Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ways to Deal with Creative Funk

I have been in a creative funk all this week!! Seriously! All I have been doing is chatting on facebook and twitting! That too halfheartedly! The continuous onslaught of snow storms has not helped either!! After wallowing in self pity and lethargy, it dawned on me, that if I don't pull myslef out of this abyss, no one will! And I resorted to my true and tested methods of getting out of funk! I am not saying these are "methods to get your creativity going", but they seem to work for me! I thought I would share them with you too!

1. Read, Read, Read!  This is something that almost always gets me out of my lethargy! Popular novels  relaxes by taking my mind off daily cares! Heck when you are fighting Vampires and werewolves, who has time to worry about unpaid bills? Most importantly the books that are truly inspirational to me are my art history books! If you have read my blogs, you know that I am an art history buff! I even did a minor in art history! At this time I am reading a couple of books; one is What makes a Masterpiece, edited by Christopher Dell and another is Women, Art and Society by Whitney Chadwick. Jeez, those chicks had to really fight to get accaptance and to be able to do what they loved!! Wasting away precious time when I have been lucky enough to do what I love, seemed like blashphemy! This book was like a quick kick to  my backside!!

2. Spy, Spy! Yup, I browse the internet and spy on other artists to get myself going! Also I visit the museums and galleries to see what everyone is up to! When you  see everyone else is creating amazing art and all you are doing  is wandering the halls in  pajamas, it only makes you feel like a loser! Looking at other artists successes is the best way to start myself going!Okay, I admit, I suffer from artists envy! But it can be a good thing specially when I am being a mope!

3. Clean Clean Clean! Giving my studio and kitchen a good cleaning always makes me feel better! A cluttered studio, most of the time makes for a cluttered mind! So I cleaned my studio, and since I was in  the mood, I cleaned the kitchen too! With everything spruced up, my spirit uplifted and I felt like I can take on the world!
4. Supplies! Yeah, shopping for supplies gets me going! I don't know any artist who doesnt feel excited in an art store! As I am lucky to have an ASW store within 30 miles from my home, I spent a few hours there! After spending a few hundred bucks, you can't really not work in a good concience! Ahh, the smell of turpentine and linseed oil, the touch of paper and canvas! Sure fire way to get into creative bliss. A little expensive to get into it but heck, when you are feeling like I was, it is worth it!

5. Diversify! I have been working with mixed media collages at this time..... Since I have been feeling a little bereft of ideas, I decided to focus on separate medium to get myself excited! By doing drawings and little pastel works, I felt my spirit lifted! Pastel is a completely new medium for me and working with  pastel excited me so much, I forgot to mope!! In other words, when feeling creatively bankrupt, it is always helpful to delve into some other medium. The newer the medium the better! As artists we get so excited when mastering a new medium, it gets our creative juices flowing!

Temptation, Oil on Canvas, Ishita Bandyo
I am not saying these are going to work for everyone. But they work for me most of the time! And if it helps you a little all the better! Heck, if nothing works, then there is always candy to give us a sugar kick!! Until next time! Ciao.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Head of a Horse, Graphite on Bristol Paper

Head of a Man, Charcoal on Paper
I think each artist chooses their medium because it suits their personality. I would sometime wonder why some one decides to work with graphic mediums and not delve in the beauty of color? But I now understand that some material appeals to our inner soul and that becomes our tools to express.

I have been doing some cast drawings for last couple of months, to keep my drawing skills going and have been using charcoal for that purpose. The rich black darks that you can get with charcoal is fabulous. Its velvety and smooth and makes a drawing striking with its richness. But one trouble that I have been having, is that, I can't get the smooth transition from one value to the next.I want the transition to be seamless! I have been asked, why would I want that, since the drawings are good as they are! But the thing is I want to learn how to do it! Even if I never do it again after I have mastered the technique!!

I decided to try graphite and see if I will be able to get that smooth transition through this medium. And viola! I could! I should be happy right? I wans'nt! I missed that darkness achieved through charcoal! The values transitioned beautifully in graphite but it didn't matter!I want my dark! I tried stumping and that gave me some richness but still it was not as dark as I would like to have! I guess, I can't have both at the same time! Or I need to seek out teachers who can help me with that! Sigh! Decide for yourself and your comments would be very helpful!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Equus 16"x16", Mixed Media Collage 2011

Flight, 10"x20" Mixed Media Collage, 2010

Take Me to the Moon, 12"x16" Mixed Media Collage 2010
Gemini, 16"x20, Mixed Media Collage, 2011
I  love painting in series. It gives me an opportunity to explore my ideas to the fullest! I am at this moment very much intrigued the the imagery of horses! The horse can be a symbol of strength or sexuality, depending on how one wants to explore the symbol. Since I saw the movie, Equus, I have been thinking about horse in terms of being a sexual smybol and a sort of god figure...... But once I started painting them I could not see the horse as much as a sexual symbol but as a symbol of freedom! How many time do we use the terminology "riding off  to the sunset"? And by painting them over and over again, maybe I am trying to achieve that freedom without leaving home and my responsibilities. Maybe painting is not only about color and design but psychological longings that even the artist is not aware of?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Paintings with Biographies

Sargent, Daughters of Edward Boit,

Tyler Green’s blogs are always fun to read! In one of his recent blog post he talked about painting’s biographies! And that got me thinking! There are some paintings that intrigue you and makes you come back to them again and again!And you want to know about their “life”! When you think about these paintings, you always wonder who the people in the painting were…. What were their relationships with the artist, what were their lives like….!

 One such painting is The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit at Boston MFA. Whenever I visit the  MFA, I stand  in front of this painting and wonder about these grave little girls. What was the story of their lives? Why do they look like they have a secret to keep? It was really interesting when Tyler Green wrote about the new book published by the MFA called, Sargent’s Daughters: The Biography of a Painting. The book talks about Sargent and the Boit family and interweaves their stories with the atmosphere of the American Expatriate community. The book also follows the painting's journey from the Boit family collection to the MFA collection. In other words the book tells the “biography” of the painting from its inception to its final resting place.

Below are some of the paintings that can have amazing biographies written about them! These are some of my all time favorite paintings!

Velazquez, La Meninas
The first on my list is La Meninas. It has host of characters and intriguing placement of figures and the general air of mystery! Think about all the characters and that looming figure of the artist himself! This biography can ran for 500 pages, at least! I would call the book, “The Ghosts in the Mirror”!

Manet, Bar at Folies-Bergere

Another painting that has always captured my imagination is The Bar at Folies-Bergere, by Manet! Again there is that puzzle about the mirror! But I wonder about the girl…. Who was she? What was her story? How did she meet Manet? What was he thinking when he made the painting? Oh, the things we can find out if these paintings could talk! I would call the Biography, “Puzzling Reflections”

Rembrandt, The Night Watch
The third painting on my list is The Night Watch by Rembrandt.The possibilities!! Who are these people? Why are there women in the painting, which is essentially about men with arms? What was Rembrandt’s relationship with the patron/s? We do know that, this was one of his last major commissions. After this painting, he lost much of his patronage and declined into poverty! Coincidence? I will call the biography, “The Night Watchers and Rembrandt’s Fall”.

So these are my three choices for today! I would love to hear about your choices!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Words to Show the Way

Every New Year I set goals, like almost everyone else...... And like most I never fulfill these! The goals get lost in the daily hubbub of life. Even though most of the time I remember the gist of the goals, I forget the majority of them.... This year reading a couple of other blogs, notably Lisa Call and Cynthia Morris, I decided to go with the word of the year rather than long list of goals! A word can be like a little nugget that we can hold in our hands and every time we remember that word we can get a renewed sense of purpose! So I choose STRUCTURE as the word of the year 2010! I think what I need most in my life at this time is a solid structure to take me to the next level! I need a structure to make my financial goals more attainable (make a living solely out of art) and more importantly find more outlets to share my artworks with others. Every time I see myself slipping I need to hold on to this word to show me the way!
Antique Head, Ishita Bandyo (Copy From Cast)
Oh,one  more word that I need to keep close to my heart is "Patience". I sorely need it in terms of being in a marathon race of an art career as well as being a mom. Anyhow, I thought I will add my drawing for this week as well!