It is the end of the week and I am quite exhausted by discussions of death, destruction and discord. So it is a good time once again to take a break and figuratively dust off some of my old art work (that is because I have not painted anything new) and share them with readers.
The last two times I put up some of my original paintings (Virtual Exhibition # 1) and some faithful copies (Virtual Exhibition # 2). Today I have picked two paintings which are somewhere in between. These paintings are based on photographs I found in magazines. But they were painted from memory - I did not have the originals before me when I executed the paintings. As the originals were photographs and mine are paint and brush versions of the same and because I added and subtracted quite a bit from the original compositions, the end products are not really copies. However, since I borrowed the basic idea, I hesitate to call them true originals.
(As usual, please click on the pictures for a larger image.)
One bleak February in Nebraska, I was struggling with a painting that was going nowhere. Both the weather and the creative mind block were cause for some frustratration. I wanted to put the work aside and start something fresh but couldn't come up with a good idea. Then during a trip to the local library while browsing through an issue of National Geographic, I fell upon an article on Rajasthan, the colorful desert state in central India. Rajasthan is not far from Delhi and the photographs in the article made me painfully nostalgic for the hot, arid summers of northern India in the surrounding gloom of a midwestern winter. I could not check out the magazine. I made a quick sketch of the picture on a piece of paper and later transferred the image on canvas. What transpired was a very satisfying piece of art work that progressed with speed and enthusiasm. I finished the painting in high gloss varnish which lent it a luminous overtone. It is framed in antique gold frame and hangs in a room that gets the afternoon sun - resulting in an attractive glow. It always pleases me to look at this painting because I remember how happily I worked on it.
As evident from my previous paintings, I like to use bright, bold colors. From time to time I would toy with the idea of making something muted using shades of black, grey or brown - like a charcoal drawing or an ancient sepia tinted photo. But I never got around to it until I came across a photo (painting?) in a science journal (I don't remember which one). There was a picture of a man and a boy in identical, old fashioned top hats and long coats standing by what looked like a canal. The entire picture was in varying shades of brown. I found in it the perfect template for my two toned ambition. Again, I made a rough sketch of the figures and started the painting with much anticipation. But much to my surprise and dismay, even though I felt I was doing a pretty decent rendition of the original, nothing looked right. The hatted and coated man and boy, who looked quaint in the photo, looked comical on my canvas. While the original was "dark and moody," mine looked "dark and muddy". Rather than abandon it, I decided to change a few things while giving up the hope of a strictly two toned painting. I modernized the man's clothing and gave him an umbrella, suggesting rain. The little boy was changed to a little girl in a bright yellow slicker to contrast with the dark clad man. I drew a lamp post on the side to introduce some more yellow and that allowed me to add it also to the sky. And lo and behold, the painting gained a focus and acquired a mood .. and still retained the look of an old photograph!