December 31, 2007

Looking back at 2007

As the year draws to a close, it is time to look back and reflect upon my art and growth as an artist during the year. The year seems to have gone by just like that, and I would certainly say that I have grown as an artist. I am happier with my art than I was same time last year. Whether I am satisfied or not is a different story altogether, but I think I am on my way there. It is time to reward myself for everything that I managed to do, and introspect things that went wrong.

The foremost achievement for me this year is the very fact that I have managed to draw/paint very regularly. I wanted to make this a daily habit, which I did during the latter part of the year. Initially I was painting whenever I found the time, and slowly I have learnt to make the time for it. This was my first year of painting with a child, with her taking most of my time. I would say I fared reasonably well.

The next good outcome from this year is I finally started making some money with my art. I started taking up private commissions and it has been a lovely ride so far. The money that I have made is not even worth mentioning, it is a miniscule percentage of what I earn through my job, but it is the one that excites me much more. The feeling that someone is ready to pay for your art is simply priceless, and I got that happiness this year.

And then I took part in my first ever exhibition. Though I did not have much success, I got a chance to interact with other artists and stuff. And it gave me a first hand view of the art market here.

This one is not an achievement by any means, but one that I am happy about - I ventured into doing Art Cards (miniatures) and loved it so much. I will continue to do more of them in 2008.

I updated my website and also blogged my paintings during the year. The website thing was pending forever, and I finally got to do it. I would be improvising it as I go, but I have a decent looking site ready to inform anyone who wants to see what I do. I used to blog my art regularly till 2005, and stopped it last year when I was on long leave. Now I have started again and it has been good so far. I have also interacted more often at WetCanvas and learnt immensely from other artists out there.

And finally, my biggest achievement this year has been the great progress in my time management skills, where I could effectively make time for art amidst everything else. I have gotten over my laziness in a big way, something that I am very proud of! There is still a long way to go, but I have made good progress. So with all these behind me, I am really looking forward to making a fresh start in the new year. Lots of more art to come in the coming days, watch this space.

December 9, 2007

My first Art exhibition and more.

I am glad that finally took part in an exhibition. It was a great learning experience meeting a lot of artists, having a look at the kind of work that others do etc etc. My first learning was that I need to work larger, I felt my pieces were miniscule compared to the others. Even a 16*20 seemed so small on the wall, especially when hung without a frame.

I wish more people had turned up, though I do not know anything about how the average turnout would be for events like these. I did not have any enquiries or anything, but got to develop a few contacts. That was the most important goal of the event, to create a platform for art lovers to interact. Two of my friends dropped in and I did not expect either. It was a pleasant surprise to meet Altoid for the first time, and Cheti after almost 3 yrs! Thank you both!:)

The event was great overall, a great initiative by the BYOA guys. They plan to have more events in future to help artists network, let us see. Great job guys!

Me with both my pieces that were exhibited

Among other things, I got my website up and running finally. I have my domain name booked for well over 6 months now, but never got around to building a decent looking site. This time the motivation was different. I had to market myself at a public event and it was a must that my site was updated. I have gone in with SiteKreator, which is very popular amongst artists for the good image handling capabilities. Have a look at and give me your valued opinions.

December 3, 2007

Bring your own art!

There is going to be an Art festival in Bangalore this weekend, and I am glad to be a part of it. The 'Bring your own art' festival is aimed at providing a platform for several 'unknown artists'. What a unique idea! I read about this unique event in yesterday's edition of the Hindu. I sent in about 6 of my paintings and 2 have been selected to be exhibited. Needless to say, I am hyper excited!

The event is at the Chitrakala Parishad in Bangalore, and is over a period of 3 days - 7th, 8th and 9th of Dec 2007. I am exhibiting on the 8th, when I will be available at the venue all through the day. I hope to come again as a visitor on Sunday too, to have a look at all the undiscovered art.

More than anything else, this event is supposed to be a platform for artists to meet fellow artists and other art lovers. I am hoping to have a lot of fun! If any of you are around, do drop in:-) And spread the word. Thank you.

November 16, 2007

A sunny afternoon - WIP

Since I was fairly satisfied with my previous attempt at working loosely, I started another piece. This time too my goal was to work loose, do not define too many intricate details, but still manage to create an atmosphere with the piece. I felt this one turned out better than the previous one.

The reference image showed an overcast day, which I have kinda converted into a sunny day with some strong shadows. Here is a quick work in progress.

A sunny afternoon - stage 1
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

Firstly a rough sketch under 2 minutes. I heard from another painter that he prefers to directly start painting, no sketch whatsoever. That would give me a nightmare, as I prefer to have a sketch however vague it may be! I would be lost without one.

A sunny afternoon - stage 2
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

Then I do the clouds, just like the previous one. Colours used so far are only cobalt blue and titanium white.
A sunny afternoon - stage 3
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

In the pic above, I have done a red toned underpainting for the distant trees. I have done the foreground directly with some Viridian green and lemon yellow. I have also marked the darkest darks in the barn which will be from the shadows. Till now I had used only my 1 inch flat brush. I started doing the dried tree using the edges of the flat brush and went kinda mad with it. No matter how much I tried, I could not get the finer branches with it. I had to finally resort to my zero brush.

A sunny afternoon - stage 4 (c) Nithya Swaminathan

I have started with the barn, done more details on the foreground. And just started with the canal in the front.
A sunny afternoon - completed
Acrylics on Gallery wrapped canvas, 12 * 16 inches.
(c) Nithya Swaminathan
Original Available, email me for purchase info
Prints available here

Finally, I complete the image with finer details on the grass, and some more details on the water. Also, I have enhanced the depth of the canal where the land meets the water. And deepened the shadows in the barn and in the foreground.

As usual, here is a slideshow. I love!

This was done in about 2 hours, over 3 sessions. It is done on gallery wrapped canvas with the sides painted so that it can be hung without a frame. Thanks for viewing, and I welcome your comments and suggestions.

November 10, 2007

Art with a timer!

I have always been awestruck with painters who can work fast and convey all they want to with as few brush strokes as possible. Work that is actually impressionistic but looks real. I wanted to give it a shot, after some impetus by plein air painter Larry Seiler at Wetcanvas. Working loose would come naturally to Plein air painters, as they have to capture the moment on canvas before the light changes. It comes with a lot of practice, and gives a lot of life to paintings. In this approach, there is hardly any attention to detail, only the relevant things are highlighted and the painting draws the viewer in.

What I have just completed is my first attempt at working loose. The goal was simple - to paint without spending too much time thinking. Just let myself loose on the canvas. This painting was done in just under an hour, from scratch. It was done using only 1 brush, a 1 inch flat brush. It was weird to actually paint with a timer, as though I was writing an examination!

Generally, my attitude towards an Acrylic or Oil painting is very lethargic. I take my strokes for granted, coz deep inside is the lurking feeling that if things don't work out as I expect, I can always paint over it again. This is an effort to kill that attitude and make every brush stroke count. At every stage, I noted down the time taken for that stage, and everything was painted only once. No redoing at any stage and I am happy for that reason.

Here is a quick look at the painting from start to finish.

Green Landscape - stage 1
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

Seen above is the initial sketch, as roughly as I could. My sketches for landscapes are generally very vague, I do not follow the picture to the T, but this was more sketchy than I normally do. The sketch was done in under a minute.

Green Landscape - stage 2
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

Then I start with the skies, and in about 5 minutes, do the sky with some cobalt blue and white. Then randomly do the clouds as I please. A touch of crimson here and there.

Green Landscape - stage 3
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

I then do an underpainting of the far away trees in tones of red. This is to enhance the effect of the greens which will be done on top of the reds. I have not marked values, just done a plain monotone underpainting. Another 2 mins spent there.

Green Landscape - stage 4
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

And then I started with the greens, did a green wash without much details in the foreground. There is no actual depiction of grass as yet. This was about 15 minutes.

Green Landscape - Acrylics on Canvas, 12 * 16 inches
(c) Nithya Swaminathan
Original available, email me for purchase info.
Prints available here.

And finally I complete the painting with more details on the grass, complete the reflections of the sky etc. Another 25 minutes spent. So start to finish was done in approx one hour. I wanted to finish this Alla prima, in one sitting, but it got spilt over to two sessions. So that defines my next goal - to finish a painting in less than an hour and in one session. I have put this WIP into a slide show, check it out.

It is a lot of fun working like this, it is very liberating since there is no time to think and I just paint. My mind doesnt ponder over what I should do, it is only a spectator. I love the whole thing, though I cannot say for sure if this will be a new direction that I will focus on. Let us see. I would love to hear your views on this. And since my readers already know how much I suck at titles for paintings, I would love to hear some title suggestions as well. I just could not come up with one!

October 31, 2007

'Me time' - WIP

Continuing my efforts to come up with my own compositions, I have ventured into this one combining several pictures of Monet’s gardens at Giverny, France. The references have been used with the permission of some fabulous photographers at flickr. Right now the painting is in its formative stages and looks quite tight, but I hope to get an impressionistic effect going further. I am also not happy with the richness of the color so far, it looks so dull. I need to work on this a lot more, and if I am still not satisfied, I will go in for my oil paints. I have never tried how oil works on top of acrylics, and I am quite excited to try that out.

Me time - stage 1
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

I am mostly a waterfall or sea kind of person, I love wild waters. Still waters don’t excite me much, but this is a kind of place that I would like to spend some time with myself. That’s what made me add a figure in the pic. I could just go on staring at the waters and those ripples, doing nothing else! Seen above is the initial stage where I have just outlined the lady.

Me time - stage 2
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

I have very crudely indicated some waterlilies in the water. I was in a dilemma whether to have a couple of swans or waterlilies, and have gone with the lilies as of now, since they look more like Monet! The water and the bridge are mostly green, and they all look messed up now. I will be making the bridge a lot lighter and differentiating it from the waters.

Me time - stage 3
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

I wanted to give the lady a nice flowing dress, like those of olden times. I felt it would give a old masters kind of look to the image. I have changed that now, have made the dress rather straight forward. I have also tilted her body to be facing the pond, so that she looks more 'in' the scene. I have also reduced the size of the lady, I felt she look huge before! Blue was my first choice for the colour of the dress, since I love blues. But now I don't like what I have done, since the whole painting is so full of cool colours. I am thinking I will make it peach, or even mild yellow. That should make the figure stand out. The background needs a lot more detailing too.

I have not touched this in a week since I have been busy with my cousin’s wedding and other stuff. We have a holiday tomorrow, and I hope to get some work done on this. So you guys can expect an update on Friday.

October 25, 2007

Conversation - with WIP

I generally work from reference images, and follow them pretty closely. My painting would be easily identifiable as based on whichever photo I use, coz I do not experiment to change much. I wanted to change this approach, thanks to a brilliant thread at Wetcanvas couple of months ago on 'How to use reference images' (too lazy to hunt the link!) and started this painting primarily as a challenge to myself. I wanted to see for myself how much I am able to differ from a photo and able to stand on my own. I picked up a black and white photo of this little girl that had no big details, no light source, and used that as the base to create this painting.

Conversation - stage 1

Nothing here is painted from my imagination, but the whole painting is based on a dozen images, combined in a way that I found appealing. Rather I imagined a scene in my mind, and hunted for pictures that had a lighting to suit, to create a mood etc etc. So its essentially my own composition, and that feels so good!

Initially, my idea was to add a colorful ball to the right side, and something like a butterfly close to the child. It was as if she was playing with the ball but her attention got to the colorful butterfly and the ball was lying unattended to! Well I was thinking about my daughter all along the painting and that is so typical of her. I did add a ball but did not like it and painted over it.

Conversation - stage 2

I felt kinda lost midway and thought of starting afresh on the canvas, but with a lot of compositional help from the experts at Wetcanvas, I could redeem the painting and make it a tad better. Someone at the acrylics forum suggested about adding a kitten/puppy and I loved that idea. So despite the fact that my bakcground was done completely in green, I added a kitten directly with some paint. That probably explains why that kitten looks kinda distorted.

And then I also felt that the child was looking older than she should. I wanted a girl of 2-3 yrs and she looked about 5 yrs I would say. So I worked on 'rounding' her arms a little more and making her size a little bigger so that she was the focal point. And since I felt there was too much of green all around, I added some flowers to the foreground.

Conversation - completed
Acrylics on Canvas, 16 * 20 inches
Original available
(c)Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

When I just thought I was done and went ahead and signed it, my husband said he did not like the kitten at all. He ofcourse was not able to tell me what the issue was, but worse still I wasnt able to point it out myself! Another artist said that the kitten is too big. Now I am in a fix, whether to make it smaller, or paint over it and put in something else there.. Maybe a butterfly, maybe a puppy or anything else. I have no clue as yet. Any comments and suggestions are welcome, I would love to hear different views on "What could it be thats keeping the girl so engrossed?!"

Conversation - detail view

What you see above is a closer look at the child and the kitten, do suggest any changes that you feel would make this a better painting. Thank you!

October 12, 2007

Autumn Woods - completed

Did anyone feel that my maples were a bit too yellow last time? Well I felt so, and I had to do something about it. That’s probably not the only reason why they look like gulmohars and not maples, but I wasn’t too happy with the leaves. I added some flesh tint on them to make them brighter, and darkened the crimson on the other side.

Autumn Woods
Acrylics on Canvas, 18 * 36 inches
(c) Nithya Swaminathan
Original Available

In my previous update, since the leaves had a lot of yellow and were surrounded by more of green and yellows last time, they were getting lost in the grayscale. The barks had a good range of values, but the leaves looked quite flat. I have changed that by adding a lot of dark blues surrounding the leaves, to push forward the maple leaves. And then I correspondingly reduced the yellows in the sunlit areas of the birch barks as well.

Some closeups of the painting for you guys. First is the closeup of the reflections. The reflections have been done by adding the barks first as bright as possible, and then doing several washes of blues and greens, and some browns here and there. Finally to get a better feel of water, I have added some dried leaves floating here and there. I am pretty happy with the reflections overall except for those of the maple leaves. The orange kinda sticks out. I have already got suggestions to tackle it, will probably be washing it over with some darker hues.

Autumn Woods - close up
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

This is a closer look at the middle part of the painting, the ferns and their reflections. This is also my favorite portion of the picture, the part that I am really happy about. I went about randomly doing the ferns but they turned out quite well.I also added some highlights on the ferns. And instead of having the bushes on either side look alike, I made one side have tall grasses. And the middle part is supposed to be a path of some sort, though it may not look like one.

Autumn Woods - close up
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

As I had already mentioned in the previous post, I felt like adding a couple of rocks in the middle. They look really nice, I can tell you. I like the mood that the rocks add, I feel like gingerly stepping on them and walking into those woods, ha!

Autumn Woods - Greyscale
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

Finally, a look at the grey scale, to determine the values in the painting. In this version, I am able to differentiate the background foliage from the maple leaves, which was missing in the previous version. I am fairly happy again with this as well.

While I was checking out, I just put together the WIP images of this painting and got a slide show done, aint it cool? Shows the flow of the painting from scratch to finish, more importantly shows me my own thought process, how I went off track at several places etc etc. It provides a good learning for me.

Here is a link to this thread at Wetcanvas. Have a look at the amazing results produced by the other artists as well. Such different paintings produced from one image. Awesome fun!

October 3, 2007

Autumn Woods - an update

I was absolutely dissatisfied with the leaves that I had begun in this painting. I had only done the initial layer and there was still a long way to go, but the first step itself was not in the right direction I felt. Being the oil painter that I am, I had this urge to pick up my palette knife and paint to my heart's content. And yeah, thats exactly what I did.

Autumn Woods - Stage 5
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

I have no clue if acrylic painters actually use the palette knife, this was the first time I did. I have used it with oil paintings, and I love the textures the knife generates. My leaves now have got that texture too and I am liking it. The end result is satisfying, though they look like gulmohars and not maples, LOL! The reference image has no clear direction of light, which I wanted to change. Hence I introduced some light from the right side and pushed the darks in the shadows with a lot of blue. Also, I introduced some flesh tint and mild yellows in the barks that face the sunlight, to bring in the sunlit effect. Wonder if I have succeeded fully.

Autumn Woods - detail close up
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

What you see above is a little close up of the leaves, how haphazardly they are done without any actual leaf shapes. I love doing that. I simply picked up some scarlett red, orange and lemon yellow in my knife and went about it without a thought. The dark bluish black lines behind are shadows of the leaves and branches on the trees behind. I introduced these sharp shadows also to accentuate the sunlit effect that I was trying for.

Autumn Woods - stage 6
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

I think I would call the top half of the painting done, excepting the ferns in the front. They need some more highlights on them and I am half way with them. I have just begun working on the reflection, have loosely laid in the barks. When I started with the reflections, I felt like adding some wet rocks along the banks. Some rocks with a coating of algae on them. Wonder if it would go along well with the painting or work against it. You will probably get to know that tomorrow.:-)

September 28, 2007

Autumn Woods – A challenge

This is my latest painting, that I am doing as part of a challenge in the Acrylics forum at Wetcanvas.

Recently, Celeste had done a small sized landscape of Autumn Woods and in the Acrylics forum, she was challenged to do it in a much larger format. Elaine and Celeste also decided to welcome anyone else who would be willing to join in and have fun. So the idea is to paint from a vague Autumn reference and create a painting that's better than the reference image. And the main challenge is to do in a big canvas. I had a 18 * 36 canvas lying idle for quite some time, and thought this was the best chance to use it. Though there are no deadlines as such, I get the motivation to paint on seeing the WIPs of everyone, and it's a lot of fun.

I made some additions to the original image by adding a water body in the foreground, and added some reflections of the woods. I love fall reflections and leaves, so wanted to paint them here. This was also since my canvas was too tall for just the trees. This is a WIP that I hope to complete during this weekend. My parents are visiting us so I am not sure how much work is going to get done, but there will be an update on Monday for sure.:-)

Autumn Woods - Stage 1

This is technically the second stage in the painting, the first one was my canvas filled with scribbles from my daughter! And I started thereafter and added the trees in white and grey. I also blocked the darkest darks with ultramarine blue and a lot of green. And I got most of the sky done too. This will be my first layer.

Autumn Woods - Stage 2

On top of it, I have started adding some greens and ochre yellow in the background, indicative of some bushes.

Autumn Woods - Stage 3

The next thing that I do is to add more foliage. A lot of glowing yellows and greens in the top for the leaves, and there are going to be a lot of orange maple leaves right in the middle. A good thing to do here would be to actually do the tree barks to completion and then do the leaves. But I am as impatient as my daughter, if not more, and I want to get a 'feel' of how everything would look together, so I have started with the leaves right away.

Autumn Woods - Stage 4

And then I start adding some more detail to the barks, nowhere near complete though. I add some darker greys and browns to the birch tree barks. This is where my painting is right now. I have spent about 2 nights on this one, and there is still a long way to go.

Autumn Woods - Foliage close up

Here is a little close up of my leaves which fall on the top left of the canvas. I promise that they are leaves, though they don't look so. I will define the shapes properly as I progress and make sure they look like leaves and not some patches of color thrown in.

Autumn Woods - Trees close up

Here is another close up of the barks, which are still only about 20% done. A lot more to do there as well. It is mind blowing to see the progress of everyone else, and I am learning a lot in the process. And having a hell a lot of fun. I can't wait to get my hands on the canvas tonight.

Watch this space for more updates.

I am selling prints now!

Recently, one of my blog readers had commented that I should check out ImageKind and its print-on-demand services. I did go through the site after that comment and also reading some more reviews, and I have opened my gallery at ImageKind. The reader had asked me to mail him/her if I open my gallery, but unfortunately did not leave any mail id behind and I am unable to contact the person. Anyway, thank you dear reader for letting me know about this site and service.

Imagekind is pretty easy to use, and it takes hardly a minute to set up your gallery. Right now since I am trying out, I have gone in for a free membership. I might consider upgrading later on. The print on demand provides professional quality prints on canvas and other surfaces, and sends them custom framed.

You can find a link to my gallery at ImageKind on the right sidebar. Currently though it has only one image, Focussed. I am not very happy with the photo quality of my other paintings. This one is an exception, since I had got it photographed by a professional as I had to send it to a competition. I will be soon taking better snaps of my other paintings and will upload them. Look out for some more images that I will be uploading there.

Bougainvillea Pots

In the acrylics forum at Wetcanvas, we have a project titled "Different Strokes" running for every month. On the 1st, an image is posted on the forum and everyone paints with the same photo as reference. We do not show our works in progress, but reveal the final image on the 20th. It is great fun and awesome stuff to see how each artist approaches the same subject. I have always wanted to take part in this one, but been lazy. Last month's reference was too good to miss, and I got the better of my laziness! No prizes for guessing that I got lazy again this month.

Bougainvillea Pots
Acrylics on Canvas, 10 * 12 inches.
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

The reference image had a line of flower pots on a terrace of a building, with some coconut trees in the background. I did not like those trees, so I changed the terrace to be more like a balcony at ground level and gave this background of waves. I really liked how this one turned out. I spent about 2 nights on it, and was happy with the results.

I also mustered a little courage to be a little different in chosing my colours. I used bold strokes of purple for my shadows, which I normally wouldn't do. I would do my shadows in diluted black, but tried it this time and liked it. Even though the strokes would stand out in real, it gels on the image as a whole. The whole idea of the project is to experiment and I am glad I found time for it.

September 24, 2007

To new beginnings

My art has been undergoing some minor but important changes these days. Don’t worry, I still do paint only realism and still use my favorite media of colored pencils and acrylics. The only change is that I am trying to make painting as a habit and not as something I do when I have nothing else to do! I am spending time everyday, yeah, every single day to do something, even if it is a miniscule part of a larger painting. So yeah, the change is more in me as an artist and not really in my art. Besides, I have been doing a lot of soul searching in “trying to find my own”.

I generally paint anything and everything that appeals to me. I save images for later reference if they appeal to me, but later I would trash them if they aren’t very inspiring. My paintings are basically born “in an instant”, with absolutely no planning or such. I am trying to change that now. I am putting in the effort to plan my paintings in advance so that I don’t waste time sitting with the canvas. I am trying to bring in some consistency in my paintings, in the style, subject, medium etc etc. These are baby steps in the direction of turning a pro and not just being a hobby artist.

As I am trying to change a lot of things related to my art, it is only fair that my blog underwent a change too. Hence this new blog altogether. I hope to post more often than I ever did, so watch this space for something new every day. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy my work.

May 4, 2007

Orange still life

This is a still life I did as part of the ATC Exchange at Wetcanvas. This picture is based on a beautiful photo by Henz Fotojam in Flickr. I had asked his permission to paint the photo, to which he graciously agreed. I initially wanted to try an oil painting of this one on a black surface, but ended up doing a colored pencil drawing on white stonehenge paper.
Still life with Oranges
pvt collection of Ardith
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

I was mainly attracted to this reference because of the beautiful flowing fabric that was so rich in color. I absolutely suck at doing fabric, and wanted to give it a go. I am sure I did not succeed fully, but was happy for a first step.

Also, I tried a complementary underpainting with this one, where I did the first layer in red and crimson for the fabric and mild blues for the oranges. Then went over them with the actual colors. As I had mentioned already, the ATC project gave a chance to try a lot of new things, since it was very less consuming thanks to the miniature size.

May 3, 2007

Fall all the way

I love fall colors, maybe more so because I have never experienced it being in Madras all my life! Needless to say such vibrant hues make for great painting subjects as well. For the ATC exchange, I did about 14 landscapes in fall colors. Most of them turned out quite well. Have a look at the first set of those.

Autumn reflections, 2.5 * 3.5 inches, pvt. collection of Pat Halverson
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

The above painting is Chander's favorite among all the cards that I did. I was not very pleased with it initially, I probably tried to do too much in too little space. But it looks quite appealing to me now. I like the scan better than the original!

Across the Bridge - 3.5 * 2.5 inches , Pvt. collection of Mariette Hebert
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

These have been done with colored pencils, with final touches with acrylic paints. I will probably describe the technique in detail later.

In the woods - 2.5 * 3.5 inches, private collection of Monica Gillis
copyright Nithya Swaminathan

I guess this will do for now. I shall post the rest of the paintings later, and I will also flaunt the little gems that I received. A lot of them deserve to be framed, I am absolutely delighted and honoured to have got them. What a treasure!


I last used Acrylic paints about 10 years back, at least. They were never a medium of choice, since the colors would dry up even before I was done with my shading etc. When I first started using Oils, they instantly became a favorite and I have never gone with acrylics ever after. However, I had to get some work done in very little time, and well, it was acrylics to the rescue!

When I was amidst some shopping, I chanced upon a call for entries poster for a juried exhibition and the deadline was about 10 days from then. Since I had spent 5 days deciding what to paint, there was very little time left. And I jus started dabbling wiht acrylics, not really bothered about the end result. I was more than happy with the painting though. I think its one of my best. Goes to prove that a lazy soul like me does quality work only under pressure. Ah! I need deadlines looming over me forever, be it in IT or Art.

Focussed - Acrylics on Canvas, 16 * 20 inches
copyright Nithya Swaminathan

Not just that, I am a fan of the medium too. I realised that it wasn't an issue with the medium, but my inexperience that produced sub standard works then. I can do a much better job now. I have a couple of unfinished pieces in acrylics, and most of my art cards were done in this medium. 25 cards in 3 weeks, I could not have imagined with Oil. I am one happy soul now, having rediscovered this medium.

May 2, 2007

Stained Glass

Stained glass is a medium that I ventured into not long ago. Actually I got to know of the medium when my art teacher organized a workshop some years back, and I could not go to Madras to attend it. When I was in Madras next, I went and had a look at the lovely panels that the participants had done, and was immediately enamored. I wanted to try it out on my own and did so with some help from materials online.

One thing about stained glass is how less time consuming it is. I can finish a piece from scratch in about an hour. In any other medium, my free-hand sketch alone will take that much time. So when I got my first set of stained glass paints, I did about 4-5 pieces in one shot. The whole thing took less than a week. Aint it cool!? Ofcourse, laying the outline needs a lot of control as even a slight shake in your hands would spoil the painting. Once we get the hang of it, stained glass is a thoroughly enjoyable medium.

Sunflowers, stained glass

Love birds, stained glass

Gossip, stained glass

Peacock, stained glass

In the vineyard, stained glass

If you are wondering at my imaginative titles, I am sorry! I couldn't come up with anything better. All of these are about 9 * 12 inches in size. All the pieces are done on textured glass, as it glows better when hung in the direction of light. Yeah, thats how a stained glass piece is to be enjoyed in all its glory. Hang it on a window where ample light passes through, and the translucent paints will glow.

May 1, 2007

Remembering Kumarakom - my only 'Indian' ATC

From the backwaters
pvt collection of Rose Herczeg
copyright Nithya Swaminathan

Excuse the poor quality of the scan, I am sure this looks *much* better in person! I had a blast doing that water and those reflections. Coincidentally, most of my cards turned out to have some kind of reflections, and they were all so well received. Talk about a warm group of friends!

My first ACEO

Once I signed up for the ATC exchange, there was no looking back. I was the only Indian participant, and initially thought that I should send everyone a card that depicts something Indian. But then, I started doing some birds and they were such a pleasure to do in the small size, that I forgot all about the Indian theme and stuff. I did a dozen cards of colorful birds, and another dozen fall landscapes. They were such a delight to do.

Scarlet Macaws - 2.5 * 3.5 inches.
Private collection of Charlene
copyright Nithya Swaminathan

My first card was of a pair of scarlett macaws, I was pretty pleased with the result. Have a look, and do shoot in your C & C. This was done for an artist Charlene, and I am glad she loved it.

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