Saturday, June 30, 2012

Moment of Miracle

Light Dance watercolor 2.5x3.5" by Meera Rao
Painting miniatures is a challenge for me. I was attracted by the lines and curves of the bird, the perch the beautiful light and the shadows. It reminded me of Walt Witman's words : "Every moment of light and dark is a miracle "

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Textured Story

Reverie  mixed media 15x13" by Meera Rao

"Only this: if you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled for the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself. You don't even know yourself. For the first thing a writer should be is—excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms. Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches; God knows it'd be better for his health."  These words are by one of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury from his :"Zen in the Art of Writing"   'Writer', I think, can be easily substituted by 'painter.'    

One way for me to be excited is by experimenting. I played with watercolors, gesso, stencils and collage and the resulting painting is Reverie - conjuring up the image of a serene lady I remembered from many years ago on a rainy day at the foot of a hill near what seemed like a thousand steps leading to a temple at the very top. She was making garlands for the devotees to buy and offer it as a prayer when they get to the temple but was really lost in her own world.  I added textures with gesso, stencils, and collaging torn bits of rangoli designs, tissue and handmade paper.  

As Ray Bradbury said in his essay, "And the stories began to burst, to explode from those memories, hidden in the nouns, lost in the lists." Not as eloquent as his stories, nonetheless, one all my own. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Transcending Chaos

Transcending Chaos mixed media by Meera Rao 30x22"

"I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration."
Frida Kahlo (1907 - 1954)

Even though it looks like a perfect match for Kahlo's quote, I had started this painting almost 18 years ago at a workshop given by Doug Walton. The shapes and various elements were drawn to cues given. The steps also included 'spiritcard' shapes and underpainting. Unfortunately my choices somehow never jelled into a decent composition.  Over the years, I tried to unify and pull something out of the chaos that was on the paper. At one point I added a unifying background color. Most recently, it got a bit of gesso on it in places and some collage as I tried out what I had picked up in Myrna Wacknov's workshop. All I can say is that I learned a lot as I brainstormed and tried out various options.  

Here is a Doug Walton gem from my notes from that first workshop which perhaps sums up my efforts? : "Wrong is right and right is wrong. Allow your 'how' to show- not the 'what.'  Your wrongness is your difference; your difference is your significance. Be consistent. Be decisive even your wrongness. " 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Try And Try Again Differently

Lunch Break again mixed media by Meera Rao

This painting was the result of playing with an abandoned piece.  When I painted Lunch Break  (check out that post for variation1) about two years ago it was my second attempt.  Earlier this year I pulled out the first discarded try.  I like to have something to keep my hands and brushes busy while I am waiting for washes or paints on a piece I am working is drying.  This, I hope, keeps me from muddying the work but that does not always happen! I have been trying to remember to take photos of my playing around to see where it takes me. Below is the piece when I first abandoned it. 

 I used a black Prismacolor pen to outline the various shapes. May be I should have stopped long before I outlined every shape!!! 

I went on to darken some parts and then cropped the painting( - see the top most photo).  I had always underestimated what a tremendous learning experience it is to paint variations. I see now how very interesting it is to see the two paintings side by side now.  

And as this quote by Bob Brendle says so eloquently, "There can be no failure in an art experiment excepting that of vision."
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