Thursday, May 27, 2010

Featured Joy

One time or another you must have wished that a day had more than 24 hours. I make that wish often and then later look back to see what I could've done to make 24 hours seem enough. The answer is always very simple.
                At the Studio, planning the arrangement.

I am the Featured Artist for the month of June at the Artist Cooperative Gallery of Westerly, RI. And I am very very excited about it and have been looking forward to it for the last couple months. This is my first featured show. With the excitement came a lot of anxiety, stress and lots of learning. 
I am sure all seasoned artists have this figured out and have a system in place. But if you are new to the Art Business like me, you might find this post useful. 

I almost immediately learnt that it needs to be PLANED well in advance. Even if you think you will have some new paintings its important that all the work you hang are in sync. Its always nice to have a common thread of thought or intention flowing through the collection. All the work that I am hanging are my meditative pieces. They are all about my quest to find myself. 

FRAMING is a very important part of your work. Although it doesn't seem very important the right frame can enhance your work and a bad frame can bring down the the colors completely. So give framing considerable thought. And remember most arts and crafts stores do not have a wide variety available. You will need to order them online... and it brings me back to lesson number one: PLAN!
I had to drive for an hour to providence, then run to the nearest Home Depot to get all the framing supplies together. To order frames online I personally like using Franken Frames.

It was just not my day.. I needed a frame for a 24X48 painting and the framing stores were out of just that size. I rushed to the nearest Home Depot to get Wood panels and make my own frame, only to realize that I had no clue how to do it. One of my friends was kind enough to take the time out to show me how to. If you haven't already its nice to LEARN HOW TO USE YOUR TOOLS, I finally did. Yes, I used a hand drill for the first time ever and feel very proud about the frame I assembled.

But the most important lesson that I learnt was the importance of GOOD FRIENDSHIPS. I am so lucky to have some fabulous friends who took time out to help me and made up for my lack of plan. Without their help I would probably still be struggling. 

I have my show hung, labelled and awaiting its opening on June 2nd. If you are in area drop by to see my work at the Artist Cooperative of Westerly; 7 Canal Street, Westerly RI. Its on display starting from May 27th through June 26th.

See you soon, Until then hoping for some peace and quiet or may be another adventure. Whatever it is you will definitely get to read about it, so stay tuned.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


What would you do if you randomly found a book? Read it of course, and then? What if there are a few words that jump out at you and inspire you to give it new meaning? You also have a treasure trove of random knick knacks that you want to have in one place. And you absolutely would love to paint but not ready for a canvas.... then an Altered Book is the perfect project for you. If you are an experienced artist then an altered book is an awesome practice book/journal.

What is an altered book?
It is all about recycling, reinventing and recreating. Its taking a old/new book and redoing it by creative means into a work of art. Altered books are considered the "new and happening" art form, but it has an history which goes back centuries. It was then called by names like Palimpsest and Grangerism. 

Today altered book has evolved further more. You can use it as a fun playful and colorful journal or a practice book to try some cool new techniques. Whatever the intent... Just open the book and start working, don't worry about the whats and whys. Remember there are no rules, just some printed pages and a box full of fun supplies. So let go and get ready to carve, glue, rip and tear, sew, stamp, paint, collage and whatever it is that you want to try. And guess what, IT'S LEGAL!!

I was first introduced to altered books by the lovely Laura Gaffke in a 6 week workshop that she did in our cozy studio. 7 Artists got together under the same roof and created their own pieces of expression, emotion.. ART; under the guidance of Laura. 

I chose a book about "Wrinkle Cure" to challenge myself... and little did I know that I will end up with a book I love and feel proud off. My book is a colorful translation of the new friendships and bonds I formed in those 6 weeks. 

Millie Donovan from the Riverside Studio and Gallery is opening the doors of her studio to celebrate and share our creative friendships. Its a show about and of the works of the students of Laura Gaffke.

When: May 21st - June 18th
Where: The Riverside Artists Studio & Gallery
8-12 Broad Street
Westerly, Rhode Island
Opening Reception: May, 21st from 5-8 p.m

To read know about the participating artists check The Riverside Artists Blog.

P.S: Images in this posts are pages from my Altered book.

Monday, May 17, 2010

One Story - 4 story tellers

Actually it was 4 Stories, 16 story tellers in 2 Continents.
Yes you read it right, two continents. It was art (with help of technology of course) that built a colorful bridge across two cultures. 

It was a unique experience facilitated by David Black at the Mystic Art Center, CT. Two Groups of Artist created Tunisian Style collaborative paintings. I initially stopped by to play the role of an observer, but when asked to join, I gladly jumped in with a brush and an open mind to explore, experiment and enjoy! While we painted we had the opportunity to stand back and observe two other groups energetically working on their canvases in Tunis through video conferencing and they could observe us. 

The Tunisian collaborative painting was pioneered by Hechmi Ghachem in the late 1980's. Its a concept with 4 simple rules

  1. One person is given the honor to begin the painting.
  2. Anyone can paint anytime and anyone can erase anyone else's work
  3. Another member settles any disputes concerning the painting.
  4. One member of the group decides when the painting is finished. 

It's best to have at least three artist working on the same canvas.. more is merrier (depending on the size of the canvas). Once begun no additional members can join the group and the group has to work together until its finished. Acrylics becomes the choice of medium because of its quick drying time.

Mr David Black was initiated to this process in one of his trips to Bouabana Art Space in Tunis. He experienced how art bridged all boundaries of culture and language as he and his collaborators worked on a single canvas to narrate one colorful story. He instantly knew that this was something he wanted to share with the world. 

Mr Black asked me how did I feel, my answer was a single word "Liberated". I am used to having total creative control over my paintings, letting go of that control to work within a group was a challenge by itself. Though a little difficult at first I slipped into the role of a collaborator very soon.

In this post are pictures of the canvas that my group worked on in various stages. The one above being the completed image and the picture below is the completed image of the other group.

If you saw one of these paintings hanging in a wall, would you ever guess that multiple artists worked on it simultaneously?

Thats the MIRACLE, the harmony that we had achieved as a group.

What did I learn? I learnt to let go and be open to ideas. To see the big picture and readily accept my role as part of the big picture. And more importantly I learnt to make more daring choices and not be hesitant in erasing something I feel doesn't work.   

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Painting our souls

                                      "My Guide" 24X30 Acrylic on Panel

Have you ever tried to meditate, visualize and paint your soul? A soul painting is a portrait of our inner-self.. a fluid landscape of our mind. It benefits you by illustrating your spiritual gift. Its like getting a Tarot card reading, each painting symbolizes and radiates icons of your empowerment.

I tried to paint my soul for the first time at a recent workshop I attended facilitated by the energitic Roberta Mockus. Something told me that this was a workshop I should not miss, and I didn't.

We started the workshop with some simple ice breakers to ease the group to each other. After which Roberta lead us through a meditation. We all searched inside ourselves to find ourselves. To visualize our intentions, our strengths, our paths ahead . My intend was to find my spiritual guide.

At the end of the session we all gathered around and asked ourselves some very basic questions.
  1. Did the painting symbolize my intend? 
  2. How did the painting make me feel? 
  3. If the images could speak, then what would they say? 
  4. What did I learn about myself?

As Roberta said "The answer lies in the Soul, letting go of the product and gaining wisdom from the process.  Let the paint brush guide you, it has all the answers."   
For me this workshop facilitated unveiling doorways to realms of possibility. It gave me an opportunity to glimpse into my own spiritual field of consciousness.

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