January 29, 2009

Rose's Portrait - updated

I received some feedback on the portrait and incorporated those. What I have done now is a slight decrease in the size of both eyes, and I have made the glasses a little bigger. Tried to soften some of the edges, since it looked like a hard edged drawing, wonder if it shows. Here is the updated version, and I think I am calling it done.
Rose - completed
Colored pencils on paper, 7 * 10 inches.
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

January 28, 2009

Different Strokes - San Francisco Victorian

Here is my entry for the ongoing challenge at the Different Strokes blog. I had a lot of fun with this one, done entirely in colored pencils. I have tried to bring in more color than in the reference. I initially thought I would do the little trees in acrylics, as I have never handled foliage in CPs. But changed my mind later and went ahead in CPs itself. That's why I love these challenges, they give so much room to experiment. There's another week to go for this one, and I might sneak in another entry, let me see if time permits.
San Francisco Victorian
Colored pencil on paper, 9 * 12 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan
You can view all the interpretations here.

January 26, 2009

Portrait Study - with WIP

I joined in the portrait study group of Rose and others, and committed to do along with the group one portrait every month. So here goes my attempt for January, a portrait of Rose.
My freehand sketch in graphite, with some shading also started. I wanted to do it in graphite initially and changed my mind later.
After seeing another artist's portrait in CPs though, I too was tempted to do it in CPs. They are a great medium for portrait, especially for rendering hair etc. Seen below is an almost completed stage of the painting.
I knew it had some issues to be fixed but was unable to point out exactly. That's what happens when you look at an image for a long time continuously. My husband had a look and told me that the mouth was not okay, and needed some tweaking. I realized that I had made the lip line flat, and not a little angled. I changed that and I think it looks decent now.
Portrait study - Rose
Colored pencil on paper, 7 * 10 inches.

Since this picture is all I have and I do not know Rose otherwise, it is very difficult to even say if it looks like her or not. If it was a portrait of someone I know well, it would be better for me to judge. I'd just have a look in the mirror and I'd know immediately if something is messed up. Now I leave it to Rose and maybe others who have seen her to judge the closeness of the portrait with the person. It was a fun portrait to do, because it was a very close up look at the face. It was a different pose and new for me. The face is at an angle that isn't as simple as it appears to be. I think even now some fine tuning is needed to get the angle accurate. I think I have captured a decent resemblance though.

It is also great to work in a group because it brings in a sense of commitment to an eternal procrastinator like me. That, for me is the most important advantage, apart from getting honest reviews of the work done. The next month's portrait is sure to be a complete blast, and I look forward to it. All your feedback is welcome, whether or not you know Rose ;-)

January 23, 2009

Going wild with Orange

When the dates for the January VSD were put up, it was mentioned that the reference would really stimulate the artists. I was really looking forward to the reference, and I must mention that on first look I wasn't impressed at all. I later realized that a good painting can inspire any artist even if the reference does not! As the various artists started posting their interpretations, I was quite impressed and started with my version in colored pencil. I simply loved the various tones in the orange peel, and the translucence of the fruit.
What are you waiting for?
Colored pencil on paper, 9 * 12 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan
My colored pencil version was taking a lot of time, as I generally work slowly with CPs, building layers meticulously. After a while, I was tired and wanted a break. And guess what I did, decided an ultra-loose version in watercolors, just to unwind myself. Well not watercolors actually, but acrylics painted almost like watercolors. It was a blast. I wanted the painting to ooze color and I think I succeeded reasonably. I don't think it will pass off as a watercolor painting, but it is definitely different from any acrylic painting I have done. While in the colored pencil version, I went in for a lot of complements, in this version I made the colors as intense as possible. The CP version contains a lot of blues and violets, whereas this version does not.
What are you waiting for?
Acrylics on watercolor paper, 9 * 12 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

Next I felt I could do one using acrylics as I usually do, and opted for a closer crop this time, and a square canvas. Cropped the right side of the photo and focused more on the fruit. I thought in the CP version, the background almost competes with the fruit, so wanted the acrylic version this way. So this is traditional acrylics, painted loosely, with no underlying sketch. I wanted it to be spontaneous and opted not to sketch, so the fruit looks even more closed and not opened out.
What are you waiting for?
Acrylics on canvas paper, 8 * 8 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

I really like how the colored pencil version turned out, and I like it best in thumbnail. In the larger format, it shows the mess that I have done to the paper, literally pushing it to its limits. So I dont like it much larger. I used watercolor pencils for the background and washed them with a wet brush as well, and the paper reached its limits beyond a point! As far as the work on the peels go, I think the CP one captures the colors correctly than the acrylic paintings. 
After painting the image 3 times in a span of 2 days, it was well etched in my mind and I wanted to have a go from memory. Decided to have a go with a different medium, and I chose graphite. This was the last one I did and really like how it turned out. So the graphite drawing is from memory, trying to create the values without the help of the grayscaled version of the photo. I picked up my graphite pencils after quite a long time and had a lot of fun with them.
What are you waiting for?
Graphite on paper, 6 * 9 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

I fell in love head over heels with the Orange and had a blast doing each version. My favorite is version #2, because it is totally new for me. It is the most un-acrylic Acrylic painting I have done. I'd love to hear from you, dear reader, as to which version works and which sucks. Or if all of them are terrible, let me know that too.
The great news is that the Virtual Sketch Date has its own Flickr pool. It is stunning to see all the images together, what gorgeous pieces! You can view all of them here in Flickr (signin required), or ofcourse in the Virtual Sketch Date blog on Sunday, 25th January 2009.

January 20, 2009

Different Strokes - Jefferson Memorial

My entry for the ongoing challenge at the Different Strokes blog.
Jefferson Memorial
Acrylics on Canvas, 9 * 12 inches

January 11, 2009

Some personal updates

About 3 weeks ago, we have moved from the cozy comforts of Madras to Germany. And bulk of my time thereafter has gone in setting up the new house and making it more livable. It is easier to set up a house from scratch, than to set right one maintained by a guy :-D Well, my husband was here for a couple of months before me and things were lying around all over.  
And then of course, a good deal of time has gone in getting used to the cold! Whats with all the -15!! I have never seen even a +15, the least I have seen prior to coming here is warmer than that. Phew! I come from a city that has only hot, hotter and hottest months in a year, with a good part falling under hottest. So this is entirely new to me and I cannot really say that I am having fun. I hate so much of preparation in terms of clothes layers, to even step out of the house. I miss the times when I could just decide at the drop of my hat and start on my bike. 
One thing I like though is the winter landscape, though it is painfully cold. I like the muted palette, the barren trees, everything that's in complete contrast to my Madras. The whole region seems like its been painted, a visual treat to an artist. It snowed here a week ago, and while my daughter wanted to go out and play in the ice, I thought it was a good excuse to click snaps. I have never painted snow, mainly because I have never experienced snow. Now that I have seen a snowfall for the first time ever, I thought I just HAD to paint it. I have accumulated a lot of snowy references, and I am just sorting them out in terms of crops etc. 
I have packed as many canvas panels as I could from home, and a good supply of materials to last me for a few months. Since I wasn't sure when I would locate a good stationery store, I did not want to take a risk. However, I am mighty glad that I have already found a good store, very nearby to where I live. Yay! So look forward to some genuine wintery scenes in this space. 

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