February 28, 2009

People on the move

We were out the whole day, traveling my various modes of transport - first by bus and then train, and lastly by a tram. The last time we were out traveling, I deeply regretted not having taken my sketchbook along, for it offered some wonderful opportunity to sketch. So carried my book this time around, and I could manage a decent number of sketches.

Left - Woman in a bus seated parallel to us, and watching my daughter.

Right - A young woman in the bus having a chat with a friend next to her.











































Pics above - Left - a woman in the railway platform, waiting for the train. She was probably solving a crossword in the meantime.
Right - a gentleman in the tram poring into his mobile phone.


These are no value studies or anything, they are more like outline sketches. As I have close to zero experience in sketching people on the move, I could not really get to do any shading. I was and am still getting used to this mode of working, it is overwhelming at the moment.

There are some more sketches which I will upload a little later. All your critiques are welcome.

February 27, 2009

Some more updates on the apples

Got to work on 3 more pieces in the ongoing series, they are still in progress. Seen below are the paintings as they are at the moment. Your comments are welcome.

February 25, 2009

Apples and Glass #1 - Almost completed

The first piece in the new series is nearing completion. I have completed work on the fruits, and I am quite pleased with them so far. The glass is not yet done. It has a dozen more shades in it, and will take some more time. I can say it is about 50% done. I am not sure if I will leave the fruits as they are, or just tweak them a bit more. I will leave this one untouched for a while, and get back to it when the rest of the pieces are nearing completion. Something new might pop up if I leave it for a while, instead of completing in a hurry. That should take this weekend at least.

Apples and Glass #1 - WIP
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 * 10 inches.


February 24, 2009

Untitled landscape - WIP

When I take a little walk around the town, I have this beautiful scenery unfolding in front of my eyes. There are purple hills at a long distance away, and some rows of trees and then grasses. It being winter, the trees are all barren and look lovely against the hills. I spend long hours looking at this and wanted to paint this scene from memory. So instead of taking a photo, I took "notes" to help me in painting the landscape.

I made rough notes of how I plan to structure my canvas, and how much each stretch of land would occupy. All these I indicated as percentages, like 60% of the canvas will be sky etc. Its been a while since I painted a landscape sans any figures in it, so doing this as a break. The apples and glasses are driving me crazy, and I hope to get back to them soon.

What I have done so far is just blocking the various colors with a big brush. The sky needs to be lightened a lot more. Trees will come up on the grassland to add more interest. In the real scene, there are also roads in between and cars moving around all the time. I was in a double mind whether to add those or not, then decided to ditch them. The various colored land stretches look so uniform and parallel now, and it looks really boring. I plan to change that as well going forward. And if I find I am not doing justice by painting from memory, I will always take a photo and complete this well.

Kindly bear with me for posting so many WIPs, I have lost count of the number of paintings I am working on! These will all be completed soon and will come up here. In between all this, I need to get my work done on the Virtual Sketch Date too!

February 22, 2009

A silly portrait - Kevin

As part of the monthly portrait study, this is the portrait for February. It was an extremely fun portrait to do, with so much of color in the reference. I was initially scared about the tongue, as I have never done tongues before. But I was wrong. The tongue was actually quite simple, I had big problems in getting the shape of the face right though. I did one version first, that ended up with a completely distorted face, and I scrapped it. This is ver.2.0, and the face is still not okay. Because of the tongue and the pose, it was difficult for me to judge the length of the face correctly. I have made it a little wider than it should be.

Kevin, colored pencils on paper
8 * 10 inches.


February 19, 2009

Apples and Glass #4 - Stage 2

This one is not even as completed as the previous ones. A lot more work needs to be done on the fabric itself. It looks like its all red now, which will change soon. Right now this looks like version 2.0 of the underpainting to me, will post back soon with a better update.

February 18, 2009

Apples and Glass #3 - Stage 2

I just did rough initial sketches on the canvas panels and did the underpaintings too. It was only when I started laying down the color that I realized that the fruits and the glass could all be a tad bigger in size. They all looked like little miniatures. So I have made the objects a little larger, thereby reducing the proportion of the fabric.

I have almost completed the work on the fabric, not yet done though. It will take a little more tweaking and then we get to the fruits. Stay tuned.

February 17, 2009

Apples and Glass #2 - Stage 2

Here is the progress so far on the next piece in the series. I have almost completed the work on the fabric. The shadows will be very crisp and not blended since the sunlight was very sharp. The most important part of the shadows, that of light passing through the glass is pending. I dread to start work on that! The fruits are not even started, I have just marked the base colors on top of the underpainting.

February 16, 2009

Apples and Glass #1 - Stage 2

I expected to complete the series quickly, since the canvasses are all small. But that doesn't look like its possible. The juice in the glass has so many colors that it is taking much more time than I thought. And I am working on these pieces in parallel, so they will all get done together.

I have completed the work on the base fabric, the fabric behind the apple needs a little more tweaking. The apples and the glass have loads of work pending on them. They have just about begun!

February 15, 2009

Apples and Glass - WIP

My setup for my upcoming series is a very simple and straightforward one. It consists of one whole apple, two pieces of a cut apple and a glass of Apple juice. With great sunlight, I got some terrific reflections and gorgeous colored shadows of the backlit glass. This series will mainly focus on the shadows again, just like the orange and glass series. One difference though, is that the shadows are more richer in this one. And the setup occupies most of the frame, unlike the previous ones which has a lot of empty space.

Apples and Glass, underpaintings
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

I am starting with 5 paintings, each 8 * 8 inches. This is the first time I am experimenting with the square format. I did not do a preliminary sketch with colored pencils this time, started painting directly. I started with a greyscaled underpainting for each one, to mark the values. Paintings will follow suit soon.

February 14, 2009

Winter series #5

After that short break with the Orange and Glass series, I am back to the winter series now. Two people walking on Hauptstrasse, Walldorf. With this series, my main motive was to bring about the contrast between the backgrounds and the people. I felt this was somehow lost in Winter series #4, as the whole painting became much more vibrant than I planned. To tackle that, I did a light grey glaze on the entire background with this one. That I felt muted the background well so that the figures stood out in contrast.


Winter series #5
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 * 10 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan


One of the artists at WetCanvas felt that it looked strange that people were carrying umbrellas in winter. So to make the reason explicit, I have tried to indicate in this one that it was still snowing as these pictures were taken and that's why the umbrellas. I have added random strokes to indicate snow, I hope it works well. Everyone except me was with an umbrella I think!

This series is not yet done, I have a few more coming. They might take a while though, my subject for the coming week is some luscious apples and I have a couple of other projects to complete too. So the snow will await its turn.

February 13, 2009

Oranges and Glass #5

Final installment of the series, and I am happy with how this one turned out too. Pretty happy overall with the series, I got some good feedback from WetCanvas also. I have a few more references with this setup and some sketches that are half way done. But it might be a while before I paint them. Right now, I am moving onto some apples.

Oranges and Glass #5
Acrylics on Canvas, 5 * 7 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

February 12, 2009

Oranges and Glass #4

Final installment (as of now) in the ongoing still life series. I am not entirely happy with this one, the bottle lid looks smaller in proportion. I need to have a second look and fix it if required.

In the meanwhile, I would love to hear your thoughts on whether the compositions work in these paintings. I found it appealing, I wonder if it would appeal to other eyes as well. Let me know your thoughts.

Oranges and Glass #4
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 * 10 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

February 11, 2009

Oranges and Glass #3

Though all these paintings look very similar, they have subtle differences, I mean in terms of the setup. The angles are slightly different, which I have tried to convey indicating the wooden floor lines.

Oranges and Glass #3
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 * 10 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

February 10, 2009

Oranges and Glass #2

Second installment in the oranges and glass parade. I had a lot of fun doing this one, especially working on the open oranges. Without getting into too much of intricate detail, I was trying to convey as much as I could, and it was fun.

Oranges and Glass #2
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 * 10 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

February 9, 2009

Oranges and Glass #1

Taking a break from the Winter series, just pausing to look back at the work done and how I should be taking it forward. I have 2 more of them in the pipeline that should be done by this weekend at the latest. In between, I wanted to complete the Orange and Glass series, since the sketches have been lying around for a while now.

Oranges and Glass #1
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 * 10 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan


In the usual approach, this was done predominantly from my sketch, and later completed with the help of the photo.

February 7, 2009

Winter series #4

Latest installment in the ongoing winter series. Your comments are welcome.
Winter series #4
Acrylics on Canvas, 18 * 24 cms.
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

February 6, 2009

Winter series #3

Two women walking, sharing an umbrella. Made a lot of changes to the original photo, basically having fun. I am not very satisfied with this one, as I was in a hurry. Since the daylight lasts only until 5.30 pm or so, I kinda hurried up to complete it and click a snap. Will revisit this tomorrow and post an update. I think some colors need to be pushed a bit.

Your comments are welcome.
Snow scene #3
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 * 10 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

February 5, 2009

Website revamp

I had completely neglected my website last year and it did not contain any of my latest works. I also decided that the look and feel, the texts etc could be tremendously improved and have given it an overhaul. I do not prefer blogs that have a black background as it is not easy on the eyes reading white on black. However, I thought it suited a gallery website well, and I have gone in for a black background. A blog revamp is also on the cards but it is not so critical right now. Looking at the time this consumes, I'll save it for another day.

While Sitekreator offers good gallery features suitable for artists' websites, their template collection for the free package is rather boring. They have only a couple of templates that I found were stale. I then opted for the blank template and did the entire thing myself.

Have a look at my portfolio and let me know your comments, suggestions, critiques or just about anything else.

Among other things, I have made prints of paintings available through Redbubble also. I think some of you would have noticed already that my sidebar contains a link to my Redbubble profile. Since I came across more positive review for Redbubble as compared to Imagekind, I am giving it a trial. Currently, prints are available through my galleries in ImageKind and Redbubble, and I might switch over to only one a while later.

Winter series #2

Here comes the second installment in my winter series. Two people walking as it was snowing. The colors of their jackets and umbrellas were different in real and I have changed those to make them brighter. I want to push the contrast as much as possible, without exaggerating it. I have used quite a bit of greays in the background buildings so that they seem muted.
Snow scene #2
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 * 10 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

February 4, 2009

Winter series #1

As I had mentioned earlier, I had taken quite a few references of people in the snow. I am starting a series of paintings of people with snowy backdrops and this is the first.
With this series, I aim to
1. Bring about the contrast between the bright colored jackets and umbrellas of people, against the muted backdrop.
2. Paint as many figures as possible, in varied postures (mostly walking though), thus helping me to enhance my figure drawing skills.
Snow scene #1
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 * 10 inches
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan
Your comments are welcome.

February 3, 2009

More quickies with oranges

Here is the next installment of the oranges with the same glass bottle. They all look similar, with only slight variations in the angle of light, hence some difference in the shadows. Six sketches in all, and they are getting painted this week in Acrylics.

Your comments are welcome.

February 1, 2009

Some more oranges - start of a series

Looks like I am not yet done with my share of the oranges. Picked up some luscious oranges this week, mainly for using them in some still life setups. Also, there was this lovely glass bottle at home, so I was playing around with them. I tried several combinations and liked quite a few, which cover the bottle and fruits in different angles. I like shadows with glass objects, they have so much color in them. So this was a lot of fun as we had some good sunlight too. I always prefer setting up still lifes in direct sunlight and not artificial light. Though the lighting changes very soon, it helps me get sharper images.
Here are a couple of quick sketches, first one from life and the rest from photos.

Shadow play 1
Colored pencils on paper
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

Shadow play 2
Colored pencils on paper
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

Shadow play 3
Colored pencils on paper
Copyright Nithya Swaminathan

These studies will be used as bases for paintings in future. I will also sort out some of the other images and do a few more studies.

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