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.

My foray into miniature painting

Art Cards aka ATCs aka ACEOs are tiny little pieces of art, measuring only 2.5 * 3.5 inches. That's about the size of my palm, smaller than that infact. They make nice collectibles and are very popular.

I was continually fascinated by the idea of painting something so small, and the staggering level of detail some artists are able to achieve in the size. Always wanted to give it a try, but my laziness always got the better of me. So recently when there was a project announced at Wetcanvas, I jumped in at the first chance.

A group of 26 artists got together to do a fun ATC exchange, wherein each of us would do 25 paintings and mail them to the others in the group. The project is still on and has been a resounding success so far. I have received several little gems in the mail, and all my ATCs have been extremely well received too. The group has been totally awesome, very supportive and encouraging. The fun part was that we would not post the card online until the recipient gets it, so it would be a surprise package in the mail. Isn't that really cool? I'd open every cover with bated breath only to find a stunning piece of art inside. I've received landscapes, abstracts, still lifes, birds, wildlife, portraits etc etc. Seeing everyone else work was such a great motivation that I completed 25 pics in one shot, in less than 3 weeks. Now that all my cards have reached their new homes safely, I can post them here too. Look forward to a series of ACEOs in this space.

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