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Learning to photograph paintings to look close to what they are in life is something I’m working on.

Take this painting for example. I took a close-up (below) first, less that a foot away and a second one (above) from a distance of around 3 ft. I found that the close-up shot had focused on surface details which you dont see while viewing even if you go up close to peer at it. In the second one the surface details have disappeared almost completely. The actual piece is closer to the image on top – you can see a bit more colour on top than is visible here.

Keeping a distance from the source and later zooming in and cropping give a more faithful copy of the original.

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Running with the bulls

I don’t normally post incomplete work here but I’m away on a longish holiday (back in Sep) starting today. Posts here might be irregular. Wanted to put up something that I’m excited about in case it is a longer break in between posts than usual. Hoping to finish this and do a few more in this series when I return. Will write more about “Running with the Bulls” with the post on the finished piece.

36″ X 30″ acrylic on canvas. This is based on one of the inspiring photo refs taken by Oochappan. Used with permission.

Update: Image updated with finished piece.

waiting for a fare

People watching while waiting for a fare.

10″ X 12″ acrylic on canvas.

Take 2

from a self portrait by Lucien Freud

As part of my efforts to improve I have been copying the works of some master artists. Lucien Freud is one of them. I’m drawn to this self portrait of his. You can see an attempt that I made recently and one made in 2005 side by side. And though they’re nothing compared to the original , inspite of seeing the mistakes, I liked them both when they were made. I guess my mind figures out what I’m capable of at a given point in time and gives me credit accordingly. I’d love to try this piece again after a year.

Jamal Ahmed pagla

Jamal Ahmed is a successful Bangladeshi artist with 41 solo exhibitions to date. Pagla has been featuring in his work for many years now. With many artists you see a recurring subject, model or colour something they keep coming back to. Do you have one?

The reference for both these pieces have been taken by Anil Advani for his SoFoBoMo project and used with  permission.

Below I’ve tried a close crop of the digital painting made of Pagla. I’m not sure if it is better or worse.

paglaa

Jamal 12″ X 18″ charcoal in my sketchbook.
Pagla digitally made using Art Rage 2.

ekla cholo re

When there is a heavy load to bear and you find that there’s no company, sometimes you need to walk on alone.

Inspired and named after Tagore’s beautiful, nationalistic poem, “Ekla cholo re”. It is an exhortation to follow your heart, alone if necessary.

“Ekla cholo re”, 24″ X 36″ acrylic on canvas.

with apologies to Tagore

Walk alone

If they do not answer to your call, walk alone.

If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
“unfortunate” one,
open your mind and speak out alone.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
“unfortunate” one,
trample those thorns under your tread,
and along the bloodied track travel alone.

If they do not hold up the light on that stormy night,
“unfortunate” one,
with the flame of pain ignite your heart
and let it shine alone.

“unfortunate” – as indeed you are the opposite if you follow your heart

Glass Wall

You can look inside but you cannot be a part of what you see.

“Glass Wall”, 10″ X 8″ acrylic on illustration board.

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I’d always believed that cows were friendly docile creatures till I got chased down a busy road for patting one on its nose! That velvety nose had been so tempting, I didnt notice the horns till they were pointing in my direction! Quite obviously looks can be deceptive and so can the zillion movies showing docile cows. They’re still at the top of my list of animals to sketch, followed closely by elephants!

We have a saying in Hindi Bhagwan jab deta hai to chappar phad ke deta hai. It means when God gives it is plentiful enough to bring the roof down! It feels that way, at least on the art front, starting with my first sale in August last year.

Shako, a group formed by 9 leading Bangladeshi artists with the aim of promoting women’s art in Bangladesh, has invited my friend, Smita and me to exhibit with them for International Womens Day from 11:00am – 8:00pm on March 7th & 8th, 2008.

Update : March 1, 2008 : Venue: Hse 80, Road 23, Block A, Banani, Dhaka 1212. If you happen to be in town do stop by to have a look.

self portrait

In December, the Standard Chartered Bank opened an art gallery in its main branch to encourage upcoming artists by showcasing their work.  My friend Smita Srivastava and I decided to take advantage of this opportunity.  You are invited to our very first exhibition together, “Friends and Faces” from March 16th to 31st at the Standard Chartered Bank, 67, Gulshan Avenue, Dhaka.

For the time being I’ve decided not to offer my work for sale. The tricky question of pricing has been neatly side-stepped temporarily.

The gallery is small and can accommodate about 20 large paintings. The step of selecting the ones to display are over and now 3 are ready, 4 of them are with the framer and the last lot waiting to be signed before being framed. We’ve been talking about an exhibition together for 6 months now and are thrilled to realize it.

Self Portrait : 12″ X 14″ with charcoal on brown paper.

Update : While mentioning to a friend that I looked as though I’d been cleaning a chimney I got the name for this piece. She said that it was a bit early for being a “Santa’s helper”. That is going to be the title for this one then. Santa’s Helper.

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The teasing, taunting and sometimes worse that women have to endure while on the roads is a reality in quite a few cities in our world today. Many are the excuses that are given as if to say that in the saying it makes it alright. That she was dressed inappropriately, that she walked suggestively, she looked too pretty, she shouldn’t be walking alone , that men are hunters etc. etc. Makes my blood boil.

While, like this woman, you might feel like taking a stand, it would make better sense to ignore and move on. I blame cinema and violence for this increase of harassment in our country. Cinema because most of them show that a girl while initially resisting actually enjoys and falls in love with the youth who chose to accost her. And violence, as in the past, if a situation on the road went a bit out of hand you would have passers-by willing to help you. Now they too fear retaliation and violence from these goons.

The thought that ran through my mind while I was painting this was predators. In reality the lady was turning back to reply to her companions who were right behind her. They were taunting / teasing her too but it was as you would with friends and not strangers.

I have a great selection of references to work with from that one afternoon in Ashulia thanks to Anil‘s photography skills and generosity. And having been there, seen these people, interacted with some of them has made it interesting to capture them with paint. This is the 4th completed painting in the Ashulia series which is being renamed “On the road to Ashulia”.

18″ X 30″ Mixed Media (acrylic + oil) on stretched canvas.

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