Just before I left Peru for good in December 2016, I decided to return to Cusco on a solo adventure to knock some places off my list. This mission took me to Lake Titcaca – the highest navigable lake in the world with its colony of floating islands complete with families of inhabitants.
On my tour we took a ride on their reed boats which was awesome and learnt about their culture. While on the reed boat a family took us around and I managed to snap a pic of one of the kids in a candid shot. Looking through my pics when I’m being nostalgic, her innocence and demeanor spoke to me enough to want to paint her. I tried once before, and actually failed miserably but I was determined to do her justice.
On my second attempt I enjoyed the process a lot more. I realised I was very impatient in studying proportions, light and shadow and depicting texture. the delicate nature of watercolour – requiring sometimes layers upon layers also reminded me of my digital design work and it helped me understand the process better.
With that said; presenting piece number two in my Painted Memories Collection – the Girl from Lake Titicaca.
Having lived in Peru for about 11 months while going to school it was my first time living outside of my country for such a long period of time. It was definitely an adjustment not hearing your native language 98% of the time but sampling new foods, seeing new locations and making new friends helped with that adjustment. I also managed to learn Spanish along the way; I really had no choice in the matter and I’m glad I did 🙂
Peru for me represents a love/hate relationship. On the one hand, the challenges associated with living in any developing country became quite evident at times(and more so in another language) and on the other, my desire to explore its geography and immerse myself in the culinary world made the challenges (and the extra pounds) worth it!
I am in love with colour. Seeing the indigenous people in all their colourful splendour was a sight to behold – it’s what inspired my first piece in this collection. I actually posted about it before. In this piece, I experimented with a couple watercolour techniques to get it to my liking. I especially love his jacket where I got it to resemble the textured threads of the fabric with some dry brush and lifting of the paint. I wanted a type of 3D effect so I painted his hat outside of the colored background; I was also unaware of the use of painter’s tape for my borders, so this was my attempt at staying within the lines. Almost got it!
My very first why is because I’ve always wanted to be an artist. It’s that simple; always felt like it was my destiny and one day in 2017 I told myself it’s either I shut-up about telling people I always wanted to be an artist or do it since there is absolutely nothing and no-one holding me back – except myself – and I wasn’t okay with killing off the artistic side of myself for good, so here I am!
With that in mind, it led me to my second why; after living in Peru and the Netherlands over the period 2016 – 2017 while pursuing my Masters I took the opportunity to see as much as I could and I wanted to recapture some of those memories on my canvas, on my medium of choice – watercolours.
My last why for this collection comes from, I guess, a place of self-discovery. Most of my travel was done solo and while I was intimidated by that fact and there were a lot of things that at times tainted the true beauty of my destinations, I still found the beauty in each location, the diversity of the people and just the sheer geography made me want to share this diversity with others through my work.
In painting your collections, has finding your why come easily?
After the buzz and euphoria of being selected for my first exhibition has settled, I realised I have fallen off the wagon in terms of blog posts. I’m still working behind the scenes to complete my collection before September, but I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed when I think about how do I market this body of work.
So I spoke to a friend about my challenges and she suggested I start from the inspiration behind the collection….duh right? My tiny breakdown and her words of advice also came at the same time that I had to compose my artist’s bio for the exhibition and it made me really think about the ‘Why’. And since as the saying goes; people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it; of course much thought needs to be placed into that area.
With that thought in mind, I leave you with another teaser…starting from the bottom and continuing over the next month with a documentation of my thoughts, process, materials, challenges and successes in compiling my first collection.
A month or two ago, I did a couple of posts on my decision to submit some pieces for an upcoming exhibition in Trinidad for new and emerging artists. As the heading states, I was successful in obtaining a space along with 14 other local artists!
I happened to come across the call for submissions quite by accident on my social media and of course saw it as a sign. Funny enough, after deciding to submit, I came across a YouTube video from Stefan Bauman about improving your painting by selling your work. two things happened for me at that point; I saw this exhibition as giving me the ability to experiment with non-portrait work and focus on more local scenes and also to produce pieces for a specific purpose. Yes, I know we produce art for the love of it, but as a new artist it can feel pretty daunting just painting for painting’s sake – this was a great goal to work towards!
Receiving the news that I was successful was pretty overwhelming – it confirmed for me I was on the right path finally taking up art. I felt a bit validated in my decision and it gave me the boost I needed to continue. I am already working on more submissions for more shows!
Hope you like them!
I feel like a collection isn’t even what you call it! But I’m currently working on my first collection of paintings…maybe it’s my first full portfolio, maybe it’s something else altogether. My intention is to produce 10 – 12 pieces and showcase in different formats/media.
Over the following weeks, I will be showing snippets of my process on my Instagram so if you’d like to see works in progress of these new pieces and my previous portrait posts, head on over!
For now, I’ll leave with this first teaser of my collection/portfilio/artistic reveal!
Stepping out of my comfort zone a bit with this portrait. It’s my first child portrait and I chose to do it because there’s a painting in my head that’s similar to this subject I want to do at some point on a much larger size and so this is sort of a test run.
She was pretty fun to do, I imagine just as much fun as she looked like she was having when her photo was taken! My favourite part of this piece is her forehead; I just love how the light was captured just at the very top where the skin and hair meet at the hairline which adds so much depth. It definitely left me pretty content. To get the effect of thicker, dried paint on her skin, I decided to whip out my pastels again so I guess it’s more of a mixed media piece which added some needed texture. I just wish I had more of a colour palette to choose from with the blues!
In my first post, I mentioned I have wanted to be an artist since my teens. It was during that time while at high school I was exposed to artists in Trinidad and Tobago who subconsciously had a profound impact on this desire. I’ve been drawn to portraits and capturing realism in my work because of them and their ability to capture the beauty and gracefulness of their subjects so effortlessly. Their use of colour and the sheer sizes of each piece amazed me and it was only after a visit to an art gallery last week and seeing one of their works, that feeling of being awestruck came rushing back.
It was amazing seeing the work of the persons who first influenced me again. Like a sort of déjà vu and quiet recognition that I was on the path I was always meant to be on. It also made me remember that now I could add some of their prints to my art collection! So without any further rambling, here are some of the major artists from Trinidad and Tobago whose work inspired amd co tinues to inspire me the most – Karen Sylvester; Michel-Jean Cazabon; Boscoe Holder and Harry Bryden
What do you think of my sources of inspiration and who inspires you?
Continuing with the portrait series led me to quite a challenging reference photo which had a lot of shadow as well as a hair colour I never painted before. The shadows and face shape overwhelmed me a bit since the skin tone was pretty pale against a white background with light coloured hair….the perfect recipe for a great learning experience!
Proportions are my enemy! That and patience…lol…I think I have to start making a checklist of all the elements I want captured and mark them off when done. Sometimes in past pieces, when I thought I was done I came to realise that I either forgot the lashes, or the brows, the glint of the eye or a shadow…you name it, I’ve probably forgotten it!
The one part I do love in this piece is her eye in the shadow, slowly but surely I’m learning to have patience with these tiny but significant features that add so much more realism to a piece and I am loving the process!
It’s been a little while since my last post, think I am falling off the horse a bit in terms of my level of consistency. Trying to maintain the same level of productive discipline when other parts of my life are thrown off track is a challenge, painting when I don’t want to is so hard!
I tried to settle myself this weekend and get back to at least one aspect of it all that I love and did a couple sketches of portraits. This one is the first I did, she wore jewelry in the reference photo but I decided to remove them and just focus on her features.