Archives for posts with tag: canvas

Wheat Harvest, Early Summer Noida Villages, India Oil on Canvas, 38.5cm x 38.5cm, April 2008. SOLD

Some paintings do have a story… this one sure does have one…

It was my first of series of paintings I did in the plein air just before the wheat harvest.. in fields along Yumuna river in Noida (UP).

I went in with my painting equipments etal in the late afternoon …as the April sun can be very strong early on.. I found the wheat just the right colour.. whitish yellow, ripen..and the plant golden yellow.

Finding a spot i went about starting my work… working in oils is always messy and complicated… and doing it outdoors can be sometimes tormenting!! I was quite happy this painting came out well… some don’t and then there is a struggle to make it well..and I hate that moment..when the painting is not getting the right look!! Thus immersed in work, trying to finish the painting, when i noticed a small girl standing close to my elbow… and she blurted out a startled “Hello!!” I realised on the road next to the fields was a big black car and next to it her parents… all ogling at me…

Crowds, passerby coming up and asking questions is part of plein air adventure.. unless it’s the police..or the military..which can be sometimes messy!!

When I smiled at them, they all trooped in and the usual conversation started…

“Wow! lovely!! you just did that…? We saw you when going towards our farmhouse an hour back… you paint so fast, do you sell? etc etc”.

They went away promising to come over to my studio and buying… (which of course they never did!!)

By the time I cleaned brushes, palette and packed up, it was dark and i dumped all paints, oils, easels into the back seat and only the wet painting in the dickey of the car… the biggest problem of oil is to bring back wet painting home safely… my work is thick impasto..with fresh colours like a relief..a kind of a torte!! and one little touch or it getting softly rubbed will completely spoil it..

I kept the wet canvas on the floor of the car dickey.. which i generally keep empty.

On the way home i stooped by for some tea at my friend’s small tea shop next to the fields.. back home i didn’t want to open the dickey in the dark and bring out the wet canvas and carry it three floors up.. so left it to do so the next day. Rest of my painting gear lies always in the car.

Next day I had some work in the day in Delhi so I left in my car and after finishing my work I drove straight back to the Noida fields… I started a new work as soon as I reached without even taking out the wet one lying in the that once done I can lineup the two works and compare and also do the last minute touch ups..

So once done with the second painting i went to my car to open the dickey.. to take out the painting.. and what I saw broke my heart!! In the night i hadn’t realised the existence of an old stupid empty plastic bottle!! which had been using the wet canvas as a dance floor…

So here it was, a finished work had a plastic bottle rolling all over it the whole time i was driving back home and then to Delhi and back…

Many of my works are very spontaneous..and I don’t rub and repaint over and over.. I like the strokes to show… and here all those lovely thick impasto were all smothered!!  It had never happened this scale.. though it does happen.

Anyway with a dogged determination I went about recreating…I don’t like to sit on a work which I have once finished…

At the end though I doubt anybody can make out that this painting had a makeover?!! Can you?

you can view my works here..

This is a list* of paintings I have sold so far: 2009-10-11; its a signal to all my well-wishers that am still eating and staying afloat in this prolonged financial mess!!

I am no ‘paint-by-night-sell-by-day-acrylic-on-canvas-artist’!!

I have never hung on (like parasites do) to an art institutionº or go from one Foreign Aid/ Scholarship to another to stay afloat.. I have never tired to get into any art college do my ‘Masters’ and more!!

I didn’t had to create Video Art, installation art etc. to stay in news…

I have kept it simple by the old fashion way, old school style of painting and painting with Oils (mostly) on Linen – the classic time-tested medium of the Masters!! My paintings are simple and the titles are kept as simple as possible… using the the KISS theory: Keep-It-Simple-Stupid!! I know I could have sold more if my paintings were titled say ‘Metamorphosis’¹ and not ‘Yellow Rose in Blue Vase’!!

 I don’t go into the territory of ‘Fantasia Art’ or ‘Naive Art’ (or is it ‘Child Art’?)²

I don’t try to take on the Folk or Tribal³ art and reinvent them!!


ºArt institutions & Art Scholarships

 I went to art college, just after my school years.. I was young and naive then… but realised the first day in there, that I haven’t got anything much to learn here… so once I complete my 4 years I ran as fast as I could!! To start my real learning of art!!

Am of course referring here to the tribe of artists; who after they have finished their basic Bachelor degrees in Art went on do their Masters etc and later latched on to any “foreign Study Aid/Scholarships/Freebies”!! Last I heard, some of them are still at it!! It’s been more than 20 long years that we graduated from our art college (1990).

I had no idea one has to study(?) so much for so long to become an artist!! The fact of the matter is that these institutions/scholarships are of financial benefits and these artists manage to live off them permanently!!


 During my college days there was a junior who had put up his paintings for our yearly college art show.. and titled them as ‘Metamorphosis’.

I knew him as one who didn’t know a word of English and of course had never heard of ‘Kafka’ etc …so when I asked him why and does he know the meaning?

“No, it’s to impress the art collectors!!” was his reply with a sly smile!! A fast learner… now his works sell at astronomical prices!!

This is a very old trick in an artists’ repertoire.. to keep his works and titles as ambiguous as possible.. as display of the artists’ maturity and depth of emotion etc… Once I made a list of names, titles of exhibitions, paintings…and showed it to an English professor… he was of course dumb founded!! It was meaningless, mindless, gibberish rubbish!!! But to art loving Indian collectors it must have made sense.. for they all rushed in to buy them!!

Example of Child or Naive Art

²Have you seen a child’s painting? They are so beautiful and I don’t see any reason for us adults to steal their ideas and paint like them and then sell them to art connoisseur at exuberant prices!! Its not fair to the child!!

Thangka, Tanjore, Kalamkari & Madhubani Paintings (l to r)

³Folk, Tribal Art and It’s Reinvention by the ‘Con’ temporary artists!!!

 In the same way why take the forms from ‘Thangka’ art or ‘Kalamkari’? Let them be… they anyway do a much better job of painting a Buddha or a Krishna!! And they are much more reasonably priced than the ones copied by so called ‘contempory artist’!!

These trends can only be explained with a bit of our (Indian) art history.. dating back when Nationalism was in rise during the fag end of nineteenth century 1890s) and beginning of twentieth century (1900-47). Many artist consciously-subconsciously wanted to reject anything which was coming from the West.. Western art etc and so they looked inward, in their backyard.. and to the Oriental art. Artists of that era took folk/traditional art forms and transformed them.. In Bengal this was very prevalent… artists looking for inspiration in Ajanta & Elora, taking forms from Chinese and Japanese art etc. I  don’t need to cite examples here… It was a process of evolution and a kind of protest against the imperialism etc.. but that’s almost a hundred years ago.. today taking the style, motifs from the traditional art form makes no sense… also if one is so inspired by Thankha, Kalmakari, Worli, Madhubani, ..why not do it the right way: go to the real source, learn the techniques and grammar from a let say, a Thangka guru and follow it like all folk/traditional artists/craftsmen do? And create genuine folk forms? No, the contemporary artist after attending 4-5years of art college training (learning mostly Western art, style, techniques etc) would go out and make atrocious copy of folk style and sell it of as contemporary art!! It is cheating. Its so unfair as the folk, tribal artists don’t command astronomical prices or respect like the ‘Con’ temporary artists do!!!

*you can view my works here..