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Friday, July 26, 2013

Guest Bedroom Needed the Rest

An afternoon of not much busyness, a stencil lying about and some long forgotten paint rediscovered- all of this comprises the recipe for a much enjoyed and very easy project. In anticipation for a dear friend's visit to my humble abode, I am preparing the guest room. So without much preamble I present to you the before and after pictures.

The Blank Slate

As many of my readers know, I am the master of planning all my proejcts down to the last detail (hahaha) and so the work proceeds flawlessly to its intended completion (not). Well for this particular project, I just eye balled the midpoint of the wall and proceeded to stencil. But you see the devil being in the details, and since I had overlooked the devil, it reared its ugly head time and again and slowed me down. So I have had to improvise as I went, measuring and drawing lines and adjusting the stencil just so inorder to achieve the desired effect. Oh well! I never said patience was a virtue of mine.:-)

I spy the stencil on the floor

Well hopefully, all my mistakes are hiding well. I am satisfied with the progress. Can't wait to finish this one.

Much progress is made

 My favorite part - the metallic letters on the wall. A subtle contrast between the busy design on the wall and the message. 

The Rest is details

 I pronounce the room ready to receive guests and I hope that it would be a place for rest and comfort.

A touch of red

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"Parting Ways" acrylic painting - 11"by 14"

I did as I was told,
I served and sang and dipped and bowed. 
I was told that you love me with my faults and all
That you were the keeper of my soul.

And I, in my naivete believed that that which was outside of me,
That which I did not seek out to see in me-
the strength to face my destiny come what may.
 In waiting for you , it withered away.

And now I have not you , nor me
 I writhe and cry and rant and rave but now I see,
that I am the only one to set me free.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wall Wears Chevron Stripes

Finally it's done folks! I did it-chevron stripes on the game room wall! I had been mulling over how to achieve this look with as little an effort as possible. I believe in conserving energy people. I have been inspired by zig-zag-walls on  What a terrific project without all the laser level-juggling and chalk lines going nuts! I had the paint and I had the requisite brushes, rollers and frog tape, but as is usual with me - no patience for intricate measurement to draw the grid. But I was raring to go.  As I was shuffling through my mind for tool for the lazy painter also known as yours truly, to grid making on walls - I happened upon an 11" by 14" canvas. Perfect! Without further ado, I launched into drawing the grid on the wall with a soft pencil. You can tell, I am big on planning a project. :-) But in my defense, I did put it on paper to see how it might turn out. Here is the picture.Observe the detail and complex calculations........

$7 oops paint from Benjamin Moore
Paint tray
Frog tape( I can't recommend it enough)
Canvas or cardboard box or something to use as a measure to make a grid on the wall.

So I got to work. The canvas grid was easy to do. Then it was time to stick the frog tape across the diagonals to make a zig zag pattern. The most important thing is to get it really well adhered to the wall surface, so as to minimize the bleeding of paint.

Taped up and ready to go
Oops paint! here I come.I will spare you the pictures of my self painting the stripes. I depend upon your future visits for the survival of my blog. :-) But here is the work in progress.

Finally the wall wears stripes!
It is done, the painting I mean. Time to meditate and ponder the slowness of time it takes for the paint to dry. And here is the final result of all the work.

One more view.....

I am happy with it, if I do say so myself. What do you think? Please do drop a line. I would appreciate it very much.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ganesha on Fabric - Vegetable and Flower Dyes

"Happiness is making the most of what you have."
      Rosamunde Pilcher

I grew up in a frugal household. I was raised by my grandmother. We made do or did without.  She is  extremely industrious and can weld and sew or quilt with equal ease. First need and then habit led her to choose frugality as a way of life. While growing up, I had scoffed many times at this choice. But as I go through my own life, I see that there is potential to be generous only when you live within your means, because that would mean that you have saved something in order to share it.  Very early, I learned from her to make the best of what I had available to me, both of time and resources.

 When I came to the US in 2000, among my total life possessions at the time, packed in two suitcases, was a sewing kit with lots of  fun little sequins and beads and.......a hand painted Ganesha by yours truly! A long time ago, while in college ( heavens! That does seem a long time ago!)I had attended a workshop by an eminent vegetable dyeing and painting expert Toofan Rafai. I had  painted the piece then. I enjoyed the process of extracting the dyes and mixing them with guar gum to make paints. We had a smorgasbord of raw materials to choose from - berries and roots and flowers. Marigolds, beet roots, Indian gooseberries.... The fragrance that filled that huge room was remarkable!

You can tell that I love the piece. I cherished it and brought it along to the US in a suitcase where every cubic inch was expensive real estate. Now that I think back, I think I never did get that thick tome of a computer science textbook that  my husband reminded me innumerable times to pack. Haha! So anyway, I went to town with some cotton cloth and an old quilt to provide some body to the background for the art work. The cotton cloth was dyed yellow using turmeric after a good bath in the mordant of asaephoetida, both of which can be found on Indian woman's kitchen shelf.

Then began the fun part! Sequins were attached, various embroidery stitches applied and lots of songs were sung and many days passed blissfully lost in this work. If not for this kind of occupation, I would have lost my mind. But I have learned the way to my mind. It needs my hands to be working, creating, solving.

For all these years, this piece has hung in my home. I haven't yet gotten around to framing/hanging it better, but it is very close to my heart. Indeed, it is a very humble piece, and has not much to distinguish itself with, but to me it signifies steadfast loyalty to what I consider authentic about me.

Friday, June 21, 2013

"Waiting" - Acrylic Painting 11" by 14"

Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.

 From "Waiting" by John Burroughs 

My hope for this painting was that it would express both the sadness for times that were as well as a quiet optimism for the times that are coming. She is biding her time. But she does not await the future idly. She actively studies to receive it when it does appear. 

I would love feedback. Please do share your thoughts.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

How to Add Texture to Your Acrylic Painting - Grains

Hi there! If the idea of adding grains to your acrylic painting seems strange to you, banish the thought immediately! Some really interesting textures can be produced with different grains, seeds and other dry edibles. I have experimented with sesame seeds, couscous and rice grains. I have also used wheat grains and mung beans. Each of these items has a very interesting form - from spherical orb to flat tear drops and some almost crystalline.

When using food items in your painting, it is very important to seal the painting with high quality acrylic varnish to stop the deterioration due to environmental factors.

For this demo, I have used polenta grains, but you can use any one or combination of grains,seeds etc.,.


Step 1.

Start with a base color. This gives the grains a surface to adhere to. Keep in mind that you will need to use several layers of paint to go on top the grains to glue them well to your canvas. So base coat is a good thing here.  Here I have some glitter paint doodles along with the base coat of paint. I was just playing with the glitter and thought it might be fun.

Do not let this coat dry. That is very important for the grains to adhere to the surface of the paint.

Base coat of paint
Step 2.

On top of the wet layer of paint sprinkle as little or as much of grain,seeds etc.,. as you like.

Polenta- coarse grain
Step 3.

Wait for a few minutes before starting this step. This gives the grains a little bit of time settle into the paint.
Now comes the fun part. This is your play time. You can get in there with layers of paints and keep going till you have the desired effect and the grains are glued on.

Silver of the glitter paint and couple of layers of brick
Step 4.

Admire your handiwork! :-) It is possible that some grain may still shed at this point. But if you have put in enough layers of paint, then this loss should be minimal. I have used this technique for a while now, almost 5-6 years and have found that the quality of the painting does not suffer at all, especially since I make sure to seal it well.

After it dries
The last step would be to apply a good coat of acrylic varnish to seal it all in and keep it from deteriorating.

I would love to hear from you. Please drop in a line or two and let me know how you like these tutorials!

Monday, June 10, 2013

How To Paint Textures on Acrylic Painting - Salt

Here we are, playing with all kinds of materials to add texture to acrylic paints. Usually, it is said that acrylics are harder to texturize, but by adding various additives one can get some very pleasant visual effects. I have used salt in this next demo to a very nice rough texture on my canvas.


Brushes or
Palette knife

Step 1.

I have used a few different colored paints for my experiment, but one should suffice too. Apply a dollop of paint on your canvas. And then pour a good measure of salt on it. Depending on the size of the grain of salt, the texture would be different. Also the thickness of paint would determine the look you achieve. A thin wash of paint with salt on it would be very different , visually from a thicker one. Again, this is open to a lot of different discoveries.

Salt on paint
Step 2.

Spread the whole mixture with a palette knife. 

Step 3.

Let it dry. Already you can see some dry spots on the surface.

Salted Texture

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How To Add Texture To Your Acrylic Painting - Layers of Paper, Fabric or Found Objects

Welcome back to the tutorial where we explore various ways of adding texture to acrylic painting. 
I love adding depth to my paintings through creating layers atop my canvas painting. I have used mix of heavy and light weight papers-printed or otherwise, with a fair amount of success. Depending on the materials used, there is such a great array of lines and patterns formed, that render interesting texture to the painting. I have used newsprint and fabric as well. Sometimes I have added large glitter, sequins and beads. You can choose just one medium for layering or mix it up. It depends on the composition you have in mind.

In this tutorial, I have used kite paper and some sketch book paper. I keep a pile of paper for layering purposes. This particular sketch paper was a drawing my child had made with markers and didn't want. Usually, I inherit such discards and I welcome them heartily. 


Papers, fabric and other items to glue on to the canvas
Tacky glue or hot glue

1. Tear the heavy weight papers and soak them in water for a few minutes to soften them. This makes it easy to stick them on to the canvas. Tear the light weight kite paper and keep aside. 

Soaking the heavy weight paper in water

 Step 2.

Apply a thin layer of tacky glue on the canvas. I had to mix a little water with the tacky glue to help spread it easily.

 Glue on the canvas

Step 3.

Working quickly, stick the pieces of paper on the canvas. I wanted an evenly spread mix of thick and thin layers. 
Glued the papers on to the canvas
Step 4.

After the layers of paper dry, you can go over the surface with a coat of paint. 

Mint Julep Green on top of the layers of paper

Layers with paper next to layers with paint

Monday, June 3, 2013

How to add Texture to your Acrylic Painting - Linen Look

Howdy Ya'll!As promised in the last post, I am here with my Canvas With Possibilities to show you how to achieve the linen look on your canvas using acrylic paints and some easy to find tools around your home. I try to use what I have rather than running down to the hardware store for supplies. Just the frugal girl in me.

So here's what we are going for.


-Two or more colors, depending on how much of a contrast you would like. Since I already have a brown paint layer on the canvas, I am going to use a lovely cream for a contrast.
-Fork, comb, toothpicks, anything that can be used to draw lines through wet paint.

See how the background color shows through
Step 1.

Start with applying a base coat of paint. I have brown underneath, but you could could use any color.
Once that dries, drop a generous dollop of contrasting paint over it.

Step 2.

Next gently spread the paint with a brush.

Step 3.

Use your fork or comb or toothpick to pull lines through the still wet paint. You could wait a few minutes to get in there as well. That way, the texture is even more pronounced. You have to try different wait times and see what happens to decide what effect you like best. At this point, you can even dip your combing tool in another color and comb over the paint.  I have used a little yellow ochre on my fork. This adds another dimension to your texture. Play with it!

So this is one way of achieving a linen look on your painting. I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Please share pictures of your explorations and tell me what you discover in the process. I would love to hear from you.

Friday, May 31, 2013

"Strife" - Abstract Painting Mixed Media on Canvas

Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.” George Bernard Shaw

Turn on the television on any given day and examine what meets the eye - strife, greed,war of one kind or another, in the name of some noble sounding purpose or another.  I see hungry children dying. I see lives lost in the name of some jingoistic fervor, a horrible reality wrapped in fuzzy sounding abstract nouns like freedom and liberty.

I am a part of the system; the world is a reflection of me. I am a part of the whole but as I stand apart,  I realize that as a human being, I have insulated myself from the many uglinesses that we impose upon our fellow beings- war, death, hunger, torture.  I lose myself every day in the glitter and gaiety of my existence. I hide in the transient comfort of my secure life, seemingly far away from the strife that is actually very very close and personal.  I feel self righteous when I recycle my plastics and eat organic food to help "save the planet" or when I donate to a charity. I release my self from feeling any other pain because that would be the end of my glowing freedom. 

"Strife"11" by 14" Acrylic on Canvas

Close up 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How to Add Texture to Your Acrylic Painting - Layers of Paint

Surfaces reveal so much. The marks painters make reveal so much about their work and themselves; their sense of proportion, line, and rhythm is more telling than their signature. Looking at the surfaces of nature may offer equivalent revelations. What do these shapes and patterns reveal about the world and their creator? Surfaces hide so much... 

-John Paul Caponigro

Textures can create a powerful effect and interest in a painting, by subtly altering the surface. In the play of light and shadows, there can be created an almost meditative, calming effect. Texture can lead the eye of the observer where the artist wants it to go. The subtle difference in the edges where different textures meet and the lines and patterns they create, makes the whole composition visually appealing.

I am quite certain that there are numerous ways of achieving textures in acrylic medium. Here are some I have tried and used and found the results pleasant to the eye. Of course, I am not debating the importance of the overall composition of the painting, but we are going to see how we can make the work more visually appealing. 

So here is a little how-to post on creating texture in your painting. 

I have started with a canvas, which , as you can see has already been worked upon. It was originally mine - fresh and pristine. But my kiddo had other plans for it. He experimented with some idea he had in mind and then gave it to me to "improve" it. So I have inherited a canvas with possibilities. I recommend you start with one without. In any case, we might just be able to cover the paint completely or use it as a background for further work.


Paints - I use all kinds of paints from little craft paint bottles to artist quality acrylic paints. It just depends on what textures I am going for. Here I have used Artist's Loft paints along with Folkart brand paints from Michaels.

So let's get started. What I have planned to do is divide this canvas in to sections and I am going to attempt to show you various textures using a few different techniques. 

Canvas with Possibilities
Step 1.

For this project I am using four different paints to create a layer of paint. 

Dollops of paints

Step 2.

Using a round headed brush, gently mix the paints in a circular pattern. The goal here is not to flatten the paint on the canvas, but to mix the paints gently and create a swirl of paint, sitting thickly on top of the canvas.

Gently mix the paint in circular motion
Step 3.

Here is the result of our above handiwork. Acrylic paints tend to dry flat. So you need a good quantity of paint. It takes a little while to dry but it does so quite beautifully. We have one more layer of paint to go on top of this one. We will wait for 10 to 15 minutes before we apply that. It helps with creating thicker texture.

Let paints 1,2,3 get tacky

Step 4. 

After 10 minutes or so, when the layers of paint have become tacky, I come in with the good dollop of fourth paint. 

Paint number 4

Step 5.

Apply paint number 4 gently atop the layers of paint already there. Again, do it slowly, with an almost feather touch. The result is quite attractive, if I may say so myself.

Voila! A swirling symphony of
colors and textures
This is but one of many ways of creating textures. In the next one, we will look at combing to achieve a linen like texture on our canvas. Come back!

Friday, May 24, 2013

"Working Phases" - Acrylic and Mixed Media

Acrylics on canvas. The background texture is achieved using layers of kite paper, or paint and yarn. Acid free paper holds the writing.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A painting - " Who am I" - Acrylic and Mixed Media

There is an abundance around me, 
There is the whole world that surrounds me, 
I get some whispered hints, 
I receive quiet messages about me. 
Yet I do not know who am I?

"Who Am I?"
Flowers stitched on the canvas
Another view 

Used a glitter paint tube to write the words