Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Delicate Dragonfly

Delicate digital photography
Dragonfly photograph seemed to be the perfect one to post again after my last two paintings. I read that they symbolize 'renewal, positive force and power of life in general.' They are also thought to represent fleetingness and change, even though they are one of the oldest inhabitants of earth dating back over 250 million years! The Japanese and also the Zuni Indians consider them to be messengers from another world representing courage and strength. To the Navaho Indians dragonfly symbolized pure water. Check here if you would like to see some exquisite close-up photographs of the dragonfly. I am happy that so far this summer I see their shimmering delicate lacy wings and iridescent eyes as they fly around the garden.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage water media 9x12"
The Gulf oil disaster needs no explanation. Recently I read the delicate plovers are migrating back right into the mess which prompted me to paint this piece. I have only seen photographs of pelicans dripping in oil and I don't know how much oil the plovers will get on them since they are shore /wading birds. So this is done purely from my imagination. As an artist how much license should I take ? Does it take away from the message if I decide to be faithful to the spirit of the idea, to the emotional content and go with my imagination? Recently there was a story on NPR about Michelangelo drawing a brain in God's neck in the Sistine Chapel ceiling and the discussion centered upon why there and what did he want to convey? Artists have always wanted to make philosophical and political statements. My hope is that, the messages doesn't get swept away in the debate about realistic depiction.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Ignorance mixed media 12x15"
The explosion of violence, hate and extremism around the world is very very scary. This piece in a way painted itself. Its beginnings were innocent enough but before long as I was listening to radio news of bombings, terrorist plots and raging wars, I found myself painting dark figures, smoke and a war zone of a city. Apathy is as dangerous as hate. How do we give non-violence a chance? Will we all ever learn to live and let live?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dragonfly Delights

Dragonfly Delights digital photography

This morning I spent my time stalking the dragonflies with a camera. I was clipping the dried flowers off the rose bush when the shimmering wings completely distracted me from the chore at hand. In no time at all, I abandoned trimming the bushes but was back in the yard with my camera trying to capture the ever active dragonflies as they danced from flower to leaf to flower. I marveled how elegantly and effortlessly they were flying and landing and taking off again and again -even though that made it hard for me to focus and shoot. I admired their exquisite form and the beauty of the shiny delicate wings. I couldn't help but wonder : how do they fly with those gauzy transparent wings? And I was especially happy that all those dragonflies means we won't be swatting at pesky mosquitos when we are outdoors this summer:)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Imaginative Reality

Rose Pencil 9x12"
Yesterday as I was working on the Rose, I heard a discussion on NPR about "Scientists Pinpoint Monet's London Balcony." According to the reporter, artist 'Claude Monet spent the winters of 1899, 1900 and 1901 freezing on the balcony of London's Savoy Hotel, painting a famous series of images of Waterloo Bridge and Charing Cross Bridge. Now, the scientists at Birmingham University have used solar geometry and historical weather data to figure out exactly which balcony Monet was standing on and what time of the day he was likely working.' I chuckled to myself as I followed the conclusions. I am sure if anyone tries to figure things out from my art work they would be in for a surprise because I do take a lot 'artistic license' when I sketch, draw and paint. I change or eliminate things often to match my technical abilities(or rather lack of) and to change the composition to suit my taste. And I started wondering how many artists really faithfully follow the original subject (other than for illustration purposes) and how many viewers think an artist is true to the subject's every detail :contour, shadow, value, color etc. ? Should we come to major conclusions about historical facts from an artist's creation or are these just fun exercises - not major theses. Along the same lines, earlier there was this piece on "High Art: Were Boticelli's Venus and Mars Stoned? " The object of discussion here was the identity and effects of a fruit that was in the hand of one of the little satyr in the painting. Click on the highlighted words in the blog and you can hear/read the scoop.

Rose is done using 2, 4 and 6B pencils and some Prismacolor cool greys here and there in the background leaves. It was an exercise in values I came up with. I had taken color digital picture of the rose from our garden. Then using the photo-software changed the color to black & white and played with the settings for light and shadows. I then printed it out for sketching using grids. The final piece is an composite of all that and my imagination as I simplified the background.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Art of Choosing

Sky is the Limit digital photography

I go through my collection of photographs and ideas compulsively many times before I decide on my next painting subject or what to post on my blog. Of course, every now and then I do know what, which, and how almost instinctively. I am also acutely aware that when I am drawing and painting, the ability to choose well -- the right stroke of the pencil or the brush, the correct value and color, and when to say enough is critical. Sometimes the desire to choose well is so strong that it interferes with the act of creating even as I keep telling myself its only paper and paint! This past week while at the library picking up "The Art of Choosing" by Sheena Iyengar was an easy decision to make. I am hoping by the time I finish reading it I will have insights into becoming a better and disciplined 'chooser' in both mundane and momentous tasks - and not just in my art :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...