Monday, October 28, 2013

A Visitor's Travel Journal of Ten Days Experience in Bhutan

I have the pleasure of sharing a travel journal of Mr.Gerren Vincent, an Amercan Teacher in Riyadh. He has written an interesting travel journal for readers sharing his 10 days experience in Bhutan during his last visit in June 2013. He has also shared his own personal views on Bhutan just as any outsiders would do it. 

I am sharing this Travel Journal with the prior approval of the author since he has expressed his desire and consent to share the same with the aspiring Bhutanese readers over email.   

If any readers and bloggers are interested to go through his travel journal you may visit this link:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Way of Painting

As committed earlier in my post under ‘Trongsa Dzong Painting’, let me briefly outline the process that I usually follow in starting with any painting – be it landscape or portrait.
Generally speaking each artist would have their own way of starting a painting project. In fact there won’t have any uniform practices of art processes among the artists just as we all think and act differently.
Some professional artists might directly sketch the drawings on canvas and start painting simultaneously; some not-so-professional ones might first draw and sketch the subject on canvas before any color is painted; and some others who are just a beginner might even use a tracing paper to copy down the elements of subject on canvas.
Even I too used to do draw the picture on canvas using tracing paper long before. It was as simple as that. But now this practice has been discontinued as it is no longer feasible especially when you are doing a large sized painting and when the image needs to be enlarged to fit with the canvas size.  
Here are the steps that I usually adopt in starting any new paintings:
Step 1: Whenever I come across a high resolution picture to be painted I first create a grid design in adobe photoshop. Anybody who is interested in working with grid design in photoshop can visit this weblink hereSteve Patterson Steve Patterson. Steve Patterson who is the author has given an explicit step-by-step tutorial on how to create a colorized grid design.    

Step 3: Next comes the marking of numbers 0, 1, 2, 3 and so on in each lines of the grid both horizontally and vertically as shown below: 

Step 4:  Then the same number of square grid lines as seen in the picture is drawn on to the canvas.   Of course area of the square grids may have to be enlarged depending upon your canvas size.
Step 5:  Next, all elements, objects and shapes of the picture are copied down on the canvas with a pencil strictly corresponding to the same numbered grids where they are located in the sample.

The drawing of sample image on canvas using grid design is a tedious task. One needs to have patience. There is no hurry to rush up your work as the initial drawing is often the foundation of any painting project. The greater the efforts put, the better will be your drawing.

The grid method of drawing gives you added advantage in portraits as it helps you sketch a replica of the sample figure with fullest accuracy of all elements such as eyes, ears, nose, mouth and other shapes of the portrait. I would highly recommend this method to be adopted if anybody is interested to take up portrait art.

Step 6:  The final process is painting or coloring the subject – which again involves several stages of processes entailing specific skills, techniques and knowledge of the artist. Basic knowledge of color and its properties (hue, tint, shade, tone, saturation, light and dark etc), color wheel and color mixing is prerequisite for any artist to embark on a painting project.

I usually paint the basic shapes and layout of the painting first in acrylics as acrylics dry very fast within few minutes. Thereafter oil colors are used to blend, adjust, or refine each elements of the painting composition just as they are in the sample (for portraits and Dzongs) or in the way I want to project to the viewers in case of scenery.

As we are living in the 'flat world' where technology is fast expanding, I am making optimum use of my PC for all grid design, editing and referencing of the sample pictures for painting. Just as brushes and colors are essential components of painting, so are my desktop and laptop which have become indispensable tools without which I cannot imagine to paint.                
Though the art of painting is not an easy task as some experts have even quoted, “Painting is EASY when you don’t know how, but very DIFFICULT when you do”, I firmly believe that so long as one has the interest, will and determination to practice art, there is nothing that is impossible. Everyone can paint to become an artist! So friends, why not give a try?   

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Trongsa Dzong Painting

Landscape painting of Dzongs is of great significance and sacred to both artists as well as viewers.  

One - it exhibits the rich and awesome architectural art of Bhutan. Two - it adds great value and splendour to the overall landscape painting composition. Three - it inspires and disciplines artists to maintain the originality of the scenery.   

In the past ever since I took interest in landscape paintings I had painted numerous Dzongs such as Paro, Punakha, Jakar, etc. But I had never painted the Trongsa Dzong. Not only I did not come across a sample picture of the Dzong suitable to my interest but even the thought of painting such a massive and extensive stretch of the dzong rather deterred me from giving an attempt.  

Finally I came across with this image of Trongsa Dzong which inspired me to test my skill and patience
. I have used this as a sample picture for my painting.   

Thus I started off with determination and gusto. Sketching and drawing of image on canvas size of 4x3 ft was indeed a gigantic task for me. It took almost two days of getting all structural elements of the Dzong drawn onto the canvas with pencil.

Here are the various painting stages with relevant images for the benefit of viewers:

1st Stage: The foundational outlay of basic shapes and elements of the sample image has been  painted with Acrylic (though the rest of the work is usually done in oil) in this preliminary stage.  This is the first coloring of the painting or underground painting as artists usually refer to.

As you see the first stage of the painting you will observe that although the basic shapes of Dzong structure are more or less done in the eyes of viewers, the background and foreground sceneries are nothing more than some patches of blues and greens in background and yellows & whites in foreground scenes without any details.     

2nd Stage: The viewers would now see a more refined painting with all shades of contrasting colors from dark to light.   

In addition, the viewers might also observe that a trunk of the big cypress tree seen right in front of the dzong has been painted.

3rd Stage: The viewers would notice that some trees have been added in this stage of the painting. It is quite a laborious task indeed for artists to finish the painting at any one stage.  Every elements of detail has to be judged and painted as they would appear in any given scene.  

4th Stage: The 4th stage of the painting will now present the viewers with great details and addition of live figures in the foreground. The painting might now appear completed in the eyes of viewers but it is still yet another stage for the artists to proclaim it as finished.  

5th Stage: At last after series of painting stages this is the final image of the Trongsa Dzong painting which now stands completed. This painting has taken almost 8 months to transform to its final shape including few months of break in the middle.  

Among all landscape paintings especially Dzongs, the painting of Trongsa Dzong (on large canvas size of 4x3 ft) has by far been the most difficult and gigantic task to for me to paint. The reasons are obvious – the whole architectural structure of the dzong is extensively long and complex, let alone the other scenery patterns supplementing the overall beauty of painting.

Here again I have used my artistic license to translate the overall composition of the painting to an artistic scene of which I wanted to project it to the viewers while at the same time maintaining the originality of the image. 

Albeit the final painting image shown above is copyrighted one I will certainly share the original image of the painting without the copyright marking once it has been sold off. Till then, my friends, bear with me!

“My Way of Painting” will be my next post………..