Category Archives: Art

Homecoming – In all its Colorful Glory!

Yesterday I completed the oil color version of my sketch Homecoming.

When I completed the Homecoming in digital format as a rough concept sketch, I could see the potential of something much better in it. So I decided to build upon this rough concept and develop it into something much more appealing and colorful.

As part of planning and preparation (yes, art needs this too!), I took some print outs of the original sketch. The next step was to scale the picture, so that it’s easier to keep the relative distances between objects manageable in the final picture.

Now, even though the picture is scaled properly, I still needed to figure out which elements are central to the theme of the picture. Perspective lines are very useful for this purpose.

Now it’s time to decide the rough color scheme of the picture. Even though the final colors may be far bright / saturated than the original color as applied here, this rough coloring gives a fair bit of idea about which color will go where. This is especially important as an oil painting can go on for months, and I may completely forget what color scheme I had in my mind when I started.

Here’s a rough color scheme.

Now it was time to transfer this concept onto the canvas.

First I primed the canvas using white gesso material. I used a big brush to appy gesso evenly over the canvas. This gave it a nice white color and a solid texture on which to paint.

Then I drew the pencil sketch on the canvas. This took me hardly 0.5 hour, as the original sketch was ready and scaled. I used 0.5 pencil to draw this, and used dark stokes to make sure they whould be visible through the oil paint till I needed them.

After multiple long hour sessions of painting, the final result was this.

The final painting changed a lot since I had started.

The barren mountainscape got some foliage of its own.

The clouds got bigger and attained more significance in the painting.

The sun appeared out of nowhere and defined the light in the entire scene.

Some people were added to the craft to give the whole picture a sense of scale.

The foliage appearing on the slope at the lower right corner was an ad hoc addition. On the final day of the painting, I found that strong wind had knocked down the painting on one side of easel, scraping the painting in the process. So I decided to cover up the scraping mark with the foliage. A good example of how an adversity can be used to improve a picture!

A Sketching Day Out In the Field

After spending so many listless days in the routine, I decided to spend a day doing what I love the most, doing some sketching. After many years, I was venturing out to do some plein air (outdoor) work. What better place to start this other than the scenic Pune University? With its rich greenery, wide variety of trees and bushes, it’s the perfect place for the nature studies I was intending to do.

I first visited an arts shop called ‘Art Katta’ on Fergusoon College road. I came across this shop quite unexpectadly, but it was a pleasant surprize. The owner (Mr Patwardhan) was quite warm and friendly. It was fun talking art with him.

I spent next 4 hours in University campus, visiting various places, sketching, and just getting nostalgic. I have spent the best moments of my formation years in this campus, and I could feel these memories flooding my mind and heart as I visited them.

I drew some landscapes and few tree studies. In terms of quantity, it was not much. But the satisfaction and the sense of peace I felt was enormous. These are the moments by which a life is defined.

Some concept sketches

I am currently tinkering with a nice little app called ‘Corel Painter Sketchpad’ (came free with my Wacom tablet). Doing some rough drafts. No concrete direction here, but just putting something on (e)paper.

Here’s a concept sketch of a jungle foliage.

And here’s one of a space craft docking with a space station near a distant world. The craft looks almost organic, like a combination of mechanical parts and organic stuff. I don’t know what this concept will develop into, but no doubt it will be much interesting.

2 Influential Art Books

Recently I finishes reading 2 books on the subject of painting, and both just blew me away. Even though both of them are somewhat related (both discuss the topic of fantasy / imaginative paintings), and still quite different, both had a way of teaching things most of us do not even consider while painting.

The first book I read was ‘Bold Visions – The Digital Painting Bible’ by Gary Tonge (

Bold Visions
Bold Visions book cover

This book discusses digital painting techniques for painting fantasy and sci-fi, both of my ‘hot button’ topics. Even though the author uses Adobe Photoshop, very few pages are dedicated to the actual PS controls used. The main focus is on painting techniques, what to look for in a given scene, how colors major up against each other, and so on, which is a good thing.

It’s truly amazing to see how Gary brings to life such things as newly forming galaxies, sunrises on a distant fantasy worlds, sorceresses and angels, how the mood of a picture changes drastically when the color scheme changes, and how much of thought process goes on behind every painting.

This book is meant for the painters who want to go up a notch in their understanding of the painting techniques.

The second book I read was James Gurney’s ( ‘Imaginative Realism – How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist‘. The title, as well as the book cover of the strange elf caught my eye, and I decided to buy. It proved to be the right decision.

James Gurney is a traditional medium painter, who has presented mostly oils in this book. The paintings are extraordinary, and the understanding of color and light is amazing (In fact JG has written one more book ‘Color and Light’, which is on my wish list already). The specialty JG brings here is his great sense of almost lifelike painting, which have some very unlikely elements in them. Just have a look at any Dinotopia picture and you will understand what I mean.

All in all, these 2 books have been some of my best investments in myself and my self development, art wise. I will heavily recommend these to anyone who truly want to move ahead in the world of painting.