Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A portrait in water colours and water colour pencils

Portrait in water colour pencils and water colours
©2012 Nayna Shriyan
Another portrait commission !!! Well this one was short notice so I had to do some quick thinking and change the medium. Normally an 'oils' only girl I  had to switch to colour pencils and surprise surprise I loved it!!!
Started out quite cautiously as I was painfully aware that any mistakes it would be a complete do over. After getting the drawing in place I started out with the lightest pencils and started blocking in areas graduating to the middle and darker tones quite gradually. I realized that it was all about the control and the amount of pressure I was applying to get the correct tonal depth. I also opted out of using a wet brush over the pencils as I really fell in love with the kind of textural effect that I saw coming about from using the pencils over a smooth hand made paper block. 
The hair was the result of some very thick water colour and the clothes did get a slight wet brushing to smoothen things out . What do you think should I keep experimenting with pencil colours or stick to my beloved oils?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Seeing Double !

This seems to be a month for commissions first the 'Shivaji' piece and now a double portrait commission My first ever !! :)  While most artists must have some method of conducting studies I went with my  usual style of jumping right in ! The client had given me free reign with regards to size, medium and just about everything so that made my life much easier ,and here are my progress photos of the painting.
A very first coat just blocking in the major areas( P.S. my family thought it looked eerie! :P)

Both the subjects with the second layer

Almost done with my favorite being the blue silk tie !
I concentrated on just one person at a time, having finished the groom, my sole attention was on the bride. Her face proved to be the most challenging I wanted to get not just her face but also her glowing skin tone and blush correctly
The bride's Sari and jewelry was the most fun I must say and the one element that got done in literally one stroke was the groom's tie! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A portrait with a reverence-Shivaji Maharaj

Shivaji Maharaj
© 2012 Nayna Shriyan
Copper sheet, copper wire, Black Acrylic

    A true first for me, a portrait done in metal !! Yay! Now you might be wondering what am I getting so excited about well, this image here is a likeness of Shivaji Maharaj. For all my fellow Indians, you know who I am speaking about and why I am getting so excited, for all my global friends, this is the portrait of a great leader of our country. Without going into too many details, he  was an iconic leader who united the state of Maharashtra and brought the people together by instilling courage and patriotism in them. Someone who was just barely 16 and lead from the front. Tough he lived and ruled a couple of hundred years ago, his philosophies and ideologies are just as relevant today as they were then. For this very reason, I got a little jittery when a client asked me to create something with Shivaji Maharaj ( incidentally Maharaj means King ) as I absolutely did not want to mess this up!.
        So I gave the old cogs a good run and came up with this idea, I used piercing as my main technique to cut out portions of the profile and used line tool to bring out some details. The details on his garment are mostly fine copper wires soldered. The backing is a 4mm thick black acrylic sheet. Some stripling adds to the texture in the background. The bonus of course was the client and the person who received this piece as gift falling in love with it! :)

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just a sketchy thought.

Artist (Photo credit: Fernando X. Sanchez)
            I was at a local mall this last weekend to pick up some essentials (seems like the easy way these days though I do prefer the old fashioned way of going to a whole bunch of different shops in the old part of my city. As I was sitting around in the lobby of the mall I noticed a small kiosk it had a screen playing an animated sketch taking place in about 1 min. It was one of those sketch-a-portrait vending machines. The kinds that take a picture of you and use some sort of photo altering software to create a simulated sketch. My first thought I must confess was annoyance, was it so easy to replace an artist who puts in years of experience, learning, emotion and hours and hours of practice with a silly vending machine?

                 I was then reminded of seeing artists sitting on small chairs with tourists and the local public sitting in front of them posing outside one of Mumbai's landmark art gallery The Jehangir Art Gallery. The major difference between these machines and the artist sitting outside the gallery? People queued up to be sketched by the artists and others hovered around to watch the artist creating his/her magic and the vending machine did not have a single person even looking at the short animated clip !
It just warms my heart to realize that the skill and talent of the artist is still valued over a cheap vending machine automated sketch. :)
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Flood waters, Hot cups of Chai and some gardening

This week began with a ( I know you are thing 'bang'  but no :) flood! Yes that's right my city was well under water these past two days with water logging, train services breaking down, never ending traffic jams and people getting stranded every which way.

Not fun I know but for the few lucky folks like me who don't need to travel for work or any other reason it was fun to stay home and watch the rains and sip hot cups of tea (we call it 'Chai') well we had a lot of fun and here are some pics from my balcony. So what did I do apart from having tea well I spent the time cleaning up my studio coming up with plans of streamlining my enamels ( they are a mess! ) which I will be sharing soon and doing some gardening !
Hope this lil guy does well 

You can see my Aloe vera trying to peek into the pic here :)

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Functional design.

       Should art or rather design should it be purely a visual treat or can it functional. I think good design is so much more interesting when its functional don't you? To be able to actually use that lovely design that  you simply fell in love with, to me that's a perfect combination. 

While I love creating paintings  and enameled panels it gives me a lot of joy when someone picks up my enameled bowl and wonders if they can use it as an ash tray or perhaps could they store their  nick-knacks.  You have seen some of the bowls I create and there are a lot more on the way, but here are a few other pieces that I create, some are hand painted like this coaster set

Coaster set with yellow fleur
Set of four coasters

Chili key holder in brass and wood.

Some have metal accents on them like this chili design key holder ! isn't it cute just perfect for holding one set of keys if  you are like me and like to have all the possible keys in one single key chain :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Getting nostalgic about pea pods

Pea Pod, Copper, torch fired enamel, pine wood
 © 2000 Nayna Shriyan

     Last few weeks have been really crazy for me with a two day exhibition featuring my jewellery and some of my metal art work. While trying to decide what to carry and what to leave behind I found this piece of art that I had created while in college. Long before I knew what torch fired enamels meant I was doing it the reason simply being, the only kiln that I was aware of was a huge old fashioned monster of a kiln in my college and whenever I wanted to enamel any small little piece at home it had to be with the aid of my trusty torch ! I also found to my amazement that while I had no idea what fold forming was back in those days, I had 'folded' the copper sheet into a pod ! Looking at this piece also reminded me of being completely fascinated by horse shoe nails  and had used them on the sides of the 'pod' to create the tendrils. 

       Cleaning and photographing this piece made my quite nostalgic for the old days when the simple act of mounting a piece meant a delightful excursion into the market place near Chor bazaar to hunt for packing material ( made of imported pine wood that did not even require cleaning !) and then carefully burning out the knots with my trusty soldering gun :)  I intend to put up this piece at an upcoming exhibition next month I really want to find it a good home as compared to just keeping it sitting in my closet, as I believe that art is incomplete until it has had a chance to interact with the world at large, what do you think?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

3 Ways to keep cool in the Mumbai summer

It is Mid April and officially the hottest summer anybody can remember ! Here in Mumbai, summer means three things, more sun than you need to tan your self to crisp brown, children playing cricket and general noisy games in the street and mangoes!! 

Here are Three great ways to deal with the crazy Mid summer blues you might get.

My bird bath

  • Drink gallons of water, but not from your fridge rather from a Mud pot! Yes I know most of you from the western world might wonder why in the world a mud pot, well here in India, drinking from an earthen ware pot in the summers is very popular. The water stored in the pot cools down considerably as some of the water evaporates through the pot pores. The water also for some strange reason tastes delicious , no kidding ! In fact quite a few shop owners keep a large earthen ware pot outside their stores with a steel glass attached for passers-by to have a little drink. And while you are out buying one for you buy one for the birds as well. I did and have been watching Pigeons, Crows and Mynah birds stop by for a drink all morning ! with the added bonus of a very loud bird song by the Mynah bird ( what more can you ask for ! )
  • Make clay sculptures , well use this excuse and find some clay at your local potters and play around with the clay, hey you might create some pieces or might not but you will have tons of fun and the clay can get very cold helping you beat the heat!
  • Buy mangoes and well of course eat them but also make a cooling drink with them. Here's how: Buy a Kg of Raw mangoes ( we call the drink Panna , so you need to get the mangoes for making Panna , your fruit vendor will know) boil them whole till the outer skin goes a dull yellow . Let them cool , then  make a little slit and pull out the seed and squeeze out the pulp from the skin as well as the seed. Mash the pulp or better yet run it through the food processor , add at least half a kg of sugar, ground cardamom and some threads of saffron, and your done ! To serve take about two large tablespoons of this pulp add water, ice and mix. Do try this it tastes delicious and an added bonus no preservatives !

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fan page cover pic

Cover photo for Fb fan page
© 2012 Nayna Shriyan

For all my blog readers, here is what my Facebook Fan page cover pic looks like :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mirror makeover

       A while back we had a 'Vastu' consultant come in and do a check up of our house, and she recommended quite a few changes, most very practical and did not require major upheaval of our household and also did not entail major expenses, so we were quite fine with it. There was however one thing that meant either calling in a carpenter or some good old fashioned DIY, well you know me so DIY is what it meant!
Mirror with the makeover done
       The 'thing' as I mentioned earlier was that mirrors could not face open windows as they reflected negative energy inside from the outside.(without going into the debate about whether or not this is possible, let me just give you an account of how me and my friend came up with this great design, its more fun any ways :D)
        I first covered the mirror with a very thick coat of wood primer( I found a good sized tin lying in my attic ) Then my friend and I created textures using texturing white and good old wall putty using some palette knives and our hands :D ( Did I mention it was a very fun project !) We didn't actually plan a design but we simply decided to go with some very soothing waves. Most of the textures we created are simple ones. This was left to dry off for 24 hrs. and then, I used two colours in acrylic, a cobalt blue and an aqua green with a tube of white to create tints, There was also some left over crimson red that I used to create the really dark tones that you can see at the top left and bottom right. 
After the base colours more textures were added with some contrasting light and dark colours and of course good old metallic golds and bronzes.
Wish I had taken a before pic of the mirrors but here is what graces my room now and the best part I can actually see it from outside the home and  our house is on the second floor !!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To set or not to set!

Recently I was looking at all of my enameled panels with a view to checking up on them and cleaning & I found a stack of 10 enameled rounds, that I had worked on more than a year back. Looking at these pieces again, I realized that back then I would have framed them as probably a wall piece on a simple wooden frame. But now with all my jewellery making skills, I am wondering whether I could simply 'set' these as I would set any enameled 'jewel'. Or would it be more interesting to embed them in an oil painting? Or perhaps use them as part of a sculptural piece? Well I guess my thoughts are scattered right now but if anything strikes you do drop a line !

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chor Bazaar!

      With a title like this I am sure you are wondering where I am going with this post, well I am taking you on a journey to the most famous flea market of Mumbai! To be honest the tag 'flea market' does not even do justice for an amazing treasure trove like Chor bazaar. What it is a huge area full of lanes and each lane is choc-a-bloc with shops selling anything from, old bike parts, LPs, film and rock band posters( Oh yes they have Elvis and the Beetles too !) antique furniture, lamps, clocks,  navigators and compasses from old ships, Sculptures ( I actually saw a pair of larger than life extremely realistic lions in cast bronze!) old coins, telescopes, books, well you get the idea by now :) Oh and lest I forget my all time favorites the old HMV styled Gramophones with large beautifully worked brass speaker and all the old styles of telephones from the hand held earphone variety to the wall mounted style and every bit of wood and brass polished to gleaming perfection!

   As you can see from the picture here that pretty much every available space is crammed with simply gorgeous stuff, and if you look closely you can see the shop owner helping out my friend with some tiled wall hooks there.
   This shop had the most amazing old sign boards, could make out exactly but I think they were all hand painted check out the red one on the right its for the post office announcing the sale of postal stamps! When was the last time you used a stamp? :P

This little vintage car over here is actually a pan box with storage space on the cab, bonnet and foot board areas, look closely and you will see tiny hinges! Just below the car are some cast brass door knocker, unfortunately could not take better pictures as some of the shop keepers do not approve :(

As you can imagine a place like that there is a good chance for anyone to burn a large hole in their pockets but the only thing I managed to buy apart from some amazing tools was a baby milk bottle! Yup am sure you are wondering why would anyone buy a milk bottle from a flea market well here's why!
    For a long time now I would hear from my Dad that when he was a baby he had this milk bottle which was boat shaped and had two openings one on either end with the teats attached on both of them, and how he wished my mom hadn't lost it while moving ( parents !) I kept thinking those were not in production anymore and couldn't be found well guess what I found one ! Have you seen one of these or maybe your parents or aunts used to have one, do drop a line if you have hunted down something for your loved ones like this, both me and my dad would love to hear your story ( we are big on nostalgia here :D)
Baby milk bottle with two teats!

I hope to make another trip soon with my nephew as he is crazy about the old LPs and wants to add to the family collection!
P.S. Do you know apart from antique collectors and interior designers and of course the bargain hunters, who you are most likely to see here, people from the Hindi film and television industry ! Yup this is where they come to source out stuff for all their period dramas, and I have heard from one of the store keepers that recently the staff from the long running show on Sony TV- CID too were there sourcing old fashioned light switches, the toggle kinds ( something that I too will be adding to my collection !) 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Foils on oils

         In my last post for the year 2011 I had written about starting something interesting which combined both of my  passions, oil on canvas and metal work, well I have been thinking about the same for a long time now and have come up with something like this: I intend to paint with brushes as well as palette knives creating abstract paintings in oil on canvas and then incorporate copper pieces in the form of foils and sheets which will be worked upon individually and then treated to different patina processes. 
               While I am still not entirely sure, as to how I intend to attach the copper pieces to the canvas, I am hoping to incorporate fine copper wire and actually stitch the copper pieces onto the canvas! Well my experiments will be here for all to see in a few days, but for now, here are the two oil on canvas experiments to begin with .
Here's what they look like right now ! 
P.S. By the time I had the pics clicked for this post I had attached two foil pieces with blue patina on them.Do drop a line and let me know if they are even visible to you! :D
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