I listen to Audiobooks while I paint

Many months ago, I painted a portrait for a friend. It was a portrait of his girlfriend.  It was a very pretty picture to begin with; she has a really pretty face. It was my first time doing a portrait. I was so excited. I did the background first and sent the photo to my friend. He loved it. So I continued. I drew the face with white charcoal pencil. Yeah! It was perfect. And so I began painting. Oh dear… I messed up. What I painted didn’t look like her at all. I then watched some videos online and noticed that a lot of artists paint in black and white and then glaze color over it.

So I began. I painted over it in black and white. Not pretty :0 it was a disaster. I then started over it again. Layers and layers and it still didn’t look quite right. I wanted to give up. So, I stepped back and decided not to paint the next day. I just relaxed the next day. The day after that I started again on the face. It looked better that day. But again I was tired of looking at that face for so many hours a day. I don’t even look at my husband for that many hours a day.

Here’s what I did. I had a collection of audio books. I transferred it to my Mp3 player and put on my headphones. It was a brilliant idea. I was so lost in the novel I was listening to that I didn’t worry about the painting much. The task became quite enjoyable. My mind relaxed and hence I could produce better results. I was happy with that day’s results.

I continued the next day with the audio book again. I finally finished and added some extra effects too. It is amazing how much you can improve once you relax your mind.

Tip: Ask for enough time, well in advance when you take commissions so you can relax and paint and not worry too much about your deadline. If you think you can paint something in 20 days, make sure you ask for 40 days so you can produce better results.

And shop for some amazing audio books. I have the Harry Potter collection, James Patterson – Women’s murder club, John Green audio books, The Chronicles of Narnia, and many more… I’m still looking for more audio books because they make painting , so much more fun. And of course, you can also listen to podcasts.

It is important that you enjoy what you do. There have been a lot of times where I hav given up on a painting but I eventually get back to it after a break and the end result is better than I expected. Keep inspiring yourself.

I’ve always prized myself on coming up with goofy comparisons like Paintbrushes are magic wands. So here goes, Audiobooks are so much like our grandmas who used to tell us interesting stories when we were kids.  They never fail to entertain.

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My Experience at Chitra Santhe 2016

I’ve always given excuses for not displaying my art; “It is not good enough”, “I don’t have enough paintings to make up a collection”, “I don’t know how to approach art galleries”, etc.

Well, a few of those reasons are genuine but I had to get out there. I needed to experience it. So, I decided to participate in Chitra Santhe. It is an art fair held once every year in Bangalore at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath. It is for the common artist, especially those who cannot afford to have a solo exhibition and as it is a fair, it is open to all audience. Thousands of people come to this event in the hope of buying art at a price they wouldn’t hope for in a gallery.

I went in the end of October to get an application form and I was delighted when I was told I was lucky as it was the last one available. I submitted the form the next day. They cannot accommodate everyone and hence you have to wait until the end of December to find out if you made it to the shortlist. Sure enough, just four days prior to the event I got it. I went with my dad for site inspection. It was a very tiny little space because they accommodated more number of participants that year.

I went home and bought some brown paper. Dad and Mom helped me make brown paper covers big enough to pack my paintings in (in case I managed to sell any). I packed them all nicely to be able to take the paintings safely to the venue.

My very resourceful mom kept a watch out for delivery vans and convinced one of them to let us hire the vehicle for transport. He backed out later because he was not comfortable with the timing. We had to reach the venue before 7:30am as the road would be blocked for vehicles after that time. Anyway, Dad managed to hire a vehicle to transport the paintings. My uncle, my cousin and I managed to move the paintings to the location and set up by 8:30am.

Tips: Carry smaller size paintings so you can just take them by car and also don’t take more than 10 paintings. Carry a sun Umbrella or wear lots of sunscreen. Handout visiting cards even if others around you think you’re being stupid.

At Chitra Santhe 2016

Don’t lose hope even if you don’t sell anything. It is a good experience. You’ll know what to expect for the next time and you’ll get lots of feedback. You’ll also get to meet experienced artists and know more about the art world.

My parents came by my stall in the evening and I got my first customer then. The woman bargained a lot and my dad convinced me to sell a painting to her at a reasonable price. I sold one more painting after that. Selling two paintings was not so bad after all. And I managed to sell one more painting online when I put up an invitation to Chitra Santhe on social media.

So start with a fair like Chitra Santhe, Kala Ghoda arts festival, Sunday soul Santhe or any art fairs in your city and you’ll have a great time and gain confidence to exhibit more of your paintings.

P. S: The packing and unpacking at the site is quite a task.

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How I got to making the Zodiac collection

“Hey, what are you doing”, he asked as he saw me sitting on the sofa completely blank with my hands over my head.

“Nothing”, I said.

“Come on you look weird. Are you sad? Are you going to cry?”, he asked fearfully.

“No, I’m just wondering what to paint next”

“Just pick a nice painting from Google and paint”

“No, that wouldn’t be original”

“Who cares?”

“I care. After making one awesome original painting and selling it I don’t think I should make a copied painting, besides WHO’LL BUY IT? WHICH GALLERY WILL DISPLAY A COPIED PAINTING?”

That statement right there in capitals, that was what was holding me back.

I think most new artists hit this block after their first original or their first sale.

Worrying too much about who’ll buy, Trust me , you don’t want to do that. It will only hold you back. Your main goal must be to excel at what you do. Set goals. But don’t set big goals too quickly. Pick a photograph of anything; a bird, a lion, a beautiful landscape and just paint. See what you don’t know how to paint and paint that. I hadn’t really painted that many paintings. I was just six paintings old and I was worried about making money, whereas I should’ve been worried about improving my skill. After the amazing Lion painting I thought I was ready to start selling. Big mistake!

“Why don’t you paint zodiacs, it will definitely sell”, my husband said.

“You really think people will hang paintings of zodiacs on their wall? They might read their horoscopes every morning but buy zodiac paintings? I don’t know”

“What have you got to lose? Just paint them”

I wasn’t so sure but either way I took his advice. I still didn’t want to copy paintings so I started researching on different ideas. I was inspired by the various tattoos on zodiacs that came up on Google image search. So I took the idea of implementing that in my paintings.

I first made the Scorpio painting. It was a big favorite with so many of my friends. I’ve got lots of Scorpio friends. I wanted to incorporate the symbol too in the painting and so I did. I read somewhere that red favors the Scorpio sign and so I used the color Red. The scorpion was inspired by a tattoo.

SDZ_ScorpioWM

This is how I made most of my zodiac collection paintings. I used tattoos and the colors that favored the different signs. I even designed some tattoos.

My friends who saw the lion painting from my previous post said it looked like an improvised version of a glass painting and hence I used that as an inspiration for my Virgo painting.

SDZ_VirgoWM

I made most of my zodiac paintings like this and I sold most of them. My husband was right. People like hanging paintings of their sun signs. Well, I got enough to buy more paint supplies by selling a few of my zodiacs.

I also got a painting commission from a lovely couple for a couple zodiac painting Leo-Scorpio. It was a great experience. I enjoyed making this painting.

LeoScorpioWM

So come up with an idea or just paint what you love, what you dream about and you’ll keep learning. You’ve got nothing to lose.

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