June 2, 2013

Painting Classes: Forays into Oil, Acrylic and Collage

I have always been fond of painting since childhood; I have several sketch-books from those years, filled with water-color vignettes of my life (Rajasthani puppets, money-plant cuttings growing in glass jars, pink-blossom creepers silhouetted against the cerulean blue sky). During fourth grade, I took water-color painting classes from a British artist acclaimed for her water-color depictions of Oman and then, discovered oil-painting during my second year of university: the fused smells of turpentine, linseed oil, and paint swiftly became addictive as did playing around with the combination upon canvas.

However, since then, there have been gaps of several years in which I never found the time or frankly speaking, the inclination to sit down with paints, palette, and a fresh white canvas. Reflecting upon the situation, I realised that for me, it had always been a pleasure to paint in a group, rather than on my own. Unlike writing, where I require silence and isolation (I would never be able to write in a coffee-shop, for instance), I enjoy the fertile energy that painting in a group produces and consequently, becomes a source of creative fuel to tap into. And so, when I chanced upon art classes here, I thought it would be a great and timely opportunity to refine techniques, acquire new tips, and absorb the communal creative atmosphere.

I opted for oil and acrylic classes, where I hoped to make further explorations into oil-painting - and  and embrace acrylics, which I had never attempted before. While learning and grounding technique was one crucial aspect of the classes, I also started to think more deeply about what I wanted to paint - did I just want to go with the flow and create stream-of-consciousness abstracts (ie simply messing about with paint!) or studiously cultivate a theme and work on a series? While the latter did not happen as such, I did work quite a bit with mixing collage and oils and some fun, spontaneous works such as this happened below:

Loquacious Planet, Oil and Collage
Mostly painting with oils and the classes being weekly also meant that I witnessed a painting emerging from a series of distinct, defined layers. Earlier, I would complete paintings in one sitting, unconcerned about layering/underlying colors: it was almost as if I was just seeking instant creative gratification. However, over here, I appreciated the transitions that the paintings underwent and the individual avatars they assumed at each stage of being painted. I also made it a point to capture each layer with my third eye aka my phone;) so I could look back on how the paintings evolved...

This was the result of my first class

Multiple Personality Disorder, Oils and Collage

Apart from intermarrying collages and oils, I did end up working on a couple of abstracts:

Storm Sky, Oils
And once I stumbled into acrylics, I couldn't help but think as to why I had never tried them before; they took me back to my water-color days, when I would meticulously work upon perfecting the junction of water and pigment. However, I had become so accustomed to using oil as a medium - and savoring the luxuriant manner in which it allowed paint to be blended and layered - that it took me a while to familiarise myself with using water instead. While I definitely had fun with acrylics and now looking forward to working on a piece combining them with oils, I must confess that I will always remain an oils fan-girl though...! 

Waiting to Take Flight, Acrylics and Collage

Apart from the weekly discipline of the classes and painting for several hours in one sitting, I also appreciated working alongside others in the studio - which was precisely what I had been seeking. Multiple conversations peppered the air: talking about art, giving feedback to a fellow classmate or simply walking around, pausing, and engaging with their art-works. As the classes approached conclusion, I was a little wary of whether I would still continue painting, given that the motivation/discipline would no longer be present to do so. However, I recently came to know about a group meeting regularly at various spots in Pittsburgh to paint in open air (something that I have never tried before!) - and well - that should be quite a challenge and incentive! Watch this space as to how that unfolds...


  1. Hey painter... great job. loved every word here :)


  2. Thank youuuu, Suzy! Btw, I forgot to mention that I am also open to taking commissions, if you're ever interested...j/k!! Still a long way to go!

  3. Hey P..... absolutely loved them all.... i guess each one of them is my fav in a way... :)))... cant wait to get outdoors to paint...:))


  4. Thank you so much, Shazi (plus, you can have a better look when you come over for the private gallery viewing:P) - and yes, can't wait to get outdoors! That will be an entirely different experience altogether:)

  5. So delightful to see and enjoy your paintings Priyanka, they are so fresh and unique, My favorite being the flight that made me feel like I am taking the flight, just superb! Look forward to more!


    1. I really appreciate your kind comments, Padmaja, given that you are such a gifted artist. I am still at an amateur stage and am generally just having fun with the paintings...so glad to hear that you enjoyed seeing them!

      Btw, 'Waiting for Flight' actually happens to be my favorite too so I am interested to hear that it struck a chord with you too:)

      Well, let's just hope that I don't lose the momentum...I really would like to carry on:)


Thank you so much for taking the time out to leave a comment. I look forward to hearing from you!