor as I planned to gift it if it turned out well. My husband gave me good feedback both on likeness and the style I was employing. I had to stop as I was going out for dinner.


I had initially planned on waiting till I got the colour reference from Anil. When we returned that night I couldnt resist taking a peek at it. The changes that needed to be made were shouting out at me and I couldn’t resist. Jumped right in and it was another very late night. 😀


The first photograph was taken that night and the second yesterday evening. The actual piece is somewhere between the two. Closer to the second photo. I havent worked on it since Thursday. I’m quite happy with where it is now. Need to just fix a few of the features, like the ear, hair etc. and then I’m calling it done.

I would love to hear from you on whether you think this is looser than my earlier paintings? If you havent see any of the others, would you independently consider this to be painterly and “loose”? Whether you like colours to blend smoothly from one to another in a painting or prefer it to look painterly?

Comments and suggestions always welcome. I wanted to put in a poll to make things easier for you to give me some feedback but there doesnt seem to be an easy solution for a blog. If you know of one, do let me know.

Update : September 18, 2007 : I tried to do some major fixing and am now in a soup 😀 I did like it better at stage 2. Lucien Freud has been on my mind for a while and I think you can see his influence. I guess I’ll keep on going. The photographs below are from last night and this afternoon.

BS - wip 3 BS - wip 4

Photo reference copyright Anil Advani used with permission.

Paan Khaye…

paan khayo....paan khayo....paan khayo....paan khayo...paan khaye...paan khaye...

Looking at the progress closer to the size of the photo reference ( 4 by 6 ) helps me spot mistakes. I wiped out some of them with a rag cloth. Using oils for this one.

Having used oils for most of these past two years, I’ve forgotten how to blend with acrylics!! I need to pull out those tubes of medium and try them out. The other change that I see from 3 years ago is the time I spend on a painting. Earlier I finished a painting in an afternoon and used acrylics. Now when using oils I cheerfully spend a week or two with them if not more :D. I tried the same with the Watermelon Seller (acrylics) but it isn’t working. And I used to worry a lot about messing up. While I still worry I have more confidence in my ability to recover from some mistakes.

“Paan Khayo..” wip Oil on a 10″ X 12″ Canvas board

Photo reference from Anil Advani used with permission.

Update : August 19, 2007 : 6th wip and I’ve reached the end. I’ll be adjusting a few bits and pieces tomorrow, signing it and calling it done. It’s been super fun painting this. I now want to make a series on the people of Bangladesh!

Update : August 20, 2007 : It’s been signed and posted on Maya.

Watermelon Seller WIP 3

Watermelon Seller wip

Todays changes – added some elements to the background, worked on the back of the melon slices and on his shirt and face. I’m thinking of making the b/g more subdued the next time i work on it. Any suggestions on whether I should keep the b/g or change it back to what it was?

August WIP’s

August WIP's

The wips from July are still that. Since the easel was occupied, I removed the drawing board from the drafting table and installed yet another incomplete canvas. It was of the larger version of the “Watermelon Seller” that I’d begun work on several months ago. Had another go at it 3-4 days back and many more layers are needed. Till date I prefer the “start” I’d made earlier. It was easier to make when the size was smaller. hmmmm.

Acrylics on 24″ X 30″ stretched canvas.

August WIP's

This afternoon I decided that I had to make something and a self portrait seemed like a good idea as I havent had a go since April. Unfortunately the afternoon was taken up supervising the repair of an a/c at home. Then I had other excuses like surfing, dinner and watching a movie with my husband.

Finally sat and posed for myself at about 10pm. There are full length mirrors on the art supply cupboard doors. I pulled up my chair right up to those doors, propped the canvas board on my knees and started with Raw Sienna, moved on to Burnt Sienna and then brought in white and Payne’s Grey. Filled in the b/g with Pthalo Blue and Permanent Yellow. Took a break to take a step back and hope to work on it some more tomorrow.

Acrylics on 12″ X 14″ canvas board.

Self Portrait set on Flickr. Looking back I can see a tendency to look down at the support and just lift my eyes to look into the mirror. I must use the easel the next time and avoid giving myself a double chin for the umpteenth time!

KMP 9/100

KMP 9/100

I have Anil and his wonderful photography to thank for the reference for this one too. I did  capture her from another angle which isnt as exciting.  Saving it up for another start though 😀

We spoke with some of the people who had stopped and allowed us to photograph them.  For me it makes painting them much more interesting.  “On the road to Ashulia” is in acrylics on a 11″ X 14″ canvas roll

I was reading Kevin MacPhersons book again and find that I need to simplify the shapes much more and keep the shadow and light areas separate. There are 91 left to finish and I’m sure to get there 😀   One nice thing is that I’m looking forward to making these.

KMP 9/100

KMP’s are skill building exercises advised by Kevin Macpherson in his book Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light & Color. I started these in 2007 and am continuing with it in 2010. If you want to know more about this set of exercises click here.

KMP 8/100

KMP 8/100

It’s been over 3 weeks since I returned to Dhaka but I’ve been using one excuse after another for not starting to paint again. 😦 But it looks like I’m back in the game again! Here’s KMP no. 8.

I think it is serendipity at work here. A very generous friend is letting us use the studio space in her gallery to paint. Today was Day 1. Further, The Watermelon Seller is based on a photograph taken by another generous soul. He is allowing me to use his wonderful photographs as references for new paintings. You can see more of his work here. I plan to paint this one on a larger canvas at the gallery starting next week.

The 7th KMP is lying incomplete from before my long vacation and will be finished and posted soon. Unlike the earlier 7, “The Watermelon Seller” has been made with an unlimited palette and acrylics.

Approx 12″ X 14″ acrylics on canvas roll.

Forgot to carry my marker but I wasnt letting anything come in the way of completing this exercise today!
KMP 8/100

KMP’s are skill building exercises advised by Kevin Macpherson in his book Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light & Color. I started these in 2007 and am continuing with it in 2010. If you want to know more about this set of exercises click here.