Manic March & KMP 11

to market.jpg

Lots happening lately.

1. Submitted an entry for the March WWAO online exhibition “Our Art, Our Selves : Selected Self Portraits hosted by Robin Hernandez.

2. Photos or Life self portraits up at The Portrait Party.

3. Committed to making and posting 40 pieces in March at the 30dayartist. When I signed up there had been no other art commitments in March.

4. An invitation to exhibit with SHAKO ( a group of leading Bangladeshi artists ) to mark International Womens Day – March 7th & 8th came as a pleasant surprise. Will post photos of the event on Maya. I will be exhibiting 2-3 pieces and one of them is expected from the framer tomorrow and they then need to be rushed to the venue!

5. The two women show “Friends and Faces” will run from March 16 to the 31st. This was initially planned for mid Jan. Photo update on Maya on the 17th. Waiting on a couple of pieces for this too.

6. Heard unofficially that the UNWA auction of 24 paintings raised around 3,20,000 taka and mine contributed approx 27,000 taka. All the money raised has been handed over to the Hurricane Sidr Relief Fund. We will be getting letters soon with the exact details. Brochure photographs have been lying ready and will be posted in a day or two….. on Maya 😀

I leave for a 20 day holiday on the 28th 😀

Digital study which I’m marking as KMP 11.

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.


Theory : Illustration Friday

Pen & Ink

I’m a firm believer of the theory that copying from the Masters will help in learning to draw and paint better. I’m participating in the Jan/Feb Van Gogh MOM over at WetCanvas! This is a copy of Van Gogh’s pen & ink “A Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin”


Check out many more interpretations on

Peace : Artmakr Weekend

Well, since I’d said I was going to be doing the Ashulia series, I knew I’d be doing everything but that. Just inherent stubborness. Actually, what led me to this was that I found that once more I was blending the paintings too much for my liking. In these paintings I tried to get away from that. Let me know if you think I’ve been successful. The nice part is that there are two more paintings that I’ve started and I like the way they’re turning out.

The first piece was a jump start as there already was a piece of canvas with a pencil sketch of my friend, Sangeeta sleeping. It had been based on a sketch made back when I was visiting her in April. I had taken some photographs as references too. It seemed like a good project to “loosen up” with. I know now that I will not be using apencil again as it smudged and muddied up the colour that I was laying on top of it.
Peace wip PeacePeace

I need to tone down all the details that I’ve put into her shirt and concentrate more on her face. That is where I want the attention focussed. I’m also thinking of toning down the background a bit. Waiting for tomorrow morning as this will give me a much needed break away from it and a view in natural morning light.

I’ve sat down most of the time for both these paintings and I think that’s a mistake. Have to get back to my habit of standing and painting.

This painting fits in well for the topic of the week, Peace, at ArtMakr Weekend.

My first Monotype

September 12, 2007 : I was quite determined to experiment last night and was eventually up till 3 am! Monotypes have been on my mind ever since I first came across them on Belinda del Pesco’s blog. I have a couple of large glass palettes ( 11″ X 14″ ) for my oil / acrylic paints. I pulled one out, wiped it down and then started painting on the surface with poster colors. The photo reference is one of me taken at my wedding. I did not feel the need to look for likeness for this experiment but boy was i much much thinner then! 😛

Monotype experiment step 1

Knowing that the print would get reversed I flipped the glass plate over and took a photograph. You can see all the poster colour bottles and the small ceramic mixing bowls that I used.

Monotype experiment step 2

Managed to locate some textured ( hatched, 11″ X 15″ ) paper which didn’t seem too thick but couldn’t find a big tray to soak it in. Ran it under the tap for a couple of minutes wiped off the excess water by pressing it between newspaper sheets. Placed it on top of the glass plate, added a newspaper over it to absorb any excess water and then pressed it down with a barren. Kept lifting it to see what was happening and began to realise quickly that the paper was too thick and textured to take the print.

I found out from a comment left for me on flickr that I need to use different paper and also needed to soak it for 10-15 minutes prior to blotting. My first print looks like the ghost (second) print. I’m planning on trying to add a few washes over this one but worried about whether the poster colours which are water soluble will allow me to do so.

Monotype experiment step 3

I did have some block printing paper ( bleached mulberry 9″ X 12″ 45 g/m2 ) which I did not use at first because it was much smaller in size plus probably something to do with my hoarding tendency – I only have 25 sheets and no easy place to source more from 😀 I ran this under water and it soaked immediately so much so that I was worried it would tear. Mopped up the excess water, placed it on the glass plate and tried to take a print. I spent much more time pushing down with the barren as with each peep I saw that it was accepting ink much better.

Monotype experiment step 4

I was a bit disappointed even with this print as it was soooo much lighter when compared with the original on the glass plate. Also it didnt have a buttery feel like the lithograph print did. I’m planning to put it on a toned surface to see if it brings out the colours better.

There’s still some paint left on the glass plate though not as much as it seems to look here. I’ve put it on a white background before taking the photo. But there’s enough left to make me feel sad about washing it off! I’m wondering if there are ways to revive it for another print!!
Monotype experiment step 5

I’ve read about painting on frosted glass a couple of years ago and this experiment has made me want to try that out too. I’ve learnt that I should use the right kind of paper and soak the paper for the right amount of time. I really did enjoy the experiment and am planning on more as soon as I get the paper.

Update: September 14, 2007 : I wrote to Belinda del Pesco asking her for help. I got a prompt reply and I’ve put excerpts below.

On my question about recycling the leftover image.

“You can absolutely add more pigment to the plate, and print again. And again. It’s never ending, and each one will be a new surprise.”

And so I did… but just one more 😀
Monotype experiment - revamped Monotype experiment

the spontaneity of the first attempt did not come through in this second one and so I’m not feeling bad at all about erasing what is left over. the print did take much better this time. I used the block printing paper again.

some more tips from Belinda

  • Try soaking your paper for 5-7 minutes, instead of running water over the surface.
  • Blot with clean, lint-free bath towels 2-3 minutes before you print.
  • I use BFK Rives Paper and Somerset – both are available online.
  • If the paper starts to mar from rubbing, lay a piece of wax paper over it before using the baren.
  • Since your pigments are water based, to help them release, you can dust the plate with a super *fine* mist of water before you print (rinsed & re-used hair pray bottles work well)
  • Even if the print comes out as light and ghost-like as your first one, it’ll just be begging for more pigments; pastels, paint, colored pencil, charcoal, ink, etc.
  • There’s a great book about monotypes by Julia Ayers, and you can find it used on Ebay frequently.

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.