Monday, April 25, 2011

Continuing on the metal mania !

         This one is for all my readers( or is it peeps now? :)  who put up with me randomly using metal working terminology like piercing , acid etched, raised and patina. I thought I ought to put up at least a basic description, so here goes;
Pierced copper on a brass base
© 2011 Nayna Shriyan

  • Texturing: while a common enough term for any creative people that work with the visual arts, in metal working, texturing is not as easy as it often requires, special hammers and tools. (The most basic of texture, like stripling( tiny dots ) requires the use of a pointed tool and a hammer and the
    Hammered texture on Brass
    © 2011 Nayna Shriyan
    ability to hammer away like a woodpecker! Some are more complex requiring special punches ( tools with textures engraved on them) some require putting your sheet metal through a rolling mill (a machine with textured metal rolls ) .
  • Pierced:  This refers to any design that has been cut out of a sheet of metal without disturbing the edges of the sheet. It involves drilling a hole at the required spot, then threading the fine saw of a piercing saw( a special saw that has thin blades that can be attached and detached at both ends as required) through the hole and sawing out the portion of metal that needs to be cut out.



  • Acid Etched: Acids such as nitric acid in the right concentration can be quite corrosive, using this fact to advantage designs can be etched onto sheet metal. Basically it involves protecting areas of your design that you intend to keep intact with a acid resisting paint ( sometimes referred to as resist) this can be wax, or plastic tape or a specialized paint meant for this purpose, then immersing the sheet into a tub of acid solution. The acid eats away at the sheet metal and leaves a clear defined design.
    Acid etched copper
    © 2010 Nayna Shriyan

  • Annealing: Probably a technique that precedes  any metal working activity and takes the least amount of time. This involves heating the metal sheet to a dull red and then cooling it. Some people like to quench the metal in water immediately ( dip the metal into water). This softens the metal and not only does it make the metal easier to work with but also avoids accidental tearing of the sheet.
So now you know of at least some of the mumbo-jumbo I keep talking about, I will be posting about more terminology soon! So what do you would I make a good teacher, does the explanation make any sense, do leave you comments folks , would appreciate the feedback! :)

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Friday, April 15, 2011

A bottle with a view series -2

Glass bottle series, '16 x14' inches Oil on canvas© 2011 Nayna Shriyan

            My second painting in this series features two new entrants!! Two very vibrant coloured bottles. The warm reds and oranges reflected by these two simply captivated me. As I proceeded into the painting I soon realized that not only were there reds, oranges , yellows and browns but also blue at a point of time in the amber bottles! The one thing I have begun to notice is that still life objects need just as much a minute treatment as any portrait subject would!
So here is a question for all you folks out there that work in oils, does the work look completely flat as you are working it ( you know your face about 3 inches from the canvas and your field of vision only about 5 square inches :D )  and then when you step back to inspect your work you actually realize that the object of your focus is actually beginning to get depth and perspective?? I know I do, so what about it folks??

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A bottle with a view series 1

© 2011 Nayna Shriyan
          For a while now I had been looking for a subject that would allow me to not only paint a series but also to expand my working knowledge of oil paintings. If you know me or have been reading this blog for anytime now you would know that while I am a trained metal artist, oil painting is like a secondary passion that; well seems to always be fighting with my first passion enamels and metalwork!
Glass bottle series 1 ,"14 x 16" inches Oil on canvas
© 2011 Nayna Shriyan
         Recently just as we were about to pack off some glass bottles for recycling I was struck by the beautiful colours of the bottles. The colorless ones seemed to pick up all  the colour from their vicinity and the coloured ones seemed to throw up a huge array of shades, tints and tones with the right light falling on them.
So I picked up my trusty SLR and along with some gentle morning sunlight, it was soon a riot of colours! Before I knew what was happening there were some 20 shots of coloured bottles and their vibrant reflections on the floor !!

         This is the first in the series, I wanted to try out a simple single bottle arrangement and also simplified the background as you can see from the photograph above.While I was working on this painting the one thing that struck me was that painting an object this closely was as good as working on a portrait, the entire time I was using a tiny No. 000 brush and working the minute changes in the colours and shades. One of my students even went so far as to say, 'there aren't so many colours you are imagining them !!'
What do you think, did I manage to do justice to the above picture? Should I have kept the original background, neighbors house and all ? :D

Friday, April 1, 2011

My favourite medium in the world - Metal !! lots of it !!!

I was recently asked by someone as to my first choice of metal for my art work. I have used quite a few different kinds of metals and prefer to use the metals as per the kind of mural, sculpture or panel in question.  Each metal allows for unique textures and effects and helps in bringing about the character of the artwork.Today I would like to start with three of my favorites.

             Copper:  My most frequently used and by far my favorite metal remains copper. The warm red colour of copper has always been a point of inspiration for creating repoussed work. Having used copper since my art college days, I find it to be the most versatile of metals, enabling me to shape it, cut it or colour it as per my design needs.
Butterfly, cloissone and wet packed enamel on pierced and electro-formed copper ' 20 x 15' cms
© 2009 Nayna Shriyan


 Here in our local metal market , copper is available in two qualities, a semi-soft  and a dead soft variety. The soft offers absolutely no rebound and is perfect for creating high relief objects such as masks and raised bowls. The semi-soft variety works perfectly for perforated and etched designs.
Copper also offers additional advantage in its ability to take on colours by way of patina ( surface colours achieved by copper reacting with chemicals) and also in that it can be enameled.  Copper also naturally has a kind of antique look to it which can be further enhanced by using oxidizing salts to give an aged patina .The one quality of copper , that creates some trouble for the final finish, is the ease with which it can react with atmospheric air, to oxidize and change its colour, if not protected quickly by a varnish or lacquer. Of course my favorite amazing quality of copper? It can be enameled!!

           Brass: Brass has a unique ability to appear rich and golden when polished and a uniquely antique look when oxidized. It natural hardness lends itself perfectly for perforated designs as well as acid etched low relief textural effects. Although soldering brass- brass or brass -copper can create some trouble, brazing the pieces together does solve the problem.
While brass does react with certain chemicals to create patinas, it cannot be easily enameled, due to the low melting point of the zinc contained within it.
Swordfish paper cutter, '6 x 1.5' inches Pierced Brass
© 2000 Nayna Shriyan
 Although thin brass wires skillfully used can give a beautiful effect in cloissone` enameling.

           Nickel Silver: This is one metal that has always  fascinated me. The slightly yellowed silver colour always reminds me of fine silver that has oxidized just a bit.Although quite hard to form or repousse it is perfect for cut and perforated designs, although while using you will have to keep one thing in mind it has a slight rebound, what this means is that when you hit it with a hammer, the hammer bounces back just a little bit! So do be careful or you just mind end up hitting yourself on the nose on the rebound !! Have you experienced this? If so how do you deal with this issue?

If you are a metal artist like me what is your favorite metal, any of these? or do you like some other really unique metal and what are your reasons? If you are not a metal artist, I would still love to hear which metal 'speaks' to you and why?