Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Domes of Blue

Entrance to Blue Mosque,  watercolor on Yupo 14x11"

All over the world, throughout history, various absolutely grand and architecturally unique and beautiful places of worship have been built. Is it to glorify God, or to indulge the person who conceived and bank rolled it,  or to admire the talents and skills of artists and artisans who built it, a testimony of what man is capable of creating?  First look at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul last year during our trip was through the massive doors. I liked the multiple blue domes  - the repeating shapes and colors with sunlight streaming in. Looking at all that marble all around, I was suddenly reminded of Rabindranath Tagore's quote: While God waits for His Temple to be built of love, men bring stones.  

The look of marble was ideal to paint on yupo -- layering paint and creating texture by dabbing plastic wrap and paper towel.  I had to repeat the process of adding and lifting paint several times on the outer walls by the doors to make them darker. I also tried several times in the past couple of days to photograph the painting and this is the closest I could come to duplicate the  actual paint colors.  

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bug Art

Bug Art Digital photography

When five billion trillion keep munching each day,
It is a wonder the world isn't nibbled away!
-Ethel Jacobson 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Color Abstraction

Grand Cycle  color pencils 13x16"

This was an exercise in color theory and abstraction that I started in one of the classes I attended when I first tried my hand in art about fifteen years ago.  We had to bring a picture of a landscape to class and then proceeded to strip it down to the most basic shape and form.  Then starting with warmest red to the coolest violet, we had to color the forms from foreground to background in order of the warm-cool scale regardless of what color the object was in the reference picture.  Of course, having chosen color pencils as my medium to do the exercise, I was too slow to complete it in class. Many years later I went back to it and finished it with a modified version of the instructions as by then I couldn't remember much about the rules we were supposed to follow. 

Recently, I came across a quote by artist  Marc Chagal that explains the color theory succintly:  All colors are friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites.  I also just now discovered that googling 'color theory' yields a wonderful collection images and information! So off I go to explore :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Celebrating the Impermanence

Celebrating the Impermanence  Digital Photography

The Monks from Drepung Loseling Monestery in south India have been visiting every year for the past eleven years and this year I needed the timely reminder about the big picture, the  impermanence of life and not to sweat the series of  incidents that seemed to have piled on in my life this past month with no regard to the inconvenience and stress they caused :) Watching the monks take days to construct a beautiful mandala with a meditative concentration and then sweep it up only hours after completing it by pouring the sand from the mandala into a nearby river is indeed a very healing experience.  They always inspire me to look at my creativity with new eyes. I am now eager to get back to sketching and painting with a fresh perspective on art and life.  On a lighter vein, but sharing the same big picture philosophy, check out  Stefan Sagmeister's talk about happiness and design.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Language of the Soul

The Dancer watercolor on Yupo 14x11"
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music " - Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzche

I am really enjoying painting on Yupo - learning with each new piece.  In The Dancer I played again with just paint, water, brush. Yupo surface was perfect to bring out the silky transparency of the bellowing skirt and the veils.  I used a bunch of  photographs taken many years ago  at a dance demonstration and  added my own background of veils. I finished the lady more than a week ago and then waited for inspiration to resolve the background. Since this is yupo I may yet come back to it after a few days :)

Over the years, every time I saw those photographs, or I see someone totally absorbed in creating art, music or anything else, I am reminded of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's concept of 'Flow.'  According to Mihaly, Flow is completely focused motivation. It is single minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing emotions in the service of performing and learning. Check out this video of a TED talk by Mihaly on 'Flow' - creativity and happiness.

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