Amateur Painter In Me

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I occasionally like to try new techniques of painting. I have not done art for a long time now, but I thought I will share some of my older paintings here. Most of the paintings are in acrylic on a 24 by 36 canvas. Actually, I was in a painting spree and probably did all these paintings in a period of two months, in the summer of 2003.


Mothers Strength


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This picture was originally in a black and white form and if I remember it correctly it’s a movie poster copy for Mother India. I deliberately used the ochre-blue-gray-black shades to make it heavy and burdensome. I used long horizontal brush strokes in the background to distinguish from the short circular brush strokes for the face. In the end, I would have liked it to be a bit more abstract than ‘postery.’ But I was happy with the light and shade effects.


Enlightenment


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When I started this painting I wanted to paint a narrow path in a redwood grove. You can actually see multiple trees one behind the other and horizontal strokes that depict the path. But somewhere in the middle of the painting I changed my mind. I thought why not paint an abstraction of Buddha under the Bodhi tree. So I used earth colors in the foreground and a sudden burst of light in the background. I made the tree really dense in the center and blurred as it came to the foreground. Some painters do the opposite. Keep the foreground dense and merge in the background.


Museum at moonlit night


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This is a public cart museum which I used to visit. I have beautiful memories of the museum while walking at night. So I decided to paint it in a night ambience. Since the museum was close to the lake and colored white, it almost looked like a giant seagull which had come down during the night. This inspired me to experiment in a monotone format (just shades of blue). I was happy with the light and shade effect it created. Even today when I look at this painting it shimmers in a bright fluorescent color that I didn’t expect from acrylic.


Couch of Dreams


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This was actually a test canvas. I was trying to warm myself up with the use of primary colors (yellow, blue and red) and practicing steady vertical strokes. But again somewhere in the middle of the painting I started introducing curvilinear strokes, mixed up the color scheme a little bit, one thing led to another. One of my friends pointed out that it looked like an abstraction of a couch and so I named it as a couch of dreams.


Encounter with Christ


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Here, my intention was to create a painting that I thought shows a divine encounter, i.e. Jesus walking on water towards me (High hopes buddy!). During this time I was actually reading books from impressionist painters such as Van Gogh and Monet. So, I experimented with the deft brush strokes, in dry brush technique, where you apply paint directly from the tube with the back of the brush, or you don’t use water as much, letting the brush hairs create the impression.  While I was happy with the background, I got a little carried away with the use of white (my bad!). I was however happy with the rocks on the foreground.


Rejection


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I have no idea what I was trying to do with this painting. Usually portrait paintings are painted with more mellow colors. But here I wanted to make a dire contradiction by using yellow-orange-red warm color scheme.  Most importantly I was experimenting on knife brush technique. In the knife brush technique, you use a special knife instead of a brush. The technique is a bit like putting butter on bread. Different shaped painting knives produce different effects, for example a short blade produces brisk short strokes while a long blade allows you to put down sweeps of color. If you observe the strokes closely, these are small brisk strokes. At the end I thought it worked in my way because the bright red colors contrasted with the portraits expression of rejection or downright misery.


The Man with the Beard


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Here he comes again- the man with the beard. Actually, this was supposedly my own portrait but it didn’t turn out that way. The color scheme actually derives from Van Gogh’s use of light and shade in De Hut. In this painting Van Gogh painted a hut which is illuminated in dawn. I still can get lost in this painting. It’s truly magical. In any case, here I wanted to paint a portrait with the same kind of light sense. I started with a black opaque background and applied lighter and lighters shades in series. The result was as if some Ghost mysteriously appeared from the background.  At one point I stopped. Another additional stroke would have spoilt it. As someone said ‘Half of art is to know when to stop.’

Author: Newton Dsouza- USA