Lost in thought

Lost in thought - wip 3

Exciting times.  I’ve enrolled for a short term course at UODA under the guidance of Shahid Kabir, renowned Bangladeshi Printmaker and Painter.  For a while at least, the finished pieces getting on to this blog are likely to be prints.

Enjoying painting with oil and hope I can pick it up again after the printmaking course.

Lost in thought, 12″ X 12″, Oil on canvas.

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Je ne veux pas travailler

Flower Seller

We have many street vendors in Dhaka.  This flower seller’s expression caught my attention.  It’s turned out to be more aggressive mostly because of what I read into the situation and the stories that I built around him which kept me occupied when painting.

Using oils after a break.  The first painting is yet to be completed.  This one, I’m calling done.  It’s the first signed painting in 2009!

“Flower Seller”, 20″ X 22″, oil on canvas.

Fair game?

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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.

Waiting

Simplify

The goal is visible yet seems so far away. “Waiting” was an attempt at getting away from the details and realism that I was getting bogged down with. Simplify, simplify, simplify was my mantra. It is my first complete painting in 2008 and the plan is to make a larger one based on this even though I hadn’t started out with that in mind.

10″ X 12″ oil on stretched canvas

An afternoon in Ashulia

Ashulia Lady

And now my “series” has a name! An afternoon in Ashulia. This makes it all of three pieces in my newly named series. 😀

The Ashulia Lady was accompanied by a gentleman and came down the road along with the garment factory workers. The two held themselves a little aloof from the others but stopped by to see what we were up to and to inquire as to why? No, we told them we were not journalists. I don’t know if our reply disappointed all the people who asked us. When Anil asked her permission she looked at her companion and seeing that he was okay with it she gave us the go ahead. In the short time it took Anil to focus his camera, I think she felt all the attention suddenly focussed on her and was overcome with shyness! I hope some of that comes through.

Oil on a 10″ X 12″ canvas board. Photo reference copyright Anil Advani used with permission.

Ashulia series

Ashulia man 2

I’ve just finished the second Ashulia portrait and I’m already calling it a series 😀

Oil on a 10″ X 12″ canvas board. Photo reference copyright Anil Advani used with permission.

Paan khaye

paan khaye...

I first noticed him standing across the road, arms akimbo, watching us take photographs. After a while he came over unasked and posed confidently for Anil. He had this glint in his eyes, a wide open smile showing teeth stained with betel nut juice and a look suggesting we were bananas taking photographs of people passing by. And when I saw the photographs I was thrilled as Anil had captured him beautifully on film.

This piece gets its name from an old hindi song called “Paan Khaye Saiyan Hamaro” since it was on my mind when I was painting. There’s been a long tradition of eating Paans ( betel nuts, anis and other mouth fresheners rolled into a betel nut leaf ) in South Asian culture. There are mentions of paan as early as the 3rd century in the Kamasutra. It is supposed to be a digestive and a mouth freshener but is an acquired taste. Those who indulge swear by it. My husband is a big fan. A few Paan related clicks for those who’re interested in finding out more.

Wikipedia entry on Paan
Muchhad Paan – sells paan online!!
Watch a paan being made.
Hear the Bollywood song “Paan Khaye Saiyan Hamaro

Oil on a 10″ X 12″ canvas board. Photo reference copyright Anil Advani used with permission.

A journey begins

amina 3

It all started thanks to my younger sister, Gala.

I had taken some drawing lessons in Feb and was stuck on wanting to paint but couldn’t/hadn’t taken the first step. And it was around then that I came to visit my sister in July 2004. She sort of nudged me to it by giving me a large

amina 2amina 1

canvas (4′ X 3′), her paint supplies, an easel and space in her studio. And that seemed to have been all the encouragement I needed. I painted over 2 days pausing only because i hoped the paint would dry the next day.

The first effort didn’t quite go the way I wanted it to and each subsequent effort seemed to steadily take it away from the original. In the end, I felt that the first effort had been the best! But that’s not as important as the the fact that I fell in love with the feel of painting and decided that this was something that i wanted to pursue.

And when a few months later I was stuck in a hotel, remembering this experience pushed me to locate an art supply shop and start painting in earnest. I chose acrylics having decided that oils took too long to dry and turpentine would be toxic in a closed room 😀