Monday, July 13, 2015

Paints Galore

At least once every couple of weeks or so I get an email or facebook message from someone asking what kinds of paint I use for the paintings I create. I just counted the number of different paints I have in my studio - I have at least 20 brands of paint I use on a regular basis and another 5 or so that I have around. That is a lot of paint! Sometimes I have 1 or 2 colors in a specific brand and in others I might have their entire range. I also have about  8 - 10 different mediums I can use to thicken or thin my paints & add various types of textures to my works. What one has to realize when they start painting and want to ask other artists what they use is, not everyone they come across is a hobby artist. I am also a business woman and I keep investing in my business. 


Since my paintings are created for sale, I make sure I use the best & high quality paint for the job. The paints I use do not fade or yellow or change color over time. They are also ones I love working with. The paints on the palette above are my recent discovery and I am in love with them! I use at least one of these colors in all the works I have been doing recently. I am constantly experimenting with my technique & working on improving my art. That means investing time & money to get quality products and learning to use them properly. To answer the question of what brand of paint I would recommend - my only advice would be to experiment for yourself to see which paints you like & which ones are best for what you want to do. Spend time talking to people working in your art supply store and they will provide recommendations on the kind of work you want to create. Be patient and take time playing with the paints till you are comfortable with their characteristics. I have been painting for a little more than 3 years now and I am always learning & discovering something new with my paints all the time!

Friday, June 12, 2015

FAQ - How long

One of the most frequently asked questions to me at Art Fairs is How long it takes me to do a particular piece / any of my paintings. It is also one of the most difficult questions to answer. Just to illustrate, this week from Monday through yesterday, here is everything I have been working on in the studio -

1, 2. Peacock on 24" x 36" canvas - started with prepping the canvas to quite a bit of progress! Thats from working almost 10 hour days
3. Dragonfly canvas made it back to my table to start the textured lines
4. A new flying owl piece on 24" x 30" canvas - prepped the background, drew the outline & added the eyes
5, 6. A new version of the Chicago flag - prepped 3 backgrounds in silver with interference green / red/ violet mixed in and started painting one.
7. Added one more circular layer on the red 24" x 36" diptych mandala
8, 12. Two new 20" x 24" Tree of Life paintings - did the background work last week and started with the trunks and shoots this week
9. Another peacock on 20" x 24" canvas - started from prepping the background on Monday
10. A set of 4 18" x 18" canvas prepped for mandala paintings
11. One more 24" x 36 background prep for another peacock!

When I am working on so many projects in parallel, it is really hard to think of time spent on just one piece. In fact a few years back I did estimate the time I spent on a 16" x 20" piece - turned out to be 38 hours from opening the canvas to the signing off on the piece. Well, when I also calculated what I actually made per hour on piece after selling it for $200 minus the cost of supplies, it got too depressing to think further about time spent on painting single pieces. 

So, please don't roll your eyes at me when I tell you I don't keep track of time spent on a painting, because I really don't and I can't think of a way when I can either. I hardly ever have just one project going on in the studio and given how easily I get distracted - from moving from one work to another, or starting something else when waiting for another to dry, estimating time is the last thing on my mind!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Floral Mandalas

A new series I have started recently are a different style of mandala paintings on canvas. My usual paintings all have concentric circles, but this series is more of a floral style, with next layers of the circle forming out of the previous layers. The canvas are also 16" x 20"  - not a square and with only the floral mandala and my signature, curved in a corner. These canvas can be hung in either orientation! The first two below - Blossom & Elegance, 2015 have already found wonderful collectors their second week on show. I painted the other two - Patience & Growth in the last two weeks and really liking how the series is turning out. 

These paintings are all done with 3-4 colors in the background and 1-2 colors in the textured layers. The textured dots & lines are done in dark & light shades of either gold or silver with one other accent iridescent color. By varying the shade and the thickness of the lines, the mandalas are more dramatic. If you are in the Chicago area, please come see these and my other paintings in person at one of my shows this summer.

 Blossom & Elegance, 2015. 16" x 20"
Textured henna style acrylic floral mandala painting on canvas with mirrors. 
© Bala Thiagarajan, 2015

 Patience, 2015. 16" x 20" 
Textured henna style acrylic floral mandala painting on canvas with mirrors. 
© Bala Thiagarajan, 2015

 Growth, 2015. 16" x 20" 
Textured henna style acrylic floral mandala painting on canvas with mirrors. 
© Bala Thiagarajan, 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Show Review: Spring Showcase of Arts & Crafts

My first formal show of the year was NSSEO foundation's Annual Spring Showcase of Arts and Crafts in Palatine, IL. The show is being put on by a non-profit aiding developmentally challenged kids and I was glad to be at the show starting this year's line up in March. 

Spring Showcase of Arts & Crafts, Booth #73
The show is in its 45th year and it seems to be losing its audience. It was very slow for both the days, in the afternoons especially. My booth was located on the stage in the gym and the four steps up to the stage was a big barrier. Most people did not want to climb up and hence all the stuff I had on the table, print bins and note card rack was mostly ignored. The advantage was that the paintings were visible from all over the room. I did manage to see a few trivets, a set of coasters and some cards. Definitely made up the booth fee over two days and may be recovered my cost of supplies. But there was no profit in the end. I was not ready with price tags to put by the paintings and hardly anyone even asked for the prices. There was one lady who loved my Chicago skyline painting and that was about it. The best part was one of my previous collectors stopped by with a friend and as always, its lovely to see my collectors and hearing how much they enjoy having one of my paintings at their home!

I am thankful to the organizers for trying to make the best of this event. There was a separate parking for the artists and shuttle buses to transport us. Free coffee was available throughout the day for artists and kids was bringing around food for sale. The organizers did listen to our concerns and are not going to put any one up on the stage next year. I know a few jewelers did pretty good in the show and some other crafters, but the photographer next to me did not and another painter also did not (though I have no clue on what is good - for them). It's questionable if I will come back next year!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Painting on a Whim

I painted this Mandala last Thursday night as I was waiting for one of my other paintings to dry. I got a little restless just waiting and pulled out this canvas that was already prepped with the brown earthy background. This is one of my favorite color combinations to paint - brown, gold, white, silver & turquoise. Sometimes creativity flows - fast :)

Earth Mandala, 2014. 12" x 12", 
Textured henna style acrylics mandala painting on canvas with mirror. 
© Bala Thiagarajan, 2014.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Earrings for Sale

I just posted this album with about 30+ earrings I made yesterday. These are made for consignment at a local salon, but wanted to give my friends and fans the first go at them. They are $12 + shipping (will be sold for $16.50 at the salon). Send me a message if any of these interest you!

The pictures were taken late night with my iphone and hence the poor quality. The earrings are  mad with high quality beads, crystals & spacers with hypoallergenic materials. They are actually pretty bright & gorgeous in person :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Feeling Accomplished

Golden Tree, 2014 was the 200th painting I have sent to a new home (including everything sold / donated / gifted) since February, 2012. The painting sold at the Holiday Sampler Fair in Elk Grove Village on Sunday. A big thank you to all my friends and fans for being a part of this incredible journey! 

Golden Tree, 2014. 12" x 16", Henna style textured acrylics abstract painting on canvas. 
(c) Bala Thiagarajan, 2014.