By Hand From The Heart is a Makers Market event in South India. Upcoming Events: 22nd Edition: 2nd – 3rd February '18 , Jenney Residency, Coimbatore. 23rd Edition: February '18 in Chennai.
Bangalore based artist Shirupa Gupta talks about her art works, inspirations and her display at the By Hand, From The Heart event in Chennai. From a successful career (R&D Engineer in an embedded systems company) to a full time artist Shirupa’s journey is inspiring.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Despite a successful start to a promising career as an R&D Engineer in an embedded systems company, I always felt that I was not doing justice to my greatest strength and my long time passion – Painting. I embarked on a beautiful journey of discovering my style ten years back.
I spent first few years learning from books and television. When I moved to the US, I started attending art workshops and experimented with various mediums. I love painting birds, fruits, animals and landscapes.
Tell us about your works and your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.
I plan to bring with me 21 pieces. 10 Collages and 10 watercolors – you will see roosters, birds, fruits, animals, flowers and landscapes. A play of color and light. There will be one piece that will stand out from the rest – oil pastel on sand-board- a Sadhu with Cigar. I did this few years back and is truly representative of how my strokes evolved over the years.
Below is sneak peek of one of the artworks:
Can you describe your work place / space?
A corner in my room at home is what I call my space or studio. I like to sit on the floor while I paint and use a table easel to make sure I maintain a comfortable and healthy posture while I work. I love to work in a corner that is well lit and receives direct sunlight.
What/who inspires you? Or how do you find inspiration?
To me inspiration to paint lies where color and light meet. I am driven by bright and contrasting colors and the way colors and light play with each other. And I draw inspiration from almost anything around me. In the morning when I step out and look at sunlight falling on bright purple colored iris or rose – it inspires me.
I am influenced by impressionists and look up to Van Gogh and Edgar Degas for inspiration.
Can you describe your creative process and what is the most rewarding part of the creative process for you?
I use photographs as references and prefer to work in the studio. I use my own photos or the ones shared by my friends for me to use.
For watercolor- I keep a watercolor journal in my studio. This journal is the place where I let my creative juices flow. I study my subject before I get to the final version. I keep a second sketchbook where I do a quick value study of the subject using a pencil. Whether I do a value study or not is an instantaneous decision that I make based on my feel.
I use Khadi handmade paper and Winsor and Newton colors. I like to use transparent colors in my painting. And I follow the “less is more” approach. In most of my paintings I use only 3 primaries. And I use mostly rounds brushes. My favorite brush is No.8 Raphael Kolinsky red sable and many of my paintings are done only using this one single brush.
For Collages – I go straight to the wooden panel or ply and start sketching. Lay the basic values and hues in there to guide me to stick the torn papers. I love the texture of wood and sometimes I let it show. I am in love with Golden Fluid acrylics that I use to not only paint my papers but also to make the base painting. These colors have very high pigment value and the brightness is unbeatable. I make sure I finish the painting with two coats of varnish to make the color lightfast. I never put color on the top of my finished collage. Even a tiny dot in the eye of that rooster is a torn piece of paper. Also I never use scissors or any other tool to tear the paper. I love the edges the hand-torn paper creates. Each torn bit of paper is equivalent to a brush stroke. I refer to my collages as “Paper Paintings”.
To me the most important part of the creative process is the ”journey” of creating an artwork – from an empty canvas to a finished painting. During this journey I am so engrossed in the process that I lose the sense of time. Hours would pass by while I enjoy painting taking it’s form, getting it’s life which would literally feel like minutes to me.
How do you get around creative blocks?
Three main ways that I counter creative blocks are:
1. Journaling using watercolors.
2. Going through some of my favorite art books and blogs.
What’s the best thing about being an artist?
To me the best thing about being an artist is seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. Most of my subjects are things, people, pets or places around me.
What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
Play by your own muse and your heart will tell you when you are ready. “I’d rather be in the studio” by Alyson Stanfield is a must read. Painting is an art and selling it is another. It too needs to be learned and mastered.
Anything exciting on the cards for the coming months?
I am training myself to paint portraits. And for next two years I plan to paint only monochromatic (Payne’s Grey) portraits in watercolor. Nowadays I am reading “Portraiture Painting Workshop” by Charles Keith.