Monday, December 29, 2008

Forest Light

contemporary impressionist acrylic landscape painting by atul pande
It has been a busy few weeks (including being sick, the holidays, year-end catch-up at work, etc) and only in the past couple of days have I been able to get back to the easel. As a warm-up to a few days of concentrated painting. I decided to do a study that began with big masses of color from which I have tried to draw out complex forms that seem to represent a forest view.

Strong backlighting as a technique is at once easy and difficult for me. Easy because it allows drawing out color and form to create striking pictures. At the same time, it can be quite difficult to avoid the foreground elements taking on a 'cut-out' appearance. In Forest Light, I used a background toned with light pthalo green in gesso. Once this was dry, I placed the big masses of color leaving the focal point (the light source) untouched. The rest was a process of using brushstrokes with several shades of the major colors to create texture. The same colors with a touch of white were used to create the merest suggestion of tree trunks. Personally, I think the tree trunks truly give form to this painting. Without them, it might just be an interesting abstract.

Forest Light, Acrylic on canvas board, 5"x7", $30 (unframed)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tagged? More like flattered!

For months I have been following the blogs of various artists with ever increasing awe of their talent and an equally strong sense of gratitude towards them for generously sharing their prodigious output with those of us hungry for every scrap of knowledge to be soaked up. None of my posts have made any secret of my novice status in the art world, a mere fly speck on the vast expanse of human creativity that so enriches our lives through the simple act of moving paint around on canvas.

Imagine my surprise then at being tagged by Vicki Shuck. Vicki is a professional artist from Oregon whose scenes of everyday American life are reminiscent of the work of the southern California artist D.J. Hall. I admire Vicki's ability to capture the moment in a way that triggers deja vu in a flash. Looking at her work evokes a feeling that you have been there -- everyday scenes of which we have all been a part.

So what does it mean to be tagged? First, I have to tell you seven interesting (?) things about myself. Now, that's a challenge! I could tell you that:

1. I am a physician who has practiced medicine in four countries,
2. For three decades I have been involved in medical research that has perhaps affected the life of someone you know. Rather than being proud of this accomplishment, I am in fact humbled by the power each of us has to do good for so many,
3. I grew up in India and come from a family of modest means. Yet I am now a proud American who is grateful every day for what this country has given me,
4. Drawing and coloring interested me from an early age even though there was not even the remotest interest in my family for artistic pursuits,
5. I took up painting in 2004 on a dare from my wife who thought I was too "left-brained" for creative pursuits!
6. Until just a year ago my "studio" was the kitchen with its ample counter space and ready access to a sink for washing up the tools when done for the day,
7. My day job requires me to travel all over the world (I logged 130,000 air miles in 2008). So my painting is limited to evenings and weekends -- which explains my sporadic posts.

The second task associated with being tagged is tagging seven other artists whose work I find interesting. This is easier said than done because there are so many to choose from. I have picked: Judy Mackey, Randall Tipton, Carol Schiff, Cathleen Rehfeld, Tom Brown, Carol Marine, and Nancy Merkle. There are, of course, many others whose work impresses me to no end (see the links on my blog).

By the way, for this post I am using another one of my landscape experiments where I was trying out various weights of watercolor paper. Quiet Spot was done on 90 lb paper and you can well imagine my horror when it buckled in all kinds of ways. Believe me I learned my lesson about stretching paper. I have held on to this painting because I liked the picture and it is a constant reminder that I have lots of things still to learn!

Quiet Spot, Acrylic on 90lb watercolor paper, 8"x10", Not for sale

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Practice makes.......better?

In response to my last post, Paula Villanova reminded me of the old saw about how you can get to Carnegie Hall. The answer is "Practice, practice, practice!"

Sunny Meadow is illustrative of the "practice" aspect of my self-education. In the early days of my playing around with paint and canvas, I was completely baffled by the seemingly infinite range of greens that are possible in a landscape! After many attempts to "get is right", I ended up with Sunny Meadow. Perhaps on par with the exhilaration of riding a bike without the training wheels, I was struck by how everything seemed to click together for this piece. I am sharing it for the benefit of all those self-taught artists who despair that they will ever attain sufficient command of their materials to make anything of interest. All I can say is you MUST keep trying.

Sunny Meadow, Acrylic on canvas board, 11"x14", Not for sale