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June 06, 2006

Second Hand Art (Virtual Exhibition #2)

In my introductory virtual exhibition I posted some original compositions. This post contains paintings which are copies of other artists' works.  As a student and amateur artist, I have made many copies over the years, true and inspired -  of real objects, human beings, photographs and other artists' works as my model. The exercise is akin to penmanship - for practice and to improve drawing skills and techniques. Occasionally, a copy turns out to be so satisfactory, that happily it becomes a work of art worth preserving . I display them in my home for my own enjoyment and am doing so now on the blog, for yours. These pictures are testimony to my skills as an illustrator, much like a billborard artist - not my artistic flair. I have spoken with those in the know about the wisdom of putting them out for public consumption.  They assure me that as long as I do not offer such art for sale or claim them as my own, I am not violating any ethical boundaries, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery .. etc.

When I started painting at Joan Furrow's studio in Omaha in late 1992, I was for the first time, working  seriously with oil paint. Joanie advised me to start off with a few copies of actual paintings to get a handle on the color, texture and proper brush strokes. All the paintings shown here are from assorted magazines that cluttered Joanie's library. Unfortunately, I did not make a note of the artists' names. So I cannot credit any one properly except to say that these are not my own compositions. I selected the pictures for different reasons but each appealed to me on the basis of subject matter, appropriate level of complexity and artistic quality. They are not reproductions in a technical sense because I did not measure out the originals in grids for exact proportions. I drew them from visual perception as closely as possible. But they are all good enough copies that if you saw the originals somewhere, you'd probably recognize them. The paintings are oil on canvas and they hang in my home. So enjoy some one else's art vicariously - channeled through me.

Please click on pictures for larger image:Rp_street

This was the first full painting I made at Joanie's.  I selected it for the depth of the perspective, colors and composition. The impressionistic style of drawing made it easier to avoid making glaring mistakes. I liked the criss-crossing of light and shadow on the dusty street.

Rp_2_women I was struck by the two heads against a stark background, warm colors and the mysterious play of shadows on the faces of the women. The painted pots were  good practice in drawing perfect 3-D shapes and the intricate designs required control and careful use of brush.

Rp_cowboy_1 Again, I chose the picture for its interesting subject (a horse & a rider are never boring), the cyan colors invoking deep twilight shadows and the rocky, stark look. The special challenge was to get the horse right from the front facing, foreshortened angle - always the hardest perspective for drawing four legged animals. 

Rp_lighthouse_2The angry sky, a rocky landscape (yes, I prefer painting rocks to lush greenery), attractive colors and clear lines decided my choice here. I also love lighthouses.

For my next "exhibition," I will post a couple of inspired copies which are based on photographs in magazines like the National Geographic, Life and sometimes even scientific magazines. But in the process of painting, they evolved enough to become distinctly my own. I will end the art series with a few more of my originals. Please don't  hesitate to leave me a comment.

(This post is being recycled - I had published it more than a year ago. I am bringing it to the front for new readers and also because I have no other blogworthy idea for today.)


I'm in awe, Ruchira! I love the way in which you have somehow made these paintings your own- I mean that even if they are very good copies of original photos,etc. the treatment has your artistic sensibility and techniques incorporated in it. I hope that you have found the time to start painting again- any other works on the easel?

Ruchira, thanks for sharing your paintings again. I especially liked the first one and am amazed how you can paint such a variety of subjects so well - like people and scenery. The horse looks so real. Have you participated in any art fairs in Texas? Please continue to let us see what else you have painted.


These are beautiful! I love all of them and particularly the lighthouse. I agree that you should participate in art shows. I also enjoyed your description of each piece.


It looks like home--it's the Maine coast!

I have to say, Lady Paul, that your works breathe and speak, they are really delightful. You are somehow able to create lines and shadows that have a great deal of character. It's a gift. Do you experience emotions when you paint, or is there an analytical mode that you switch into? My favorite is the women with the pottery/baskets upon their heads, for some reason that one is very alive.

*sigh* I love this blog.

Thanks everyone for visiting and for the enthusiastic words. I enjoy sharing the paintings on the blog with readers as much I do writing the review of a good book.

Joe: That might indeed be the Maine coast. I don't remember for sure.

Matt: I cannot accurately answer the question whether I react emotionally or analytically to art. A bit of both, I should think. When I begin a painting, the work is more analytical. Dividing the canvas, grouping and spacing the subject matter and making a good sketch are almost a geometric process. But once the color application begins, it starts to transform into a more visceral aesthetic exercise. You just "know" if something looks right or not. And I am fascinated by light and shadow. Which is why the two artists I absolutely love are Vermeer and Edward Hopper.

I do believe that I always react to colors, light and shadow more deeply and emotionally than I do to music. In my memories dating back to childhood, I associate places and experiences with my visual impressions (and smells). I seem to be able to recall colors much more vividly than sounds. Even after years, I tend to clearly remember the "yellow light" of a room or a hotel balcony, the "hypnotic purple shadow" on a street corner, the "wet blue light" in a courtyard or the "golden, speckled twighlight' of a long ago evening. So I guess I do react "emotionally" to colors. But I guess not enough to keep on painting!

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