The past few months have been extremely rewarding. I've been working tirelessly to create a solid portfolio and explore new processes that have been shelved for at least 2 years while I tried to get my bearings in the art world. Decided to push myself harder than usual and boy was it awesome. My previous post was about the installation of an entire wall of blue. I then moved on to neutrals - loads of blush, grey, gold, black and white with hints of umber. They worked very well for my clients and in turn I pushed myself to create more in those palettes.
I just dropped off 10 new works at the gallery earlier this week and have been brainstorming about my next move forward. During brainstorming sessions in my studio, I did end up completing a piece, which I feel has to be my most favorite artwork ever. It's one of those where you can't explain the magic. The magic that just flowed and while it might be liked by some and disliked by others, it will always remain that one piece where you were absolutely sure that every square inch of that canvas was compelling for you as an artist. I recognize it. I see it. It's present and I surrendered to it as cheesy as it sounds. But I've been floating around the studio ever since I completed the artwork and while this blog post doesn't have an image of the artwork, I will post it in the days to come after I take it all in.
I started a larger diptych in the studio today. Two canvases, 48x60 each so in total, the artwork will be 96x60. One of the canvases in the diptych is being recycled so it does bring its own baggage. I'm hoping that will work in my favor but here it is so far. I'm pretty sure I'm going to call it 'The Calm Before the Storm'. PS how awesome is the light and shadow?
I spent the day installing an entire wall of blue themed paintings at the gallery the other day and it truly was an experience! Sorted through a few older pieces and walked in with 10 new canvases to put up 24 artworks on that wall in total. From moody Prussians, and dark Payne's Greys all the way to Minty-Turquoises and Cool Cobalts, the wall has it all. Here are a few shots that I took during installation. There was something about seeing a constant blue across the entire wall with specks of pink, orange, purple and all other colors as well. Next palette: Neutrals.
I've witnessed a huge shift in palette. It's as if I can't seem to pick out any of the brighter more playful colors. There is an instinctive urge to reach out for moodier tones and I can't seem to put my finger on why that is. So, I've just decided to run with it and it truly is a thrilling experience. I started working on this new abstract (untitled at the moment) and there were just two things I had decided before beginning the process: 1) it was going to be moody 2) there had to be a LOT of movement. I battled it out for a few days when I started to mix tones of Pthalo and Prussian and at the end, it just turned out be relatively monochromatic. My first ever! :D I'm so pumped that I immediately jumped to 2 additional canvases while the first was drying and those are almost done too. Can't wait to share. In the mean time, here's my hero fresh off the easel.
Every painting so far has been a journey of its own. Each with its own struggles, frustrations, ambitions and highs and lows. I can't seem to recollect a single artwork that hasn't put me through complete defeat and misery at some point, and perhaps its these countless battles that push me to create more. A more recent one was this last artwork I was working on. I had just returned from an island vacation - completely refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to work. Started working on a commission and was simultaneously trying to feed my soul with a painting titled 'Freezing Point'. (the title suggests the complete opposite of what I was attempting to bring to the canvas after my holiday). It started off as a diptych inspired by the seascapes and horizon I witnessed for 2 whole weeks but somewhere down the line, both canvases began to separate themselves from each other. No matter how hard I tried to keep them tied, they wouldn't listen or respond. This was the very first time that a diptych didn't work for me.
While one of the canvases was turning out to be a vibrant piece filled with joy, the other was sleepy, tired and boring. Murky colors and the lack of movement frustrated me until I decided to separate them. If I were to be completely honest, I did end up releasing a lot of the frustration on the painting during this fight but it ended up being something that stunned me at the end. I think what I took away from this month long journey was the lesson of flexibility. Many of us want our artworks to turn out a certain way. We follow our vision while learning from our journey to achieve it. The things we learn, however, don't always have to be technical. Here is Freezing Point along with an 'in situ' image.
It's been years since I've picked up black for any sort of application in my artwork. I think its been a decade to be precise. When I was working on my series titled Dreamcatcher in 2008, I remember being terrified of color and black used to be my safety net. I'd turn to it for a lot of things: line work, drama, and contrast to name a few. Over the years, I started to confront my fear of color and began to learn how to place them on a surface side-by-side. Once that process had begun, I started to let go of black as a color and looking back, I can't believe how long its been since I unconsciously abandoned it altogether. I remember trying to create my own black or the darkest hue on my canvas by mixing tirelessly. The process is what I enjoyed the most and I let that color slip away. If I were to be honest, getting carried away and pushing something out entirely probably wasn't the best option. I think I should learn to balance things out a little more. Anyhow, here's what I did with it today. Titled 'U-Turn' I used watercolor, markers and oil pastels. It's something very close to my heart and I don't thin I want to see this one go. Ever.
2018 has been a crazy year so far. And while it has been enriched with travel, meeting new people, education and so much more, I've really fallen behind with my artwork. There was a lot of push-and-pull the past few months. Juggling with thoughts and ideas and looking for new avenues and direction. So far the search has been fruitless and I decided it was time to hit the canvas while continuing my search simultaneously. One of my most favorite artists once said 'You're only as relevant as what you created today' and that is something I've tried to live by as it truly resonated with me. In retrospect, however, I've failed miserably the past few months and am starting to feel a little irrelevant.
Having said that, I've really thrown myself back into the grind and have been trying to play catch up. Been struggling with palettes, composition, and basic fundamentals when it comes to painting but I strongly believe its just a matter of time. Here's one of the pieces that depict my struggle to get back on track. It really is an interesting piece. I often used to call it the 'cursed canvas' because I've had to cover up 4 paintings, which were all complete garbage so there are 4 layers of entire works buried under this painting. The images are in chronological order.
This is one of those paintings, which remind me why I do what I do. After almost 6 months of feeling lost and unsure, this baby put me back on track. I felt like I let out everything I wanted to with this painting. The Permanent Maroon and Payne's Grey against the Copper looks more beautiful in person. There is texture and dimension as well which is lost in photography. Titled C for Coordinates, I used acrylic on canvas, and the size of the canvas is a 40 in square.
I'm so excited that this piece is done. Decided to top her off with some serious gold leaf. I used around 6 sheets on the canvas (well I started with 2 and then had to go back in with another 4!) because of the scale. The pieces were larger too in order maintain proportion. There's something about this artwork that makes it super dreamy. I'm not sure what it is although part of me feels like it could just be that Cobalt Violet. Its driving me crazy and might end up becoming my most favorite color. Cobalt Violet and Peach = my own little paradise. Here's the complete piece along with some detail shots and one of my favorite in situ images.
I'm currently working on a 40in square canvas and decided to move forward with an abstract inspired by seascapes at sunset so I'll be focusing on a more gold/orange/Cobalt Violet palette instead of blue. Its nice to be working with cooler shades especially since I'm immediately drawn to warmer tones. There's definitely a struggle with composition since its been a while that I've worked on a large piece. Most of the recent work has been 36in (on the longest side) so the scale is a challenge too at the moment. Here's what it looks like as of now
Here's a detail shot, which I'm particularly drawn to.
I'm so happy to say that the floral worked out really well for me. It was a nice break from the usual stuff and I felt like putting myself outside my comfort zone injected something positive. And honestly, even made me miss what I do more. Working on the floral was challenging though. First challenge was composition. I had absolutely no idea how to approach it in terms of placement, scale, proportions or anything else. I literally had to draw out shapes on the canvas to see how to place things. Decided to go with roses since I felt like they were probably a good starter. In terms of color, I don't think I know how to work with anything but loads of it so that worked out pretty well.
Now that the piece is done and I'm so pumped that it is, I'm unsure as to whether I would want to try my hand at a few more. As beautiful as they are, I feel like I'm aching to go back to my abstracts and play around with them a little. See how I can push myself there. Here's the complete piece and you know I have to photoshop it into this awesome space :)