Thursday, May 31, 2012

DPW Spotlight Interview: Vinayak Deshmukh

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

To enter to win Vinayak Deshmukh's painting, Repairs Before the Tide Comes In, go to and click on the Spotlight Giveaway button in the top-left corner of the website.

From Vinayak Deshmukh's DPW gallery page:

I am an artist from India. After graduating with a degree in engineering, I longed to return to my brushes. For the last seven years, I have been taking my art seriously. My work has been seen in state and national level juried exhibitions and today my paintings are in collections in India, USA, UK and Dubai.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have been painting since I was a kid. I was fascinated by things such as railway locomotives, coaches, boats, etc. and would draw them endlessly from memory. That was when my parents felt that I had a genuine flair for drawing and encouraged me to pursue it as they thought it was time well spent.

In school, I would participate in various drawing and painting competitions and often win prizes. As I grew up, however, priorities changed and I had to concentrate on my studies and ensure that I got into a good professional course.

SPOTLIGHT GIVEAWAY: Repairs Before the Tide Comes In

(click here to see original image)

Enter to win by clicking the "Artist Spotlight and Giveaway" button!

In college I would often spend time in the Architecture library. This rekindled my interest in art and I started copying images from books there to learn the basic techniques of watercolor painting. After getting a degree in engineering and settling down in my job, I still felt the same inclination towards art. In the last seven years or so, I have been painting seriously and hopefully making progress...

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

Painting for me was only a pastime up until a few years ago. In school it was mostly an activity to be cultivated in the summer vacations.

The longest break I had was for about 5 or 6 years, when I was in high school and then in junior college. After engineering college, I could not paint for a couple of years again, as the priority then was to stop changing jobs and settle down in one I liked. For the past six years or so, I have been painting more or less regularly.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away? Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I have been using pencil and watercolour most of my life. In the last few years I have tried to explore oils and charcoal too. Each of them has unique characteristics that appeal to me. I love the fluidity and transparency of watercolour and also the impasto nature of oils. I haven’t tried many other mediums. I love works done in pastel and hope to add them to my repertoire someday.

As far as genres are concerned, I like all the three major ones in realistic painting – portraiture, landscape and still life. I haven’t done much of animal portraits though and would love to try my hand at that.

As If Nothing Has Ever Happened
(click here to see original image)

There's such a wonderful quality of delicacy and light in your work. Can you describe your process for making sure the whites are "just bright enough" to look right?

Thank you for the compliment. Yes, light and its effects are definitely the most important things I try to capture in my paintings. The light temperature, intensity and contrast are crucial in creating the mood.

I make many value sketches before I start a painting - sometimes as many as 10 or 12. They help me finalise my value scheme and decide upon my lightest lights and darkest darks. By placing suitable values around a certain shape, I can ensure that it appears just as bright or as dark as I want it to. All these things can be worked out much easier in a value sketch. They are even more useful with watercolours because of the limited extent to which watercolours can be corrected.

Adasa Rooftops
(click here to see original image)

What does procrastination look like for you? What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art and actually start painting?

Procrastination is a scary guest and doesn’t go away soon once it comes to stay. So I need to be really vigilant against getting lazy.

I have a day job and am often quite tired in the evening to take up any serious creative work. I therefore paint routinely in the mornings. I ensure that I do at least 3 hours of serious painting every morning before I start for work.

On Sundays and holidays, I start painting even before sunrise so I can paint for as much as 6 hours without compromising on family time. It’s not necessary that I come up with a finished painting every day, but I ensure that I follow this routine at least 4 days a week. Sometimes, depending on my energy levels, I do value sketches and other preparation for a painting in the evening. This way I ensure that I can directly start the final painting the following morning.

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I am always on the lookout for new ideas and subjects to paint. Some of the most beautiful subjects present themselves in the most unexpected of places. I work both en-plein air and indoors.

When working indoors, I use photographs and outdoor sketches for reference. If I do not like a scene as it is, I edit out certain things and add others from my memory and imagination, but ensure that I retain the essential character of the scene.

I often make field sketches hoping to convert them into serious paintings someday. Alongside these sketches, I also take down notes regarding the direction of light, the general atmosphere and anything else that I found unique about the place. This information comes in handy to recreate the mood, especially when there is a long gap between doing the sketch and the final painting.

(click here to see original image)

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

It is very important for me that I understand my subject thoroughly and know exactly why it appeals to me. I then try to communicate the same with my brushes.

I find inspiration in the works of other, more accomplished artists. I feel trying out different mediums and genre once in a while helps to avoid stagnation. I love to travel and take lots of photos for future reference. A change in subject matter gives me new ideas and suggests the need to explore newer techniques of handling paint.

I make sure that I take up all serious painting only when I am fresh, energetic and in a peaceful mental state. I believe that a dull and bored mind will result in dull art. A bit of yoga and meditation before painting is really helpful.

There are occasions when I do not feel very enthusiastic and excited about putting paint on paper. At such times I do other not-so-interesting activities, which reminds me of the pleasures of painting that I am missing. This makes it easier to get back to the easel.

Plate with Fruits
(click here to see original image)
What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

I guess right now I am learning a lot about the use of colour. Mixing the right colours is very effective in communicating a certain mood or feeling. One other thing I am definitely learning is edge control and the wonderful effects one can achieve with a judicious choice of edges.

What makes you happiest about your art?

The fact that I an enjoying every moment of it!

Thanks, Vinayak!

© 2012 Jennifer Newcomb Marine

Jennifer Newcomb Marine is the Marketing and Community Manager of Daily Paintworks. She's an author and blogging and marketing coach.

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