Houses – Solo Show at Galatea Fine Arts

I have a solo show this month at Galatea Fine Art in Boston, from June 5 to June 30. The opening reception is scheduled for Friday June 7, 6-8 pm.

Now active on Instagram

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I tried out instagram last July.  It has a wonderful artist community and I have been enjoying the vast amount of visual information it provides.  I have been active in that platform since then.  Most of the progress work are now listed there.  Check it out.

https://www.instagram.com/niva_artwork/

 

Repainting the Green House with the Pier

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I started to paint the green house and the pier on a foggy day. The interweaving of light and dark under the pier, reflection, different lines and shapes, and muted colors motivated me to paint this view.  However, the view did not translate well into the painting.

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Repeated small shapes and muted colors made the painting dull. The light cerulean blue top was an attempt to introduce cooler tone to otherwise gray and warm surroundings.  It somewhat helped the painting but that was not enough.  After painting into the evening, most of the issues were still not resolved.

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I revisited the painting a day later with a fresher look. Inspired by the sun, I decided to warm the gray to match the surrounding. The busy pier was simplified. The right-hand side house was changed to a darker color.  The deck was removed to get rid of the problematic diagonal. Fish totes were redrawn as larger shapes. The foreground was updated with more details and a few lines to make it interesting.

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The painting is getting better than a few days ago but I thought it still needed a strong line somewhere. I found a solution from a Stuart Davis’s work “The Blue Cafe“.  It has a few lines and a musical note on the sky. It was a floating shape but without it, the sky would have been void. I took the inspiration from this musical note and created 2 short dark horizontal wires with different heights below the top wire.  I was happy with this ending.

Lobster Co-op and Oil Tanks

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It was a foggy morning; the fog keeps on lifting for a short period only to return again.  I sat on the rocks close to the Ferry building looking across the water towards a red building and a few oil tanks. I have painted this view in 2009.  However, it looks different with the newly finished red building.

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With the fog rolling in and out and silver gray oil tanks against the gray sky, this was not visually interesting. I decided to change the oil tanks to a dark green color.  This changed the tank shape to be a large dense block, therefore a horizontal line opening was needed to keep the space breathing.  A cooler toned staircase was also added to divide the large tank shape.

Painting my Hometown

It has been my dream to paint my hometown, again.

I am a long way from Kathmandu, my hometown and my visits are usually short and far apart to have much time for painting.  Although I have always enjoyed painting on site, I finally decided to try a different route since I was staying at home for a week to recuperate.

I have collected many pictures from my hometown during my visits.  When I visited home after the earthquake in 2015, it was an emotional one.  I brought many pictures of the places I used to visit growing up, most of the temples were either destructed or being repaired.

It was hard to choose a picture to paint.  My usual subject temples in Durbar Square are either gone or being repaired.   I decided to choose a set of nontraditional buildings nearby.  Instead of starting the painting in a clean state, I decided to reuse the painting from Northampton which was not working.

 

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Here is the first transformation.  The building colors were true to the picture, buildings were colorful and have many modernize windows.  I struggle to paint from the picture, but I was very happy to get this started.

Revisiting the painting in a few days,  I decided to update unrelated colors to a more muted colors and merged the two buildings into one.  I looked through other pictures and found inspiration from a traditional window in Kathmandu called “Sanjhya“, a carved large wooden windows usually, contains 3 or 4 openings. I also introduced right-hand side building to have “falcha” – an open space on the first floor popular in a traditional Newari culture.

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As I revisited the painting for the fourth time, I started to think about what used to inspired me to paint when I was growing up in Kathmandu; temples and alleys.  I introduced a narrow alley between those buildings based on a few pictures.  The buildings and the rooftop of different shape and sizes creates unique lines and shapes creates an interesting space.

 

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This place is starting to look familiar to me, I could relate to it.

I can imagine being there, it is my hometown.

I am very happy with this progress although it took me many revisions and looking through multiple sources.  I am looking forward to adding some final touch to complete this picture.

Winter Shadows

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I revisited this painting yesterday which I started this summer. The composition was inspired by Morandi’s work.  I thought of these buildings similar to his still life on a table.   The structure of these buildings was simplified; many windows, doors, wires, and staircase were eliminated. However, a few shapes remained that I thought were interesting.

The shadow of the spiral staircase in the summer and in the winter are slightly different. The shadows during the winter seemed more elongated than the shadows during the summer.   I decided to borrow interesting shapes of the shadow and added it to the yellow building. The staircase was purposefully excluded because it will no longer add any visual impact.  I added some light on the darker foreground which was inspired by a streak of lights in the parking lot.  I started to see some unresolved areas that need to be addressed  during my next visit.

House on a little island

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I was thrilled to be in Maine last week for painting.   Even though I am familiar with many painting spots, I always find the first day tough to decide where to paint.

There is a small house on a near by little island which I have taken pictures many times before.  The house is really a small shed and the proportion of the roof to its height makes it an interesting subject for painting.  However, it is hard to paint as it is a bit far away from most of the public places.  I was excited to find out that the house can be seen up close from one of my friend’s place.  I decided to paint it the very first day.

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I composed the building in the center to make it an iconic painting.  Since I have been enjoying framing the subject, I added a lot of space all around the building to keep the space open.  For color inspiration, I have recently started to look at Morandi’s still life.  His colors are muted but at times he would introduce a strong color which is unexpected, and it would eventually give more life to the painting.  Although I have been thinking about how Morandi may have been inspired to pick an unexpected color in his muted surrounding, I kept my color palette true to nature.  At the end, the surrounding atmosphere became creamy grey; inspired by Morandi.
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Iconic theme continued into the second day.  I visited the Ferry building which I have painted a few times before.  I planned the drawing to juxtapose the architecture of the building and the rocks on shore.  I borrowed the rocks from the near vicinity which were worn down and unbalanced, and placed them right below the stairs of the building.  I spent some time drawing the rocks using ivory black  and loved the loose effect from this.  I decide to leave it with the addition of a few minimal renderings.

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Although I only had three days to paint, I decided to take another opportunity to paint the same house again.  This time, it was composed from a different perspective and I painted it at a different time of the day.  I had been thinking about Stuart Davis since my last visit to his retrospective show “In Full Swing” at the Whitney Museum.  My drawing continued to have invented space and frame, inspired by Stuart Davis.  After a few hours of painting, it showed muted colors, it was dark but not exciting.  I revisited Morandi’s work and changed the surrounding green color to a bright cobalt blue.  It made the painting more exciting because of this unexpected color which was an inspiration from Morandi’s work.

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However, in retrospect this painting might still needs some work.  I am planning to revisit this again once the paint dries.