December 28, 2010

The world ahead - Commissioned Acrylic Painting

As it is the year end and just as I am completing pending paintings, I was also skimming through my drafts only to realize how many paintings I have not blogged. Well! I will try and post some of these drafts, but not sure if I will be able to post all of them. This one I just had to, as it is one of my favorite pieces from the year.

This was a private commission from a friend that was completed earlier this year. The seed of thought for this one came from my friend who wanted an image that will be very South Indian. This child is her little girl, dressed up in a Pattu paavadai, the traditional Tamilian attire which is a long silk skirt. When it comes to a backdrop that is distinctly South Indian, nothing beats a temple really.

I decided on a monochromatic look because I did not want the temple to compete for attention with the child, which was definitely the focal point of the painting. But then, the temple had to be prominent too, so I have incorporated a lot of texture into this painting. This was my first time experimenting with structuring elements like pastes. The temple was carved out with heavy gel medium and then painted with Acrylics. And since black and white was too bland for my liking, I gave it a light sepia tone.

The world ahead
Acrylics on Gallery Wrapped Canvas, 32 by 32 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

The temple reference is based on the Somnathpur Temple nearby Mysore, which is one of the most stunning temples I have been to, a symphony in stone. The temple is full of exquisite carvings from the Hindu mythology, done in intricate detail. The temple in real is monochromatic and doesn't have a colored Gopuram (tower) like temples in Tamil Nadu. So the minute I thought about a b/w background, the Somnathpur temple was the first thing on my mind. And fortunately, I had some nice photos based on which I could do a sketch.

With a commissioned piece, that's how I work. I will give a preliminary sketch which has to be to the complete satisfaction of the client, only after which I will start working on the actual piece. It is much easier to make any changes at the sketch level itself. I will be sending across work in progress images regularly as often as I could too, and there is always room for last minute changes, but still.

The main challenge was that the child had to be the focus of the image, though she occupies about 10% of the canvas. And the child had to resemble the little girl in the reference, though her face was hardly seen. Now this is a real challenge I tell you, to convincingly get the resemblance in the profile. This piece is huge and the biggest problem was in shipping it. When shipping smaller pieces itself makes me very anxious and stuff, shipping something of this size is a lot of tension. I can never trust my painting with anyone else, not even my husband :-D So definitely not the shipping guys and it makes me really paranoid. Anyway!

Your comments are welcome!


I am sure you now know pretty well that I have a painting give away going on this week. Don't miss it, it is a great chance to receive a piece of original art. My post about the giveaway. Do share it with your friends/anyone who might be interested. Thank you!


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