Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Art in the Making - Old Art, New Art and Tons of Sketches!

Having my other projects locked away in my older hard drive gave me a chance to start up some new ones and work on the really old ones. Its because I hadn't backed up the middle ones... oh well. Let's start with the really old ones. I am talking about Mai Bhago, Banda Singh Bahadur and Udasis of Guru Nanak. I was quite certain then that I was going to complete them by now but I haven't. I once spoke about how the painting on Hari Singh Nalwa, lacked that extra punch. Well, these ones are in that position currently.
Mai Bhago one just looks mundane really. I recall Kanwar Singh from Art of Punjab making the same comment about his Mai Bhago charge. I thought I could make one that wasn't. I did several versions of Mai Bhago's cavalry charge last summer, as well as, other generic cavalry charge scenes from interesting angles. Let me know what you think of all these, leave a comment below.

With Banda Singh Bahadur, he is approaching oncoming infantry and cavalry, and that puts him into a better position. Still I thought it could use some work.

Last summer, I gave the painting that 300-style, dark and gritty look to see if it could be improved. It certainly looks interesting! But as I worked on the painting this year, I tried several things one of which was to change the perspective so more of the background warfare could be seen. This will allow me to add more depth to the painting. Also, dynamic clouds in war paintings complement the action so I'll be developing those as I work on this next year. If you're wondering why I changed his khanda to a tulwar, its because khandas don't do very well on horseback.

Speaking of war paintings, a frown is rarely seen in Sikh paintings. Even on the battlefield, one finds no frowns. I always found that strange and also this, which is even more strange: dark skin is never seen unless its to represent Mughals or Afghans, both of which are descendants of Mongols who are as pale as the Chinese! Anyhow, I intend to annihilate both norms! I'll post more about them later.

Battle of Chamkaur - Sahibzada Jujhar Singh was a sketch I did back in early 2008. As you can see, the horse is just ghastly. Essentially, what I had in mind was Jujhar Singh overwhelmed by Mughal Cavalry. I couldn't draw horses so I ended up doing Sahibzada Ajit Singh instead, and decided I would come back to this.

With Mai Bhago, Banda Singh Bahadur and now Udasis of Guru Nanak that was three paintings with side view of the main characters. I don't know why my paintings usually ended up like that. However, I ditched the side view with a rough layout of Udasis (again last summer). After laying out the side view, it became much easier to portray from a different angle.

I came up with these last summer as well, portrait shots of Guru Nanak and Mardana. After laying out the compositions, I put them aside to work on a different painting on Guru Nanak, which kind of built up on previous sketches. As I did that I thought to myself, its good that I am painting spiritually uplifting paintings now because that's an even bigger part of our history. However, I did not spend much time on them because I had a lot of other paintings ahead.

I'll end with three paintings I am working on right now. Everything except Banda Singh Bahadur was done last summer or the year before. These projects I began just a while ago. One is about Guru Amardas ji, one about Guru Gobind Singh ji and one about Guru Nanak Dev Ji. I am going to put aside Udasis for a moment, and get this painting of Guru Nanak out first. There were several scenes I went through (above), before I captured the right moment. Expressions are always important to me in a painting so let me know if you have an idea of what expressions they have, leave a comment below. Also, see if you can judge the content of the full painting from the expression alone!

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