Thursday, July 14, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Arti Chauhan

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Arti's painting, "Grey and White Finches" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Arti's DPW Gallery:

I am a self taught artist from India, now living in the United Kingdom. I love to paint all things living - be it people, animals or birds. Watercolor is my favorite medium but I love to experiment with my work. Previously having worked as an animator for two decades, now I am enjoying my life as a full time artist. Painting has given a meaning to my life, I can not imagine a day without painting. I hope you find joy in my art, too. (click to view gallery)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have been an artist for as long as I remember. My first memory is being a student in the third grade, drawing faces and figures on the back of my notebook. With years, I came to understand the concept of portraits, and with some encouragement from my mom, I kept drawing more and more; mostly copying from magazines and newspapers. Painting came much later, when I was in high school. I remember not being at ease with watercolours initially. Oils suited my temperament better as I liked to paint in detail – for many years I only used Oil and Pencil.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

Art has had a constant presence in my life - whether as a hobby or my job as a computer animator and illustrator. But my career as a professional artist took off only about five years ago when I moved to the United Kingdom from India. I met the head of our local art centre on my second day in the UK, showed him my work and asked for his opinion. He was kind enough to offer me a place to exhibit my works. Encouraged by my first exhibition in 2011, I decided to devote all my time to art and I haven’t looked back since. At times it is tough to depend on art as a career, but I have been fortunate to have my animal and wildlife paintings find buyers all over the globe.

Grey and White Finches
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Arti's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

Graphite pencils, pastel, oils, acrylics, watercolours - I have experimented with almost every medium. Initially, I used to do only figurative works and portraits which were detail oriented and realistic. In recent years, I have experimented more with impressionism, painting ‘loose’ and being less focused on realism. It works well for my animal paintings. It started with my first elephant artwork, which I quite enjoyed painting. It was greatly appreciated and I believe it was the first painting that I sold online. It paved the way for many, many more and while I still love painting animals, detail oriented work such portraits are still not completely out of the picture.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

Watercolour is the medium that has got me hooked completely. I love the spontaneity, transparency and vibrancy of this medium. I am not working in pencils so much as I did earlier in my career. I think it has to do with the fact that I am no longer interested in creating hyper-realistic art. I would rather create a painting that evokes some emotion rather than a carbon copy of life.

A Happy Day Donkey
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I would like to explore acrylics and oils once again very soon, using different techniques. I would also like to paint landscapes and cityscapes someday, perhaps indulge in plain air painting.

Who or what inspires you most?

I find my inspiration in nature and its creations. “Life” is the theme of my paintings, be it human face, figures or animals. Anything that lives, breathes and moves can become my subject. Even when I am painting abstracts, the theme revolves around nature - the sky, clouds, water, etc. When I feel uninspired, I browse through the works of other contemporary artists, who are working in the same media and genre as I am. Seeing work that is brilliant often inspires me to create brilliant artwork of my own.

Watchful the Emu
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

I rarely fall victim to procrastination - mornings are a time I keep aside exclusively for painting and I follow this routine religiously. Still, sometimes I feel burnt out from a lack of change. I tackle this by taking a day off from painting, catch up on some reading and other chores and come back when I am refreshed.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I make it a point to paint for a few hours every day. I plan my day so that all the household tasks are taken care of before ten in the morning and I am free to spend next few hours with my paints. I would take a break now and then, do a bit of housework in between and that breaks the monotony of the day. Taking a walk mid-day often rejuvenates me as I work alone most of the time. I keep my late evenings to manage my website, blog and social media.

Umber Stripes Zebra
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I work mostly from photographs or memory. A visit to India often produces some great reference photographs for my portraits. For my animal paintings, I visit local National parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries frequently. These pictures are then my inspiration once I am back in my studio. I have a huge database of reference pictures and I would go through it all, waiting for the moment when something jumps out at me!

Sometimes people write to me and make suggestions about what they would like me to paint and that points me to new direction. Funnily enough, at times I do find some obscure ideas floating around in my head when I am half awake – usually between 5 and 6 in the morning; about what I am going to do that day. I cling on to them until it’s time to actually sit down and paint and it has actually led to a few beautiful paintings.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

Watercolour is a medium that is fresh and spontaneous. My watercolour paintings tend to be quick so it does not get tedious. Still, I like to change track every now and then. Painting an acrylic or dabbling in pastels is just the way to see things in new perspective. Each Arti Chauhan medium behaves differently so you have to snap out of your comfort zone and take a different approach with each of them.

Purple Mist
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

As a self-taught artist, I have to keep learning constantly. I like to experiment with new techniques and mediums all the time. At the moment I am reading up on oils, hoping to produce a new body of work soon.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I wouldn’t be painting if it did not give me happiness. The process of creating art is what makes me happy. I am even happier when I share my work with the world and people get in touch to say how much they like my art. To be able to sell my work is just the cherry on top!

Thanks, Arti!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

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