M F Hussain No More

Maqbool Fida Husain,  popularly known as MF, an artist of Indian origin passed away today.  He was called as the Picasso of India and was one of the global faces of the Indian art scene.

May his soul rest in peace.

Who creates your art work?

Image Courtesy Wall Street Journal

I recently read an article on Wall Street Journal, titled, ‘The Art Assembly Line.’  The article discusses the increase in use of art assistants by artists to help satisfy the demand for contemporary art.

Let me put it in the way I understood it! It is simply telling you that the next time you walk into an art gallery, find a new painting by a leading artist on the wall, stop to admire it, buy it by paying a hefty sum, bring it home and hang it on that drawing room wall, the chances that the artist who you thought created the painting and who actually created the painting being two different people is very, very high!

I am not suggesting that leadings artists shouldn’t employ apprentices to create an art work. In fact, I am all in favor of apprenticeship. Apprenticeship provides emerging artists an opportunity to learn from an expert and build a portfolio of art work while providing them with a source of employment. And this is the way even legendary artists like Leonardo da Vinci mastered his skills. I see the relationship between an apprentice and a master as mutually beneficial where everyone involved thrives.

But we are talking about art assistants here. And this is a whole different ball game. This looks like an arrangement where leading artists are taking advantage of the cheap labor in developing countries and exploiting the assistants by not giving them the credit they truly deserve. And to me, this is a despicable behavior that neither an artist nor an art patron should tolerate.

We do want the artists to make hay while the sun shines and take advantage of the art markets’ increase in appetite for contemporary art but where does one draw the line?

I am curious to know your thoughts. So drop a comment.

Until next time…

Featuring Ramesh Jhawar – A highly talented and upcoming water color artist!

Watercolor is one of the most misunderstood painting mediums. Most art lovers and artists do not give this medium the same amount of love and affection as they shower on the oil or acrylic medium. Water color like the other mediums has its strengths and weakness. Truth be told, the water color medium when mastered, can help an artist capture the play of natural light on every day scenes. This medium enables a skillful artist to weave transparent effects into their paintings and empowers the artist to create vibrant and captivating art work.

Scarletcanvas is pleased to feature Ramesh Jhawar, a highly talented watercolor artist from India!

Ramesh Jhawar, Watercolor artist, India

Ramesh, born in India to a traditional and affluent business family defied pressures from his family to follow his heart and passion to become a full time artist. In his own words, “I find a certain joy in painting with watercolors which was missing in other mediums. The luminosity and the vibrancy of the medium is just unmatched.  I have been painting with watercolors for a few  years now and each day it is a new learning experience for me.”

Indian themes, everyday mundane scenes…… these are what Ramesh’s pictures depict. So if you are wondering what might be new here, well….the way Ramesh magically captures the play of light on his subject will leave you enthralled. Wondering what I am talking about? Have a look for yourself……

Vivid Wall, Ramesh Jhawar

Taaza Samachar, Ramesh Jhawar

Marina Chennai - Chennai, Ramesh Jhawar

Calm Pond, Ramesh Jhawar

At The Traffic Light, Ramesh Jhawar

See what I am talking about? Isn’t the shadows, the reflecting lights and the varying colorful hues mesmerizing? Doesn’t it leave you in a state of trance? If you, as an art collector are looking to diversify your collection, I highly recommend you take a look at Ramesh’s work. Ramesh has held several shows and exhibitions and has sold his paintings in numerous countries.

Ramesh’s contact details:

Ramesh Jhawar
Website: www.rameshjhawar.com
Email: rameshjhawarart@gmail.com

Reach out to him, shower him some love, buy his art work and patronize original artists!!!

Until next time…

‘Lady with the lamp’ is not the work of Raja Ravi Varma!

I am back after a couple of week’s hiatus🙂 And I bring to you three phenomenal artists whose work range from watercolor to photography to oil painting that I’ll write about in the coming days.

But first things first. On April 22nd, I posted a blog titled, ‘Do you want to buy reproduction art?’ In that blog, I had brought to the reader’s attention such masterpieces like Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’, Raphael’s ‘Woman with the veil’, Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ and Raja Ravi Varma’s ‘ Lady with the lamp.’

S.L.Handalkar, 'Lady with the lamp', wrongly attributed to Raja Ravi Varma

And I made a mistake. One of the phenomenal artists’ that I’ll be writing about, Ramesh Jhawar, pointed to me that this painting is by S.L.Handalkar and not Raja Ravi Varma as most of us think. So thank you Ramesh for pointing out the error and I apologize to the readers for putting up a blog that failed to recognize the true artist.

Now that the correction has been made, I have another important task – investigate and find out the origins of this wrong attribution of the fantastic painting to Raja Ravi Varma! A few hours of research kind of leads me to a few possible answers:

1. The original is displayed in Jaychama Rajendra Art Gallery at Jaganmohan palace, Mysore, which houses several of Ravi Varma’s original paintings which could have easily led people into believing that this one too is a Ravi Varma masterpiece. And of course the multiple articles that attribute this to Ravi Varma would have just solidified the myth.

2. Many people believe the model to be a lady from the Kerala royal family (Kerala is a state in Southern India and the place Ravi Varma hails from). And when you think Kerala, which other artist comes to mind other than Ravi Varma? But a note to be made here is that the model too is wrongful attribution and is in fact S.L.Haldankar’s daughter!

3. Ravi Varma is most remembered for his paintings of beautiful sari-clad (an Indian garment popular in Southern India) women. And this painting fits the bill perfectly!!!!!

But at least now I know the truth and am wiser today than yesterday🙂 And reading this blog, you know this too. So spread the word about S.L.Haldankar and his ‘Lady with the lamp’ so we don’t deny an artist credit that his rightfully his!

BTW, the medium used in the painting is watercolor and the surface on which it is painted is handmade paper. And talking about watercolors, watch out for my blog on Ramesh Jhawar and his spectacular watercolor paintings.

Until next time…

Found!! Original artist par excellence – Aleks Kargopoltsev

A scarletcanvas exclusive! Fresh off the easel of Aleks Kargopoltsev!!!

Fresh off Alek's easel

I just simply have to write about Aleks Kargopoltsev. Ever since I stopped at his studio during my LaConner, Skagit Valley, WA trip a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t stopped talking about the extraordinary paintings I saw or thinking about these exceptional paintings…..

Woman with Violin, Aleks Kargopoltsev

The woman with violin was a sort of deja-vu moment for me. In one of my earlier blogs I wrote that as an art buyer, we need to look for the personal connection with the artwork and with this painting, it just happened to me! It was like finding a soulmate!

But let us talk about the artist who created this magic. Aleks moved to the US in 1993 from Russia. By the age of 4, Aleks was drawing and by age 13 passed the rigorous tests that allowed him to enter an art school in his home town of Kostroma, about 200 miles northeast of Moscow. He paints landscapes and seascapes in plein air, portraits, cubist, abstract, contemporary – it is almost like, name it and you’ll find it at Aleks’ studio!

Aleks at work in his studio

Aleks' studio @ LaConner

Here is a sneak peek into some of Alek’s versatile creations – from his cubist recreation of the Last Supper to shades of the nature that he so loves….

Last Supper, Aleks Kargopoltsev

Portrait of Sveta, Aleks Kargopoltsev

Landscape, Japanese Gulch, Aleks Kargopoltsev

Seascape, Crashing Waves, Aleks Kargopoltsev

You can find more of Alek’s paintings here at his website: http://www.aleksandrkargopoltsev.com

Since settling in Arlington, Washington, Aleks has taught at the Andersen Center in Edmonds, Mukilteo, Tri-Dee in Mt. Vernon, The Gene Nastri Community School of the Arts, and Alek’s Studio and Art Gallery in La Conner. If you want to get in touch with Aleks or visit his studio or take classes from him, here are the details:

Alek’s contact details:

Aleksandr Kargopoltsev
Studio Location: 106 S.First Street, Suite B, LaConner, WA 98257
Mailing Address: PO Box 3383, Arlington, WA 98223
Phone: (425)-268-9697
Email: aleksartstudio@yahoo.com

I’ll leave you now to soak into the mesmerizing beauty of Alek’s paintings…

Until next time….

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon – Most influential work of art?

A 2007 newsweek article, ‘Which Is the Most Influential Work of Art Of the Last 100 Years?‘ describes Picasso’s, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon as the most influential work in the past century.

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Paris, June-July 1907

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, one of Picasso’s most famous works, was painted in France and completed in the summer of 1907. The theme of the painting is very simple – five prostitutes in a brothel. But to make this starting composition, Picasso created over one hundred sketches and drew inspiration from diverse sources like Iberian sculpture, African tribal masks, El Greco’s Opening of the Fifth Seal and Cezanne’s Les Grandes Baigneuses.

Still, so many art critiques of the time considered this painting ugly and nasty.  So what makes this painting so eye-catching? so influential that it revolutionized the art world? Well…..it started a new art movement called Cubism. Even to an art novice, cubist paintings are easily recognizable due to the geometric angles, lines and shapes included in them.

Personally, whenever I look at one of these creations, I think of Lego blocks. It is almost like the artist demystified a real-life object into these little blocks by looking at them from different vantage points and then he arranged and rearranged them just like you would with the Lego blocks until you ended up getting that perfect piece of art – abstract yet letting you see things differently, like never before!

Since Picasso (along with Georges Braque) introduced cubism, over the next several years, he took this art movement to a whole new level, breaking up his objects and figures into little cubes and re-assembling them in every possible way. Here’s a few more of Picasso’s exemplary cubist paintings….

My inspiration to publish this blog on Cubism is a Russian artist I met in Skagit Valley, WA. A remarkable artist, I’ll write about him and his paintings in my next blog.

Until next time….

A day with the artists @ Skagit Valley, WA

I set out yesterday on a trip to see the tulips @ Skagit Valley, WA. Yesterday was the last day of the tulip festival and I simply had to catch the fields of wonderful blooms. Setting out early ensured that I successfully avoided the traffic and before noon, I simply had taken photographs of every single tulip in every possible angle and walked around every inch of the field. Hunger pangs led me to the quaint little town of LaConner by the sea. Filled with local artists and original art, I soon forgot why I was even in this town and walked into LaConner Seaside Gallery, this time attracted by another field of tulips, only it was a painting!

LaConner Seaside Gallery

Inside, I met plein-air artist, Mark Bistranin. For those of you wondering if it was a typo in plein-air, it is actually a French expression which means, ‘in the open air’ and is used to describe the act of painting outdoors. But enough art lessons and back to Mark.

Mark Bistranin with his painting

Mark’s paintings, in his own words, “capture and express a sense of place and time.” His paintings, inspired by the Pacific North West, walks viewers through familiar scenes and places they would love to visit time and time again. Mark’s paintings successfully captures the light and reflections that abound in these areas and is a treat to the eyes. If the picture of Mark above with one of his paintings didn’t give you an idea of the contrasts of light and dark that I am talking about, here is more from his collections…..

You can see more of Mark’s painting’s here: www.laconnerseasidegallery.com/laconnerseasidegallery.com/Seaside_Gallery_Artists/Pages/Mark_Bistranin.html

If plein-air, NorthWest inspired paintings are your style, why don’t you walk into LaConner Seaside Gallery @ Skagit Valley or reach out to Mark Bistranin directly?

Mark’s contact details:

Mark Bistranin
17902 Mt. Ridge Drive
Mount Vernon, WA 98274
Phone: (360)-428-0352 (Home), (360)-421-1332 (Cell)
Email: markbistranin@yahoo.com

Watch out for more artist features from Skagit Valley, WA in the coming days!

Until next time……

Snohomish county artists get a new home – Schack Art Center opens!


Everett is no longer just the home of Boeing aircrafts. This weekend (Apr 30 and May 1, 2011), with the grand opening of Schack Art Center, downtown Everett is the new destination spot if you have a penchant for local art exhibits.

The opening weekend featured the Nature of Glass exhibits, curated by Traver Gallery (www.travergallery.com). International glass artists featured their work but to me, the best part was the glass blowing demonstrations by local artists. Nothing enthrals me more than watching an artist use their ingenuity to transform their imagination into a tangible piece of art that then, to the viewer, opens the door to the artist’s mind! And that glimpse into how the art evolved just makes me connect better with the artist and the art.

A sneak preview into the exhibits that are on display until June 9th…..

Mosquito Basket by Preston Singletary

Mosquito Basket by Preston Singletary, Image courtesy Traver Gallery


From East to West: Scene of Japan #39, Hiroshi Yamano

From East to West: Scene of Japan #39, Hiroshi Yamano, Image courtesy Traver Gallery

If reading about the Schack has inspired you to make that trip to downtown Everett right away, remember that Schack is closed tomorrow (May 2nd) but will open to the public starting May 3rd. Visit www.schack.org to learn more about their classes and upcoming events or just drop by – guaranteed you won’t be disappointed!

Until next time….

Do you want to buy reproduction art?

Imagine this! Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ adorning your drawing-room walls, radiating warmth and sunshine; the yellows lightening up the walls, never-failing to add an element of cheer to the place!

Vincent van Gogh's, 'Sunflowers'

Or how would you like to add that instant touch of elegance to your drawing-room walls with Ravi Verma’s, ‘Lady with the lamp’ – the beautiful lady’s face lightened up by the lamp, adding to the regalia of the moment! Oh! What a beauty!

Raja Ravi Verma's, 'Lady with the lamp'

And how would you like to see Raphael’s, ‘Woman with the veil’ add the element of ethereal peace and calm to your place!

Raphael's, 'Woman with the veil'

And if the classic beautys aren’t your style, add Edvard Munch’s, ‘The Scream’ to your walls to complement your modern decor!

Edvard Munch's, 'The Scream'

A few days ago, I wrote about why buying art isn’t easy and why it needs courage and conviction. However, an easy solution to this conundrum is buying reproduction art. Painstakingly created by talented artists, reproductions of masterpieces by some of the most famous painters of all times, reproduction art, is the easiest way to start your art collection without worrying about going wrong. Reproduction art does come with its own merits – they are easy to find, relatively cheaper than original art and you will without doubt find the perfect art that captures your soul!

However, much as I adore these famous creations, I am a stickler to original art. When every single action of mine, every single day of my life, distinguishes me from the crowd and gives me my own unique identity, why should the art on my living room wall scream reproductionnnnnnnnnn? I want the art on my wall to stand out from the crowd, have its own unique identity and be exclusive. People pausing to stop in their tracks to admire a reproduction of ‘Mona Lisa’ is not the same as when they stop to admire with inquisitive eyes, an original art. Am not criticizing reproduction art or saying they shouldn’t be bought, but if you are like me and want to create your own space, then patronize the local artists and start your original art collection today!

Until next time….

Look! The murals are talking to you!

Photo by Mariela D

Walking through the city
I stumble upon an alley
With colorful murals and graffiti
O!!! I have arrived at Balmy!!!!!!

Located in the Mission district neighborhood, the murals apparently date back to the 1970s as artists’ expressed their outrage over human rights and political abuses in Latin America. Today, apart from the history lessons, there are juvenile and playful cartoonish murals too that balance the intensity of the immigrant-themed murals.

A peek into the treasure trove at Balmy Alley!!

A huge thank you to Mariela, Carlos, Jessica, Lina, Tony and Margie for these lovely pictures.

I’ve lived in the Bay Area for a few years but didn’t know of this place until recently a friend pointed me this way. Next time you visit the Bay Area, don’t forget to take a stroll down Balmy Alley, enjoy the colorful murals and patronize local art!

Until next time…..

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