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  • Writer's pictureVidya Shyamsundar

Working in Series - My Studies & Explorations

These days, I look forward to spending time in my studio, and I am experiencing a weird feeling of fullness. I can sense clarity in visually interpreting my emotions through my work and narratives, which is incredibly rewarding. I know that this feeling of joy was the result of giving myself plenty of time to play, explore, and study in the past few months. I loosened up, held my intentions lightly, and followed my threads of curiosity.

Study I

After completing this exercise, I realized that I still enjoy creating imaginary landscapes. Growing up, my family had barely any discretionary income for vacations. The only trip we used to take was once a year to visit my maternal grandma during the summer holidays. Sometimes, we went on day trips. I remember how excited I was when my uncle took us to the theater to watch the Jungle Book movie! The only long vacation that I recall while growing up was a week-long pilgrimage trip that I went on with my parents and my siblings. I would have been seven or eight years then. I have fleeting memories of our brief stay in a hotel and eating breakfast at the hotel restaurant. On other days we stayed at our parents' friends' houses, and I recall making new friends. Since leisure vacations were out of the picture, I used to dream and imagine going to places. Perhaps, that still fascinates me. Those circles represent finding my wholeness in those landscapes.

Study 2

In this exercise, I forced myself to create a series with a limited palette. I liked using black and white paint, white gesso, collage paper, and stenciling. I pictured my mandalas in those circles, but I was still unclear on how they would make sense.

I worked on doing a lot more studies, which eventually led me to explore a feeling that I experienced when I painted mandalas - honoring the relationship I had with my lost loved souls.


Lost Loved Souls - An Introspection

I did this study on two separate sets of 4"x4" sketchbook paper by exploring various materials, and put them together afterwards. I have resisted attempting to draw a figure because I thought it was a learned professional skill, and I could not do it unless I took portrait lessons. But, I developed an inner urge to see myself in these studies. I took the risk of sketching figures in my unique style by looking at images from shutter stock. I instantly felt the power of narrating my stories and began to feel the connection between my life and my art. It was a light bulb moment!

Working on Color Study

I have always been a paint grabber rather than a mixer. I never premixed my colors on my palette. I mixed my colors wet-on-wet on canvas or on my palette while I painted. Lately, I have developed a likeness towards studying colors, and it’s been a laborious task, but I know that it will be well worth my time. My end goal is to identify my balanced palette. Learn how to work with a limited palette with just a couple of each primary color, black and white. I don't think I will ever go back and paint straight from a tube anymore.

My First Painting!

A Collection of Nine Paintings, 6”H x 12” W x 1.5” D

Mixed Media on Cradled Board

Lost Loved Souls - An Introspection

Embracing the Change

Sometimes, life throws a curveball at us, and we do not have a choice but embrace the change.

Growing up, I had never seen my dad fall sick, except once when he was down with the flu. I was seven or eight years old then. I could picture the scene of me sitting beside him, feeling his rugged old blanket, and vaguely recalling our conversation about nitrogen and oxygen. He was a pharmaceutical sales rep who had a passion for science. Our life changed upside down when I was thirteen. My father suddenly became sick, and passed away at a young age from a cerebral hemorrhage. He was a responsible son, an exemplary sibling, a loving father, and a caring husband. My mother was a homemaker and had to switch gears instantly to support her three small children. She taught sewing for women in the neighborhood and earned extra money by sewing clothes on weekends. She was a strong and determined woman who pushed through her struggles and raised her children with faith and integrity.

A mandala signifies the ebb and flow of happiness and suffering in our lives. A message continues to resonate. Nothing is permanent. We learn to move on with our lives, chasing our dreams and holding on to the power of faith.

Thank you for your time!

Peace & Namaste!



Next Blog: My Sketchbook Journey

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