Loose or Sloppy?

Sherrod sketch 1

Above: Ran out of ideas on fixing the first one and so started on a smaller piece. It still needs work.

Below : Looks like I didnt manage to make the head bigger even though I thought I had. Thinking too about ways to improve on the background.

Sherrod 2


Born (not) to be Wild?

I’ve learnt a few new things in these past two days, some not so exciting. Firstly, my classes will be on for 2 weeks instead of the 4 that I had assumed. 😦 The school closes down for cleaning and preparing for the next term. I’ll be looking around for other learning opportunities in NYC. If you know of any for the last two weeks of August do leave me a comment.

Secondly, you cant be who you arent. In conversation with Philip Sherrod I said to him that I had really liked the painting put on his page by the ASL and signed up for his class. That I wanted to paint more loosely with freedom.  And his reply made complete sense. He said that painting is a part of you and that he had a wild cowboy in him which you could see in his work but that if you didnt have that “wildness” in you, your work couldnt be wild either. Now I understand that whatever style I settle down to will be very much a part of who I am.

He did encourage me to at least try and deviate from my current method. I did but not very successfully yesterday. On one of his rounds he took the palette knife picked up some paint and applied it to my canvas and said that he knew I could’nt wait to take it off. Well, I told him the truth that I didnt want to take it off.  But I was beginning to understand that i may not be able to dab on some more spontaneously.  Just before class finished since I felt that I was just getting sloppy he asked me to see if I could get back to what I had been doing earlier.

Today, after trying that for a while with my limited palette of Primary Red, Blue, Yellow, White and a secret hoard of Burnt Umber I gave in and ran to the store and picked up Yellow Ochre, Bone Black and Titanium Buff :P. When they didnt help me  ( I really need to do something about learning to mix colours!!! ) I gave up and used the palette knife to mix colours and started laying it on the canvas. I had fun and was happier with the results. What do you think? How does it compare with my earlier work?

Seeing it smaller on screen a few things are clear. I need to increase the size of the models head in proportion with the rest of her body. And the face definitely needs more work! And her outer left thigh needs to go in a bit. Shall try and fix them tomorrow.

Lastly, this is my 200th post on this blog 😀

Sherrod 1

A few more KMP’s

The first 3 are from life. The two still lifes were set up with a small table lamp used as a spot light and the 3rd is of my friend painting. The last is from a photo reference. I plan to create a still life setup at home too so that I can continue to inch closer towards the target of a 100.

KMP 15/100KMP 16/100
KMP 18/100KMP 17/100

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.

Photos or Life – which do you prefer and why?

self portrait self portrait

I prefer using photographs for my work as they capture moments and locales which are not easy to replicate in a studio setting or using a model. I do believe it to be very important to learn to draw from Life but would not like to limit myself to just that for my paintings. Take the examples above. If I were to do my self portraits only for life (top right) I would scare the pants of everybody! I find the second one has a more reasonable expression.

Would love to hear how you feel about it. Do leave me a comment if you have a moment.

Self Portrait : charcoal from life, pen & ink from photo ref

Win some. Lose some.

Win some lose some

Not having been successful with resolutions last year, some thought has been put into making some for 2008. Here’s hoping that this year is more successful than the last.

1. reduce the time spent online.

2. exercise regularly

3. lose weight

4. spend time on art and related activities

a. continue to learn

b. art related activity everyday – keep a track

5. try to find a balance – read, listen to music

Discovered last year that it was easy for me to get bogged down if the plan was restrictive. This year I give myself the freedom to choose the medium, try new ones, move on only if ready. Basically, the only constraint is that some art related activity is undertaken everyday and this is something that I can live with happily.

While making this post it became clear that there was need to balance art related activities with others like reading and listening to music which have fallen by the wayside.

In spite of 3 months of 2007 spent out of Dhaka on 5 holidays which were very enjoyable :D, I did do the following:

regular art activity with a group of like minded people

5 weeks of life drawing

4 weeks of creative drawing

tried some new things and many more of an old favourite – two kinds of printmaking activities – linocut and monotypes, digital scratchboards and a lot of pen & inks

Daily blogging through the month of November with Nablopomo

participated in the 4th annual portrait swap at WetCanvas!

two paintings based on imagination here and here

illustration friday – participated quite regularly

A couple of highlights. Sold my first print to a wonderful person and submitted a painting to a juried auction for charity where it raised nearly 3 times the reserve price. I am very pleased with this contribution to the Hurricane Sidr relief fund.

A fair amount of art activity took place and, with it, growth. The plan is to keep up the pace.

Creative Drawing & Art Appreciation 4

CD & AA 4

Yesterday was my last CD & AA session for the year. A third kind of line was discussed in detail, described as the lyric line. We used a thin brush with ink for this exercise. I could not break away completely from my normal style to make the right kind of marks. I would start correctly but lose my way within minutes. For the 3rd piece below I just gave up half way and started enjoying trying to capture a likeness of Javed who was posing for us for these pieces. I intend to do a few soon and attempt to draw sweeping lines to depict the form. One stroke for a line or a curve and no restating for this exercise 😀

CD & AA 4

Sketching with Smita


Smita is an artist and a friend who has recently started painting full time.  She paints beautiful portraits in oil.  We met for a sketching session on Sunday and took turns to pose and sketch.  While none of these look like her, it was great to be sketching from Life again.  I get rusty sooo quickly!

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!

Life drawing at Kuhu’s 4

LD at Kuhu's 4

Todays task at Kuhu’s was to add colour to our charcoal drawings and to not spend too much time on any one drawing. We still needed repeated reminders 😀 I was carrying my inks and having been happy with earlier results decided to go ahead and use them for colour. And I was pleased with the results by the time I hit number 3.

Tried to follow Kuhu’s advice for number 4. Our model was by now sitting with bright light from the window falling over on one side. I was to put in details on the shadow side and leave the other side with as few details as possible. A tough task as I’m still at the overworking stage!

Finally, I was to add colour only in the shadowed areas of his shirt. Kuhu helped by adding the shadows for the back ground on the left and added highlights to the beard using an eraser to explain how we could make the white beard stand out more without adding dark lines to it. It was a nice demo.

This one would’ve been my favourite if I had had the time to add some more shadows and correct his shoulders. I love the body that the beard has in it though. It reminds me of another piece that I came across recently, made a couple of years ago where I had managed to depict body on another white beard. Problem is that I had forgotten how I did it and about it until I saw the photograph of the piece on the computer!

Dadu – charcoal, crayon and ink on cream coloured light weight paper.  A step up for me from the newsprint that I was using earlier 😀

LD at Kuhu's 4LD at Kuhu's 4LD at Kuhu's 4LD at Kuhu's 4

Drawing at Kuhu’s

Still Life at Kuhu's

I was telling a friend earlier in the evening that for the longest time I had thought that Still Life was boring and couldnt understand the need to do them. Recently, after struggling with values and tones I have come to understand the need for learning to draw simple shapes and Still Life as 3D objects.

Kuhu is a good teacher and a few instructions helped me “see” the values. I like this one more than one that I had done earlier in the week. We moved on to figure drawing and short poses. I used my Sanguine Conte for the first time and am quite pleased with the result.  I also need to set the newsprint aside for drawing exercises and stop using them for the life drawing sessions.

LD at Kuhu'sLD at Kuhu'sLD at Kuhu's