Spanish Rose

Since my grandmother passed away recently, my folks have been clearing out her old apartment and finding closets full of art supplies – pristine boxes of oil paints, bundles of brushes, and a number of rolls of canvas. There were also two stretched canvases – I decided to tackle one of them while I was visiting family for two weeks in Bombay. The painting ended up being a perfect example of the way I love to develop my compositions.

I really had a desire to fling red paint at the canvas (yeah, red again – go figure). Since that wasn’t an option at my parents’ place, I decided to paint a splatter. It was relatively free-form and loose (just short of actually flinging the paint). While I was developing the splatter a female form started to take shape, which eventually ended up being a dancer. I went with it, and then covered up the parts of the splatter that I didn’t like with some dark blue-black paint, going with curved lines to enhance the form of her movement.

After playing some more, the curved form took shape as a wave – mainly because I started mixing some white paint in with the blue-black, and turned it more blue. I’ve been itching to paint more “flung” liquid since I painted the wine flying through Chamber 51, and that ended up being the most fun part of painting this one too. I really love those liquid textures – I’m sure I’ll be doing that some more.

I was staring at a photo of the painting so far in my phone in a taxi late at night when I realized that the whole thing was starting to resemble a flower. Probably wouldn’t have made that connection without seeing it in miniature. Went at it the next morning and it worked – and now the whole painting suddenly became all about the flower. Love it when that happens.

I was mostly done – or at least I thought I was, and my parents had an artist friend, Delna Dastur, over for tea. We started discussing my painting and she said she thought it wasn’t done yet – the background needed to be something other than white. I agreed, but I was hesitant because it would be hard to lay color down so late in the game – the paint splatter especially would have been hard to negotiate. Plus, I would be leaving in a day. She said “It’s always worth the risk”, and as soon as she left I used a rag dipped in watered-down paint to roughly dab a thin wash of indigo over the white. Took around 5 minutes and it was done – thanks Delna!