February 15, 2011

News Update - Original Oil Painting of people at the Beach

With every new painting these days, I always start with the Oils vs Acrylics dilemma. My mind almost does a dry run of the whole process in either medium and then I toss the coin. Sort of. This one had nothing much in the background so I just went with oils. There was no need of any texture to it, instead the colors had to be more exciting and vivid.

I was initially not very excited about the entire background being only indicative of sand and no water. But looking at it now I think I decided right. I like the way the woman pops out of the rather dull background and even if I say so myself, this painting totally rocks in person. It looks much better than the photos!

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

$120 + shipping, Click here to Buy

And oh, my books have all arrived! They look so awesome and arrived couple of weeks earlier than I expected. I am kind of tied up over the next couple of weeks though, and I hope to get to these books early next month. By the latest. Book reviews shall follow as and when :)

Let me know what you think of the painting!

February 13, 2011

Layered Love - Be my Valentine!

I really don't care much for Valentine's day or any other such day. But this was a good reason for a "red rose challenge" at Daily Paintworks. This also happens to be my first ever attempt at a rose, making it very special indeed.
The whole of last spring, I painted every flower that exists in every possible color, but I never painted the rose. It has somehow always intimidated me, I get bogged down thinking about the details in a rose. The circles of petals make me go dizzy and I somehow never believed I could paint one decently well. Am glad that I persisted today though. Actually persist isn't right, as there wasn't much to. I am glad that I set aside all my apprehensions and just started painting it.

Layered Love
Acrylics on Canvas, 5 by 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

$35 + shipping, Click here to Buy
The whole idea of these challenges is to push yourself and to try new stuff. So while I was not too confident pulling it off with the knife, that's what I eventually did. Decided not to touch the brush at all, so much that even the sides of the canvas are painted with the knife. :) I am totally in LOVE with this one. Extremely pleased with the outcome. Let me know what you think!

Also, I usually keep saying "sides painted", "can be hung without a frame" and so on. For people wondering what the hell that actually means, I also took some snapshots of this painting from different viewpoints today, that will show the painted sides. Hope you enjoy these views too! :)

Where's my cuppa? - One more coffee mug!

After painting my coffee mug eight times for the "ten minute challenge", I just could not let it go without one more normal attempt. One without a timer that is. However, I am quite incorrigible and ended up timing myself. It was around 20 minutes :-)

I was working from life after a really long time and it was so liberating and great fun. I have missed it so much and I hope to work more from life soon. Let me know what you think!

Where's my cuppa?
Oil on Canvas, 5 by 7 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

$100 and ships FREE, Click here to Buy

Eight times over!

One of the very few sites that I subscribe to, Daily Paintworks, has introduced a weekly challenge. And it is open for artists all over to participate. This challenge by one of my favorite artists, Carol Marine is to paint a single object within ten minutes. It is called the "Ten minute challenge". All we had to do was to zero in on one object, divide the canvas into squares or rectangles of a couple of inches and paint the same object repeatedly with only ten minutes for each attempt.

Eight times over
Oil on Canvas, 6 by 12 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan
$75 + shipping, Click here to Buy

I was excited about doing this one, as it is something I have never done before. I chose my simple coffee mug and painted it eight times on a 6 by 12 canvas. With each attempt I tried to change not only the position, but also a bit of my technique, background etc. This was the first time I painted with a timer and phew it was scary! Like writing an exam after all these years!

It was a great exercise in "cutting the crap" and focussing on just what is necessary. When I work from photos, I will many a time zoom into great detail and try to incorporate more detail. There are so many times I over work a painting as I just don't realize where to stop. This was a great idea for that. At the tenth minute, I stop no matter where I am. It was awesome! Let me know what you think.

Do you have a favorite? Can you take a guess which square was painted first? I expected that the first one would be the worst and things would get better from there. But this was quite challenging with every attempt that I personally don't think mug #1 is the worst. My favorite is the top left square, which was I think attempt #5. Let me know yours :-)

February 6, 2011

Reluctant beginner - Impressions of a European Summer

This is one of my favorite pieces in the ongoing series, if not the favorite. I completed this one yesterday and today I found quite some things to tweak, but still like the overall output and mood of the picture.

Reluctant beginner
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 by 8 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

$120 + shipping, Click here to Buy

I decided to paint this one seeing the little girl and her cute little swimming dress. Initially I started sketching both figures in full, the girl and her dad. But my canvas isn't too big and the girl became insignificant in the picture when the dad was done in full size. I then struck gold with this crop and loved it to bits. This way, the focus I believe is on the girl and her pose. Let me know what you think.

In other news, Facebook email has been activated for me since sometime last week. My first thoughts are not very positive about it, I don't like a lot of features or lack thereof. What I like though is having a mail id with just my first name. :) It being a very common name among South Indians, I have never had one just with my first name so far. Trivial pleasures I tell you!

February 5, 2011

Wave watching - New Oil Painting

The original reference for this painting had a couple of more people sitting in and around this umbrella talking. Lying down and talking casually. I did not want to make it too crowded because I wanted the umbrella in focus. I loved the colors it had and it made for such a cheerful picture. So instead of painting just the umbrella, I included only one figure too and liked the outcome.

Wave watching
Oil on Canvas, 8 by 8 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

$120 + shipping, Click here to Buy

What could one person sitting in this pose possibly be doing? She ain't reading a book or not even geting tanned. I thought about it and what immediately struck me was that she could just be relaxing and admiring the waves! I can do that for hours on end, just sit at the beach and look at the waves. Repeatedly lashing the shores, the noise of the seas, and so on. It has an inexplicably calming effect on me. That was and still is one of my absolute favorite things to do in Madras, my home. I drive to the beach and amidst hordes of people and hawkers all around, I can still sit there and keep looking at the waters and waves in complete awe. More so if it is a moonlit night. The irony of the painting though is that the beaches here do not really have such high tides as we did in India. Ha!

I hope you like it, let me know your feedback.

Featured in Stylish Home

I am very glad that my painting "A book and some sunshine" is featured in the list of "weekly Etsy finds" in this gorgeous blog Stylish Home focusing on home decor. Do head there and take a look at their creative ideas for home styling and also a host of other paintings featured along with mine.

Thank you!

February 4, 2011

Not exactly summer, maybe Spring time impressions :-)

This painting is from a reference I clicked last year, sometime during spring. But it is quite bright and sunny to be part of my current series I thought. I loved the moment, two young women engaged in a very casual banter, probably sharing a joke or something like that. Loved the setting and everything about it and I just had to paint it.

Chit chat
Oil on Canvas, 8 by 8 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

$120 + shipping, click here to buy

I tried a burnt sienna background for this one. It was very different, helped judge values better and I think it helped to get the final outcome a tad better than what it would've been on black or white. I am not too sure. For a long while, I was feeling completely bugged with the painting as just did not seem to come together, it was like all my values were in the same range and all merging with the background. Terrible I tell you! And then I worked some more to bring in more range and was generally satisfied at how it was taking shape. I deliberately avoided much detail in the background and kept it as simple as possible as I wanted the focus on the women.

Let me know what you think.

February 3, 2011

New video: Paintings in January 2011

When I tried to make videos of all my paintings in the end of 2010, I almost fainted at the number of images and was exasperated by the time I put them together. They were so many that I could manage only 3 videos that covered about half the number of works that I did last year. I did not have the enthusiasm to make videos of the remaining ones.

So it was one of my goals this year to do this on a monthly basis. It makes my life much easier and gives me a chance to publish new content on my channel at least once a month. So here it is, paintings for the first month of the year. It is hardly surprising that most of them are people, considering that's what is keeping me excited for the time being.

Hope you enjoy seeing them all together. I quite like them. I could be hallucinating but I think they look coherent together. Let me know what you think. And I have a lot many more beach and summer paintings coming up, this whole month for sure and maybe a bit into March too.

Make an offer - February 2011 - At the beach

I'd like to firs apologise for the delay in posting my make an offer painting for this month, as I was busy with work. I was first thinking about one more painting from Venice from one of my references, but then just went with the flow and chose to do one from my ongoing series itself.

I was feeling very rusty over the last week or so and that too is a reason for the delay. I was painting mindlessly but not happy with anything that came out of it. As a result, I started around 5 new paintings and did not finish even one. I was switching canvasses, just waiting for it to click. Today too was a difficult painting day, the brush just did not seem to flow. But then I decided to persist some more and then decided to stop at a point where any more work I felt would ruin it. I am not entirely happy with the painting, certainly not my  best work but that's the way it is now. All I hope is tomorrow is a better and more productive day.

At the beach
Oil on canvas, 8 by 8 inches
© Nithya Swaminathan

Starts at $60, click here to mail me

The process is the same, if you are interested in this painting, please send me a mail. The offer price starts at $60, which is at a 20% discount from the actual price of the painting, which is what it will  be when I list it in my store. I hope you like it and your comments are welcome.

This painting is mildly textured, as I started with the palette knife and did even parts of her body with her knife but completed it with a brush.

If you like it, share it!