You can’t hurry love


And just in case you’re wondering what the scribble has to do with the song – nothing!  It’s what I found myself humming lately when I thought it’s taking me too long to get back to painting.  The last year and half was meant to be spent acquiring skills that I knew I was lacking but in the end I didnt.   Now it’s a new year and there are new resolutions. I picked up A Painter’s Guide to Design and Composition a couple of days back to make a dent on acquiring one such skill.  I wasn’t expecting much and was pleasantly surprised to find it very useful and simple to follow unlike some others that I have come across on the subject. It’s all very well to draw a cross and say use it as a structure and another to show by words and painted examples clearly what is meant by that.


Portrait Party over at Flickr

Julia Kay’s hosted a Portrait Party over at Flickr and my painting has come to a halt : )  I have done a few portrait swaps in the past, for Rama Hughes blog, The Portrait Party , the annual Portrait swap at WetCanvas and more recently the ones organized by Karin Jurick.  But in terms of sheer number of people participating with one another, none were in the league of the current party that I’ve jumped in to.

24 steve huison

I’d first read about them on Rama Hughes blog where he had written about how his family used to throw Portrait Parties and draw each other.   He’d suggested others organise their own.  For me it seemed out of the question as I couldn’t imagine being able to round up a party worth of guests who’d be willing to spend an evening drawing portraits or posing for each other : )

11 Giorgio Bordin

And then along came Julia Kay with this brilliant idea to throw one on Flickr.

18 art informel

There are 260 members at a party which will continue for as long as you want it to.   I’ve made 24 portraits so far and have had 16 of made of me.  Have a look at the wonderful portraits being exchanged on flickr by this group.

Flickr Portrait Party

An oil sketch

I haven’t painted for a few days but hope to make it up this week. This sketch is from about 10 days back when I was taking a break from the KMP’s. There are many errors that I can see but no attempt has been made to fix them coz then it would no longer be a sketch : )  One bit that I like is the nose which has form, something I’m always hoping to achieve.  It would nice of course if I could get that for all of the face instead of just one feature.


A pen & ink sketch from even earlier using the same ref.

pen & ink sketch

Update : Forgot to mark this as a KMP. This becomes no. 25.

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.


I subscribe to’s Painting newsletter run by Marion Boddy-Evans.  Today it led me to a post on What Hurtful Things Have People Said When Commenting on a Painting? I read a few and discovered that while I didn’t have the same experiences I had shared some of the same feelings.

When I started out six years ago I wanted everyone (!) I came across to comment on my work. It was new to me, I was finding my way and thought that family, friends, acquaintances and online friends were all in a position to help. Sometimes it was frustrating because no one wanted to put me down or be harsh to a newbie. Sometimes they liked the very things that I didn’t.  I also learnt to my dismay that positive comments affected me too.  I’d get stuck, too timid to add anything more in case I messed it up!
netra - another attempt

Netra – another attempt – pen & ink – based on a beautiful photograph taken by Sudarshan used with permission.   An earlier attempt made in 2005 using the same reference.

But that was then.  I still love to hear from people but what I take from it now and how it affects me is different.  It’s more about whether they like the piece and not what they find right or wrong with it.   When I see a painting or a movie or a dress I form an opinion about it.  We all have opinions.  And sometimes mine don’t match with the way others around me think.  It doesn’t upset them or me that our views are different.  And with that in mind  I hear what people have to say about my work as their opinion.  Sometimes, good or bad, it matches mine and sometimes it doesn’t.

pen & ink

pen & ink –  earlier sketches and a painting made last year – Lost in though

Extracting a line drawing using Photoshop

Preparing for a short trip away from home, I decided to carry a sketchbook. While selecting the pens I would carry, I tried a couple out on the cover. Very quick. Very loose. and for me Very nice (It must be the Egon Schiele kind of feel that it gave me : ) I had a look at some of his drawings while making this post for a link but it’s not even close to his kind of work but that’s what this reminded me of. Maybe it was the sad expression?? emaciated look? ) but then there was the background of the sketchbook which was coming in the way.

sketch sketch extract

I’m sure there are plenty of ways to do it but I used “how to select a colour” from e-how to get the finished result. At first I selected the blue and cut it out but that led to cutouts of the missing letter across the face.  Undo’s back to the beginning.  I then repeated the colour selection and replaced it with the grey of the background colour using an ink dropper to select it.  A couple of trial and error steps and liberal use of the eraser I was left with the image on the right.  Would’ve been much easier had I brought along the wacom tablet!

Ideally, I’d have liked to retain the texture of the paper and the weight of the lines but that’s another experiment for another day!

Tip : Spot the Flaws with Flipped Images

Here’s a tip on using your computer to spot your drawing/painting flaws.  I was too lazy to grab my camera and take photos of two recent drawings that i did and used the webcam and Photo Booth instead.  What i got was the images reversed and what I saw was a whole bunch of flaws glaring back at me 😀  This is another tool that I will use to spot mistakes in future.  I’ve put a the two examples side by side for you to see.  The first in each set is how you would view it and the second the mirror image.

Photo Booth flipped 1

2nd attempt flipped 2

Didn’t want to go around holding paintings in front of my laptop webcam and googled only to be reminded that flipping images is easy on a mac 😛  Use Preview and use the Flip Horizontal command under the Tools Menu and off you go.  The two below are of a portrait that was started recently.
no name - wip flipped

Portraits : Pencil and Pen & Ink

yet another attempt

Normally for my pen & inks I use the pen lightly to make a rough drawing before going in further to add the shading and edges.  While it is relatively easy to recover from the minor errors, others will have you wanting to start afresh.  After reading a few books on drawing with ink, I have been wanting to try a different method – by forming a faint, bare outline with a pencil as a foundation before proceeding to complete the drawing in ink.   With the plan that this outline can later be erased.  

Bearing that in mind I started the drawing below in pencil.  I was not happy with the initial outline and kept using the eraser to correct.   The new lines that I made didnt make me any happier and I realised that I needed to fill in a bit more to be sure that the initial drawing was correct.   When I reached that point I was half way there and would have had to erase a lot to get back to the outline stage.   Also wasnt sure whether all that erasing would’nt make the ink bleed.  I gave up and continued with the pencil.

pencil sketch

New methods and experiments also teach me about my way of working.  Here I have learnt that my method is such that I correct along the way and that I prefer the pen to the pencil.  An option which also allows the secret voice in my head to say that had it been with a pencil it would’ve been perfect!  A point that has been proved wrong here and I briefly wondered what the voice would say the next time  😛

I went back to my usual method of sketching with a pen last evening and I must say that I’m more pleased with this result.  The small voice still had the same message.  It just refused to acknowledge the presence of the drawing and said that the pen & ink would’ve been perfect had I used a pencil and that for a quick sketch this was perfect : )  Btw I spent a couple of hours on this pen & ink too!

yet another attempt

appologies for the photographs.  the support used for both are the same. it is actually a shade of  cream.  a bit more yellow than the first photo and lot less than the second.

Opinion : Illustration Friday


In my opinion there’s a bit of George Bush, Alfred E Newman and traces of a beard in this sketch.  All not wanted and unintentional.


Check out many more interpretations on

Shubha Mudgal Concert

Shubha Mudgal

Shubha Mudgal burst into the Indi Pop scene in the late 1990’s and was a big, big hit.  The albums Ab ke Sawan and Pyar ke Geet are still amongst my faves.  I heard her first as an Indi Pop artiste and later learnt that she is a very good classical singer.  I’ve missed two of her concerts in the last five years.   Third time lucky I guess.  Got in by the early evening flight yesterday and made it in time to watch Shubha Mudgal perform at The Tolly.  What a voice!  What a fabulous treat!  And if you havent heard her sing before you can hear a bit of the song “Seekho Na” by clicking on the video below.

The pen & ink sketch above is supposed to be of her.  Didnt get much of a likeness though.

Update : It was pleasure to see Shubha Mudgal interact and connect with her audience and see another side to the artist during the show.  She is very articulate and has a good sense of humour.  She has been blogging for a while and you’ll enjoy the posts.  I only wish there were more!