I began painting about 20 years ago to distract myself after a personal loss. I had always wanted to paint, but the need to make a living, and the intimidation factor kept me away until then. I am self-trained, with the help of many mentors, fellow painters, books, and museums. Currently, I paint acrylics and watercolors.
My focus is on the beauty of ordinary things. Sometimes I can only articulate what moves me by painting it. Of all elements of painting, it is color that most intrigues me.
In Fall 2019, I worked on acrylic pours, a fascinating combination of chemistry, chance and color.
This year, with the need to shelter, I’ve turned to homely subjects, my backyard and flowers. Here is my backyard:
This is painted in acrylic. I had fun with this, because I painted the frame to match and extend the design of the painting.
In preparation for an upcoming show with an artist who does botanically accurate renderings, I have been working on painting flowers, mostly in watercolor, using a variety of techniques. The first two were painted after gessoing the other side, which restricted the absorption ability of the paper:
The next two were done with a freer hand and very quickly:
I have a ways to go on this proposed show, but as long as it’s a joy to pick up a paint brush, I”ll keep painting.
Where I grew up, everyone was an artist - creating the structures and decorations of daily rituals and ceremonies. I am no different but took the practice seriously. My sense of security and my hope for prosperity were tied to my creative efforts.
The only educational path that felt suitable for me was art even though I was not thinking of it as a career. After finishing my Bachelor in Fine Art in my home state of Odisha, I went to New Delhi for a Masters in the History of Art. Feeling detached in this unknown location, I developed my core values and the mindset to practice art. From here, my art brought me to New York City and then to my permanent home in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live with my wife and daughter. Art is the challenge, comfort, and consistency on my journey. As the second child of six siblings, I am the one who has ventured furthest from home.
Primarily I do figurative work and you might ask why this is my focus. Humans are a universal form in all geographic settings but with different feelings and expressions. I find a variety of emotions in human forms. In figure painting, I find the fundamentals of life. A human behaves differently based on their surroundings and the nature of the society or tribe they belong to. But the figure also has its own unique expression which is detached from the time and places. I am most interested to work on this aspect of human nature.
I start a painting without a preconceived thought. Even if I have something in mind, it loses its grip by the final stage. I do not predict my brushwork - I work to the edge of my canvas until there is no room to drag the brush any further. The frame of my canvas is the limit. Sometimes I like to be in the limitation which generates tremendous pressure to go beyond the edge or surface. This creates a visual energy within the canvas.
At this point, you can call me an artist but I need to prove it truthfully. I want to go beyond the game of failure or success.
The lockdown situation gives an example to understand the pressure of creative urge within limitations. All of my art works I have done during this time are a struggle to escape from the limitations. Deliberately I chose a color palate - predominantly grey and brown. Each treatment or element has its own struggle, conflict, and conclusion. Society is going through a change due to the pandemic, and the part I can control is my own discipline in my art. I find shelter in my canvas.
One of the art works from this series is called “Stuck” which is featured in the 34th Annual Emeryville Art Exhibition 2020 and selected for honorable mention and purchase by the City of Emeryville for their Public Art Collection.
Come and shelter in my canvas.
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