January 24, 2011

Dancing feet #22 - New Tango Painting

So it is back to the dancers now. Working on the summer series over the last whole week was just the break I needed, I was indeed a little fatigued with the dancers and I felt a monotony setting in. And yesterday I was *so* ready to do another dancer! I missed them! Have a couple of more belly dancers underway and will be getting to them asap.

Dancing feet #22
Acrylics on board, 5 by 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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January 23, 2011

Reading by the lake VI - Impressions of a European Summer

The whole of last week I was working with oils. While it was an awesome break from Acrylics, it was high time I got back to another Acrylic piece :) I tend not to experiment much with oils, as I do with Acrylics. I generally tend to be more realistic with oils than with Acrylics. Anyway, I love to be able to context switch with ease between the two mediums and choose either based on the subject matter and my mood on that day.

Reading by the Lake VI
Acrylics on Canvas, 12 by 10 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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With this piece, I started with a green background. I was thinking of doing it on a black gessoed canvas, but switched to green at the last minute. This was my first time with a toned surface and it was good. I might try it more. The background was painted in Olive green and the foreground in green lightened with some white. The figures were painted on this base. The reference was particularly interesting because of how the guy's face and body were hidden behind the grass.

I got some very positive feedback for yesterday's skyscape demo video, my friends loved it. I wanted to try the same thing again with this painting but did not enjoy doing it. Pausing, taking photos and resuming is not fun at all. And definitely not when you are racing against time to work in with the paints before they dry! I also thought the skyscape video would've been even better with some commentary added, info about what colors have been mixed at each step and so forth. That's my plan for the next video.

Hope you like this painting, let me know what you think!

January 22, 2011

Framed, naturally! - Sunset skyscape in Oils

Last week, we were driving somewhere when I noticed one of the most beautiful skies that I have ever seen. Layers and layers of clouds reflecting such a range of colors. I just wanted to freeze in that moment forever. And decided that I HAD to paint a sunset sky asap.

Framed, naturally!
Oil on Canvas, 6 by 12 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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Skies have never been my strong point, I tend to make the edges too "hard" and the colors don't seem to flow seamlessly. Not that I am entirely happy with this one, but it definitely is one of my better attempts at painting a sky. Do check out the detailed shots in my store, they are quite nice. :)

I also managed to take a lot of progress images this time and put them together into a video. I usually do not pause to take photos when I am painting, because it disrupts my flow badly. Wanted to make an exception this time though. I have not yet been able to film an actual real time demo of me painting, and this is the best I could manage right now. :) Hope you enjoy the process!

January 21, 2011

A walk on the beach - New Beach painting in Oils

This is one of my favorites from the beach/lake/summer observations series. I landed on this particular crop by accident. I started sketching the full figures of these two young ladies on an 18 by 24 cm panel, and then just zoomed in to look at some detail. And voila! It just struck me that I could just go in with the feet and ditch the faces. I was completely excited by the idea, but wanted to do it bigger. So picked up this 10 by 12 inch canvas and went ahead.

Oil on gallery wrapped canvas, 10 by 12 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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This was a great lesson in value studies, as reflections generally are. I almost heard my painting teacher telling me from several years ago, that a reflection is always darker than the original. :) LOL! I was also doing waves after god knows how long. Figured out that they were still as challenging as the last time I painted them.

The painting is very different from the others that I have done in the series, in that the colors are very subdued. I have not gone in for intense color at all. And more than the technical aspects of the painting, I like the mood. Two anonymous women, best friends, sisters, whatever! I hope you like it. :) Let me know your feedback.

Light study II - New study in oils

Yet another study, some playing around with various greens and yellows. With mixing every other color with green. It was fun!

Light study II
Oil on Canvas, 5 by 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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January 20, 2011

Golden path - a simple light study in oils

Of late, I have been obsessing about what I suck at and where I could improve and all that. Last week, I was analyzing my work quite a bit and came up with things that need immediate attention and ordered some books that I believe will help me in my quest. I ordered 5 books which were all in the $15 range, but my shipping cost was the highest item on the bill, at about $20! Phew! But then, if I ordered from Amazon's German site, the cost of the books itself was much more and I could order only 4 books for the price of 5. I decided that it is better to order from the US and I am waiting for the shipment which by their estimate will arrive by end of Feb. Sucks I tell you! Anyway, I digress.

Golden Path
Oil on Canvas, 5 by 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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The aim of this study, as the title says is just to explore light and color. I believe landscapes are the most effective when it comes to studying light. That's quite obvious isn't it?! I hope to do more of these and one of my focus areas this year is to infuse more light and thereby life into my work. I am also looking at whether my weaknesses are irrespective of medium, or whether my approach to a painting is significantly different with Acrylics vis a vis Oils, so on and so forth. Let's see where this takes me.

I have also mixed the palette knife and the brush in this one. The background is entirely done with the brush. I picked up the knife for the brightest foliage though. It gives a nice effect and looks infinitely better in person.

January 19, 2011

Catching up - New Beach Painting in Oils

This painting too started off pretty much similar to Blue and Yellow, where I started it textured with Acrylics. If you know me well enough, you would of course figure that they weren't just started "similar", but simultaneously. The other day, a friend was asking me on facebook about how many works I have in progress at a time. I guess 3 right now by the last count.

Catching up
Oil on board, 18 by 24 cms (7.1 by 9.4 inches)
© Nithya Swaminathan

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With this one, my palette is quite limited - Ijust have French Ultramarine blue, Naples Yellow, Cadmium Orange and Burnt Sienna. And then some Titanium white. I wanted to leverage the beauty of the complementary colors next to each other and like the outcome. With the summer paintings, that's my main motive - to get it as bright and colorful as possible. All my focus is on color. I have gone in for very loose strokes in this painting, not at all bothering about details. The figures have more personality that way I think. And as usual, I would request you to click on the store link to check out closer shots, to see what I mean.

Hope you are enjoying the series as much as I am, let me know what you think.

January 17, 2011

Get in - New Oil Painting

Back to the lake, shall we go? This painting was a super quickie. I had done the previous beach painting and had some blue left on my palette. Since I just wanted to use it up, started this one. And it was painted in about 20 minutes. I did not want to overwork it, so kept everything to a very skeletal level. Just about 2-3 different values and it was done. Let me know what you think!

Get In
Oil on Board, 18 by 24 cms (7.1 by 9.4 inches)
© Nithya Swaminathan

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January 16, 2011

Blue and Yellow - To the beach, after the lake!

I am a HUGE fan of Karin Jurick's work, specifically her beach paintings. Though people generally go gaga over her "People in front of artwork" paintings, which are of course freaking awesome, I like her beach paintings a tad more. And I've been meaning to do some for quite some time. And now that I am in the summer mode, it was a perfect time to continue from the lakeside to the golden sands.

We are not done with the lakeside paintings yet, but I just felt like doing this one from a beach trip last summer. I was just going through my photos and it looks like I have enough material for the next month at least. I hope to milk as much more as possible from the lakeside refs, and I guess this would go on side by side. :)

Blue and Yellow
Oil on Canvas, 18 by 24 cms (7.1 by 9.4 inches)
© Nithya Swaminathan
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I started this one with Acrylics, and with the palette knife. So there is a little bit of texture in the sands. But did not feel satisfied and switched to oils. Since I am in the groove for doing oil paintings now, I kind of went with the flow :) Hope you like this one. Your feedback is welcome.

And, a reminder that my "make an offer" painting for the month, "An Afternoon in Venice" is available for bidding. Do drop me a mail if you are interested. Please feel free to share this with anyone who would be interested.

Too Deep? - Impressions of a European Summer

This lady is one of my favorite references in this series. I loved her pose, how she was treading carefully and slowly into the water. And the light and shade of course. While the dancers are mostly people with figures to die for, this series is more about "normal" people. If I were to paint myself, this is how I would look, quite out of shape. That's what makes this series appeal to me as a viewer, and as a painter approaching each image. If every woman I painted had an hourglass figure, I am sure I'd get bored too soon!

Too Deep?
Oils on board, 18 by 24 cms (7.1 by 9.4 inches)
© Nithya Swaminathan

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This is one of my favorite paintings from the series. :) Let me know what you think.

January 15, 2011

Cursory Glances - New Oil Painting

I am having a ball of a time with all these figures, the human figure is indeed the most exciting thing to paint. I get the feeling that my sketching is getting a little better as well and I am not struggling with proportions.  And after all the textured work, this is a nice break with just the brushes, just enjoying the flow of the brush on canvas. Hope you like it!

Cursory Glances
Oil on board, 18 by 24 cms (7.1 by 9.4 inches)
© Nithya Swaminathan

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January 14, 2011

To take the plunge or not? :-)

Continuing with my series of summer observations, I tried switching to oils for a change. I have bought a set of ready made gessoed hardboard panels from my last trip to the store, and they are a little too smooth. Kind of plasticky and I did not quite like Acrylic paints on them. Had a feeling that oils might work better and gave it a shot. And yes, I was right. These are extremely smooth and the oil paints just flow, painting themselves in the process :-)

To take the plunge or not?
Oil on board, 18 by 24 cms (7.1 by 9.4 inches)
© Nithya Swaminathan

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I wanted to get a little bright with the colors and have used a lot of cadmium yellow on her skin tones. I did not mix flesh tone but went with a very warm palette in general. I like it and would love to know what you think. This painting has no texture, zero! It is completely done with the brush. :) Let me know what you think.

January 13, 2011

Orientation Program - New Textured Acrylic Painting

This painting too is one that I did not click but just "discovered" in the process of sorting out images. Is that a treasure trove or what! And I just LOVED this reference. This is probably the first lesson in swimming for this little child. Or maybe not the first, as I have seen mothers with kids even younger getting into the water :-)

Orientation Program
Acrylics on Board, 18 by 24 cms (7.1 by 9.4 inches)
© Nithya Swaminathan

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The whole image interested me at several levels. For one, this is not a sight that I have seen in India. I don't think an Indian mother would be as forthcoming to let such a young toddler into the water. But here, it is a common sight. I think it has to do with our own comfort levels with the water. I for instance, did not learn swimming as a child. I learnt it only about 4 years ago and so will never ever get into any water other than a closed swimming pool with known depth. So me having the confidence of teaching my little one to swim is out of the question. Here on the other hand, skills like swimming, skiing etc are passed on so easily from parent to child when the kids are really young. And they kind of grow up doing all these fun things. Oh boy during my ski vacation, while I was struggling to even stand up with the skis on, kids younger than my daughter were skiing like seasoned pros!

I wanted to capture that lovely moment of bonding between the mom and the child, of having fun together. I like the outcome. Let me know what you think of it!

Counting the stars - New Textured Acrylic Painting

I am sure this figure would be familiar to most of you, it is the same lady who was in my first summer series painting "Reading by the Lake I". I think this was clicked within a few minutes this way that way within that reference. I kind of loved this reference a lot more as she was so chilled out, just doing umm nothing at all! Just lying down, probably after a swim in the lake, completely relaxed and taking in the surroundings. I LOVED the mood of it and had to paint it.

Counting the stars
Acrylics on board, 18 by 24 cms
© Nithya Swaminathan

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In my store, I have uploaded quite a few closer shots of the painting, which will clearly show the texture and the strokes. Whether or not you are interested in buying the painting, I'd request you to check out the close up views, they are quite interesting even if I say so myself! Let me know what you think! :)

January 12, 2011

Getting Ready - New Textured Acrylic Painting

I was not entirely happy with the last 2 Tango paintings. Also, a couple of days back, I screwed up a new belly dancer painting big time that it will take some time to correct and post it. So I thought it was good to take a little break from the dancers and do something else. Maybe a little fatigue was setting in, I am not sure. I wasn't fatigued with figures as such though, so went back to my summer series.

Getting Ready
Acrylics on Board, 18 by 24 cms (7.1 by 9.4 inches approx)
© Nithya Swaminathan

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It is awesome how after a day's cycling trip for a few hours, I came back with a couple of dozen photos and how many painting possibilities are there in those. I honestly did not expect this many paintings to come out of that trip. The little girl in this painting for instance, was not even my object of focus in the photo. I was clicking someone else and she just happened to be there in the frame. And later on when I was checking out the snaps, she called out to be painted. I am sure I have enough material for at least a dozen more paintings in this series.

I like this painting, the initial sketch was to my liking the first time itself and so painting was easy. When the initial sketch goes haywire, it screws up everything else that follows, needless to say. I hope you like it, let me know your comments.

January 9, 2011

Dancing feet #21 - New Tango Painting

The original image which I painted this from had the woman's dress in silvery grey. Very shiny and lovely. But I decided to change it to red anyway. If I do an entire painting without red, something feels amiss :-) The first image that Tango brings to my mind is a figurine in red. So there!

Dancing feet #21
Acrylics on board, 5 by 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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After doing my 300 to 30 project last year, I have got so used to the 5 by 7 size that I am planning to work a lot more in that size. I love my big paintings but there is something very convenient about this size and its proportions. So I raided the art store last week and stocked up on a lot of supplies. From buying in tubes, I have graduated to buying paints in cans now! That alone is sufficient to see the quantum leap in my output. Besides, palette knife painting always consumed more paint :) So going forward, you will be seeing a lot of 5 by 7s interspersed with bigger pieces. Doubt if I'll be painting smaller than 5 by 7, but I cannot talk about that now.

Your comments are welcome as always!

Dancing feet #20 - Original Tango Painting

Even before I realize, the Tango dancer paintings are 20 already! This is one of my most favorite series, on par with the irises and poppies maybe. :) I love both those series. I like most of the paintings in this series, though I must say there are a couple that are downright embarrassing. Do you have a favorite amongst the tango dancers? Do let me know :)

Dancing feet #20
Acrylics on board, 5 by 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan
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January 7, 2011

Dancing feet #19 - New Tango Painting

In all the Tango paintings, I add a little hint of copper or silver in the foreground. Just to bring in a little bit of shine and I like the effect it gives. Especially against the dark background. Your feedback is welcome!

Dancing feet #19
Acrylics on board, 5 by 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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January 6, 2011

Let Loose - Textured Acrylic Painting of a Belly dancer

This one was the toughest of the belly dancers, without a doubt! I had such a tough time painting the woman's body that I felt for a couple of times that I should gesso it and start all over. I am not so convinced with it now either, but I think the proportions are at least fine now. The angle of her head and that stretched neck was quite the challenge. When I first sketched it, it was like the neck was too long. And then it seems short. The head looked minuscule for the body when I later realized it was the body that was too big and not the head that was too small. And that hand, don't even get me started on that one. It was so unbelievably tricky and just not convincing enough. Neither is it now. Too many mistakes that had to be fixed one by one! Phew! I painted this over three days and it is currently in a position where I am relatively satisfied though not thrilled with it.

Let Loose
Acrylics on Canvas, 16 by 20 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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I have kept the palette very close to Show Stopper. I just thought they would be good hung together. This painting too is heavily textured, I had a great time doing her dress highlighting each fold with the knife. These kind of patterns are just tailor-made for the palette knife. There is infact texture everywhere excepting the hair and the face.

Let me know what you think.

January 5, 2011

Dancing feet #18 - Original Textured Acrylic Painting

This reference is one of my absolute favorites. Just could not let it pass. :-) Let me know what you think!

Dancing feet #18
Acrylics on board, 5 by 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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January 4, 2011

May the fever begin!

The Flamenco fever I mean. Whenever I take a look at a collection of my work, what strikes me and I think what will most obviously strike anyone is the amount of red in it. While my palette is predominantly warm most of the time, red seems to be the most common hue that I use. I am I love cadmium red and cadmium deep red. And cannot live without burnt sienna. Reds and browns give me an unparalleled high. So it isn't any rocket science that I chose to paint Flamenco now, as an extension to my dancer series.

This painting is very heavy in texture, much more than all my other work. Almost as much as "The world ahead" I could say. And this, is partly by design and partly by accident. After I did "Treasure Hunt" last year, I began another abstract and brought about a lot of texture on this canvas. It did not turn out true to what I had in mind, that I scraped the idea and just left it. Now I picked up the same canvas and started from scratch by applying black gesso over it. Something liberating about scraping a piece of art that has reached a dead end. The texture still stayed and has formed a nice backdrop to this painting.

Flamenco #1
Acrylics on Canvas, 16 by 20 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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I did not want to do the kind of background that I did for all my belly dancers. There, I always did the background as a hazy mix of warm colors, to suggest movement. In this painting though, I was looking for something that would accentuate the texture and create more drama. I have thus used a combination of copper and black in the background, suggesting some metallic hues. It was terrific doing the background, more fun than the actual painting itself.

The dancer too is entirely done with the palette knife. The gorgeous frills in her dress were a real treat to work with the knife. This is one dancer painting where the background actually has more texture, though the entire painting is quite three dimensional in nature. I stopped short of adding details to her hands and face as I wanted it to remain a little hazy, a bit in movement. In the flow of the dance.

Let me know what you think of this one. Of course, there are more flamenco pieces to follow, while the belly dancers too will continue on one end. And the Tango too! :-) So which dancers do you like the most? In my paintings I mean. Let me know.:)

I would request you to share my links, blog posts, artworks with anyone who might be interested. I am looking to grow my subscriber and client base and would greatly appreciate any sharing of links from your side. Thank you so much.

January 3, 2011

Dancing feet #17 - Textured Acrylic Painting

Some more Tango. While I am working on the Belly dancers, I have also started a piece with a Flamenco dancer. Their red dresses scream of passion and I find red in any form simply irresistible. So I guess the next few pieces are going to be Flamenco. And while I am at it, I plan to start working on the Indian dance forms quite soon.

Dancing Feet #17
Acrylics on board, 5 by 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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Just as is the case with everything Indian, the dance forms are also innumerable in their diversity and each one is beautiful in it's own way. A friend gave me an idea/suggestion in my facebook fan page last week and that has got me seriously thinking about the Indian classical dances. I am right now researching, going through images and doing some preliminary work. As I have zero knowledge of dance of any kind whatsoever, it is quite challenging. So yeah, you could expect something Indian from me sooner than later.

For now, just enjoy the sizzling Tango :-) Let me know what you think.

January 2, 2011

Dutch Damsels #11 - SOLD

I am so thrilled to let you know that one of my tulip paintings sold earlier in the day today. This also happened to be my first client outside the US. That was no doubt the best way to start my New Year. And I hope this is a sign of things to come this year. :)

Dutch Damsels #11
Acrylics on board, 5 by 7 inches

Dancing feet #16 - Acrylic Palette Knife painting

It was only yesterday that I was talking about the Tango series all being non-textured. Though I like the outcome of these pieces, I am not very happy that they were not done with the knife. When I am trying to bring in a coherent style across pieces and subjects, I want to lessen the use of the brush as much as possible. So this was something bothering me. Well, not any more. Am I thrilled or what?!

Dancing feet #16
Acrylics on board, 5 by 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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This tango painting is done with the knife entirely, including the woman's legs, skin and all. What I love about the Tango pieces is that they hardly take any time at all. They are all done in an hour or less. Since I hardly do any work on the background, it is very less time consuming but quite effective. Let me know what you think!

You can find my Make-an-offer painting for January right here in my sidebar. Check it out and mail me if you are interested.  Please do share with anyone who would be interested. Thank you!

January 1, 2011

And the winners are...

First of all, my heartfelt thanks to all those who shared a link to my painting giveaway on various networking websites. My blog received a lot more page views and my facebook fan count grew by about 10 people over the last week. Thank you to each one of you.

I did draw out three names using a random number generator and the winners are:

  1. Juhi Jairath Chawla

  2. Sasmita Maurya

  3. Nithya Vasudevan

Congratulations to the three of you. I hope you like the little paintings that you receive. There is a minor glitch though. Both Juhi Jairath Chawla and Sasmita Maurya had wanted the Bird of Paradise. But since Juhi's name was drawn first, she gets to receive the Bird of Paradise. I would request Sasmita to let me know of another painting that she would like to receive.

Thank you so much once again for playing along. This was great fun and I would like to run another giveaway around my birthday. Let's see. And giveaway or not, I would request you to share links to my blog/website/work with your friends. I deeply appreciate it.

Dancing into the New Year with some more Tango

I thought I was done with the dancing feet series as I could not find any new references for a while. I wasn't looking actually. And then I remembered that I had gotten permission from quite a few photographers on flickr to paint with their images as refs. This is from one such photographer who was generous enough to give me permission. You can see the original photo here.

Tango #15
Acrylics on board, 5 by 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

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I have gone back to using the brush for the dancing feet, as I was not very happy with the knife results for these paintings. I might try them again with a knife later, with a little more patience perhaps. For now, this one has no texture though.:) Let me know how you like this one.

A peek into new things in store in 2011

A very Happy New Year to all of you. May the year be filled with everything that you could wish for.

"Make an offer" painting

I was thinking for a while about what new to venture into this year, and this was one of the first ideas to strike me. This year, I am going to be offering a painting every month as a "Make an offer" painting. I will put this up on the first of every month and you can bid on the painting for the whole month. What is interesting is that the starting bid value is discounted than the actual value of the painting. So you do have the chance to buy art at an extremely affordable price from me.

How does it work?

If you are interested in this painting that is on offer, send me a mail or message me on Facebook or whatever, with your offer price. I will update my website and blog with the current highest offer every time I receive a new offer. So all you have to do is drop by my site and check out the current highest bid and place your bid higher. Simple! By the month end if it is not yet sold because there has been no bidder, then I will list it in my store at the actual price. Which means, during the time when bidding is on, I will NOT be listing it in my store and it will be available only directly from me.

A new painting will be on offer in the following month, no matter whether or not the previous month's is sold. And so on. I am quite excited about this initiative and I hope you are too. I would request you to share this with your friends and anyone else who would be interested.

Jan 2011 Make an offer

This painting is a cityscape from Venice from my last visit there. Though Venice is all water, the islands too are beautiful with colorful houses and charming buildings. This is one such view from one of the islands. Venice has been on my "to-paint" list for ages now and I hope this is a sign of things to come.

An afternoon in Venice
Oil on Canvas, 8 by 8 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

Bidding starts at $60, Mail me to place a bid

With this painting, once again I have ventured into oils with the palette knife. My comfort levels are just getting better. This one was good fun. I spent more time in deciding between oils and acrylics, than the actual painting time itself. Phew! This painting is done on gallery wrapped canvas and the sides are painted. You can therefore hang it even without a frame, though I must say it looks awesome with a good frame.

I hope you like it. Let me know your comments.

If you like it, share it!