Friday, February 26, 2021

Landscape: Intuitive Finger Painting

Experiments can be so frustrating at times. But, anyway, hold on to it. They teach you a lot. Mostly, what 'not-to-do' (and it's important to know that).

And that's why I am experimenting these. The above painting is an intuitive finger painting (I did use a brush to create small branches though). I took a blank canvas and started smearing colours on it, using my palm and fingers. I had no idea what I was doing. What I was going to paint. I let it rest for a day and restarted working on it. It took me three days to finally figure out a scene.

Have you ever tried it?

Talking about experiments, I tried my first still life painting. It looks childish and I realized it's not my genre. 

What do you think? Any tips?

Currently, I'm working on a beach scene. Trying to follow a cool, beautiful reference photo. I personally struggle to follow a reference photo. I feel it starts to control my creativity. What do you think? Restrictions restrict or boost creativity? Share your thoughts?

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Sunday, February 7, 2021

Acrylic Painting: Black Canvas and Colour Mixing


Available for sale

I painted this forest scene for my own colour based art challenge on Instagram. Just to experiment and keep myself motivated. The prompt is : Turquoise Forest. Four more prompts to go. Join if you find it interesting.

Here are the details. I'm going with the hashtag #paintwithtarang

Also I have painted it on a black canvas, which I find very fascinating. The colours look more vibrant on black canvas. Do you paint on black canvas?

And I'm experimenting with colour mixing and find it very interesting. Like I haven't used green in this painting. I mixed pthalo blue and cad yellow (Pthalo blue is my favourite!). I have created my own turquoise. 

And learnt that you get green when you mix black and yellow (almost sap green if it's lemon yellow). And we don't get a good shade of purple by mixing red and blue; we get beautiful shades of purple by mixing neon pink (or dark pink/magenta with blue. And mixing Prussian blue (another favourite) with Yellow Ochre gives you a very interesting shade of Turquoise.

Did you know that? Share your colour mixing ideas?

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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Book Review: Shall We Tango, Charlie? by Chetna Lumb Bedi

(I painted the bookmarks)

There was a television serial called Aarohan and it was my favourite! When I read the blurb of this book, I was so intrigued and excited that I decided to read it, as it tells about a woman's journey, her struggles in the Indian Air Force.

There's something very cool and touching about the Armed Forces. And soldiers are something else. 

And it actually reminded me of Aarohan. (Plus the cover indicated that it was a love story, and my mind instantly ran back to Pallavi Joshi and Tarun Dhanrajgir). 

The book starts well. I like how Ahana and Dana met and then became friends. Aunt Shashi's part was really good. Ahana and Aunt Shashi's bonding is endearing. 

But to be very honest, I am a bit disappointed. There are several reasons. First: it's unnecessarily lengthy and repetitive, at times.

Second: While I liked Dana's character, Ahana's character was a bit annoying. It felt like she was praising herself too much, trying to be extra cool. 'Why is my strength always a topic of discussion in India? Someone should encourage gals to kick a little ass around here.'

'So THIS is combat training? I find you dancing to Bidi Lagaile?' Commander Matthews said.

'It's jalaile, not lagaile, Commander,' I said, interrupting him.

I don't know, but I found it really odd. And there are several such instances.

Confidence is great. Straightforwardness is fine, but there's a sense of superiority in the protagonist, which I didn't like much. 

Maybe because it's been told in the first person. It might have felt okay if the author has chosen the third person perspective. The voice would have been different.

Talking about writing: The writing is good, sometimes really good that creates nice imagery and all that, however I felt there was too much telling than showing (and I'm not a fan of this kind of writing). 

And one thing that really disturbed my reading was the font. It's too small (and it's a 394 page book), even for a normal eyesight. Plus, frequent use of italics wasn't really helpful. 

Overall, it's a good book, content wise. But not as exciting as I expected it to be.

I received this book from Writersmelon for an honest review. And this is my personal opinion.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Peiskos: A Short Story

(A fireplace study. My first attempt. I always wanted to paint a fireplace. Not very happy with this but I painted it for this story. Acrylics on canvas)

It's a little cottage style house, situated in a sleepy town. There are two large abstract paintings hanging on lemon yellow walls.

I arrived to live in this quaint town some five months ago. The beautiful, hilly vista took my breath away. I couldn't believe I would be actually living here.

My life in the city had turned out to be a nightmare because of that stupid stalker. Not just stupid, obsessive and kind of dangerous. I changed my number thrice because of his intimidating messages. Like the person was tracking my activities. And then, one day, I received a disconcerting letter with strange red fingerprints, which the stalker delivered himself. I was too unnerved to contact the police but Shreya, one of my colleagues insisted, so I did. I changed my number again. After two days, I received a message. 'You shouldn't have done that.' 

It was time to leave the place. 

The sound coming from the kitchen breaks the train of my thought. A delicious aroma wafts out from the kitchen. 'I make nice coffee,' Mr. Ajinkya, the owner of this place said, smiling.

There was a problem in my last residence and the landlord asked to vacate the place. It was okay, as I found this lovely, cozy place, suggested by the only person I befriended here. I just signed the rent contract. 

I look out of the wall sized window. It has started to snow. But I am feeling warm and pleasant, thanks to the glowing fireplace. I suddenly remember a unique word. 'Peiskos': the feeling you get when you sit in front of a fireplace and enjoy its warmth. At this point of time, my life feels like a Peiskos. 

I get up and walk towards an artistic bookshelf and a bit disorganized desk, placed in the far corner.

I lift my hand to pick a book when something attracts my attention and I skip a beat. Amidst badly arranged papers and diaries, there's an old folded paper. It's not the paper that attracted me, it's the words written over it. I pull it, even though it feels like I'm tampering someone's privacy. I can feel my hands trembling and heart thundering as I read the texts.

' makes me feel like I am with you. When you'll touch it, it would feel like...'

'Hey.' I jerk my head to find him placing the tray on the table. He is looking at me and then his gaze slips towards my hand, holding that page. 

I look at him. A vision flashes in front of my eyes. The chime of my doorbell. An envelope at my doorstep. And a tall figure in a hoodie scurrying down the stairs…

And the letter: 'These fingerprints are mine. Sending along with my thoughts. It makes me feel like I am with you. When you'll touch it, it would feel like you're touching me…'

He's still looking at me. The coffee getting cold at the table. The snowfall almost blanketing the views outside. The fire of the fireplace glowing in his eyes. He's still smiling. 'What happened?' he says as he walks towards me. 

'Something is missing, right?' He's uncomfortably close now, as his left hand fumbles on the table.  He takes the letter from my hands. 'You shouldn't have done that,' he says and presses his fingers on it, leaving the red imprint on the letter. 

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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Acrylic Finger Painting


There's something about this painting. No, I'm not saying it's an extraordinary painting. But it's an experiment. It's an acrylic painting (on canvas), and I painted this using my fingers. It was my first attempt and it wasn't very successful, as I couldn't complete the painting using my fingers and after creating the background and textures of trees, I had to pick my brush.

Now, watching painting videos on YouTube is one of my favourite activity. So I saw a wonderful artist painting a beautiful scenery using her palm and fingers. It was so fascinating. So I decided to try. Yesterday, I thought to try again. And I just finished this piece. 

I did use brush to create branches but it's mainly a finger painting.

I really like the textures it creates. What do you think? Have you ever tried painting with your palms and fingers? Or have you ever tried any unconventional method of painting?

Also, I was checking the cadmium yellow. I switched to Liquitex Basics brand recently, and tried Cad yellow for the first time. But it seems quite transparent. Even Burnt Umber seems transparent. I'm not sure whether it's the colour or the brand.

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Saturday, December 26, 2020

Book Review: An Unusual Honeymoon by Mamta Kashyap


Name of the book: An Unusual Honeymoon

Name of the Author: Mamta Kashyap

Publisher: Notion Press

Number of pages: 158

Price: ₹ 79 (Kindle version)

The book opens with a scene where Mahasweta, a highly ambitious woman, is seen at an Inn, on her honeymoon...Alone. so clearly, she has been betrayed by her fiancé but she, as a proud, independent woman, decided to go on her honeymoon without a partner. However, this honeymoon has a purpose.

There she meets a man whom she actually wanted to meet (remember the purpose?). She has a deal to offer, she thought he couldn't refuse but guess what? He has a bigger and bolder deal to offer!

So what's Mahasweta's purpose and what's the deal? To know that, you will have to read the book.

Okay, the basic plot is a little different and interesting but the execution, the incidents are pretty predictable and clichéd. This is not really a complain because despite the clichéd/predictable story, it was an entertaining read. 

I liked the writing style. It's engaging. And humorous, at times. The story has been told from Mahasweta's point of view and the narration has a conversational tone, which helps you connect with the protagonist more easily. 

The characters are interesting. I liked Mahasweta's character. She is strong, independent, impulsive, bold, and yet thoughtful and caring. I liked Rahul. He's handsome, passionate about his work, sensitive and sensible. And I liked their chemistry and conversations. There are several other characters and they all have their own part to play. 

The cover looks lovely.

Now, things that bothered me. It gets too clichéd, even cheeky in the last few chapters. I didn't really like the planning thing (planned by Naani), especially when Sweta decides er.. plans to take Rahul to her most loved place. I didn't like the 'effort' to show her sensitive side. It deserved to happen by chance, not by effort, in my personal opinion.

She thinks, 'I was not doing this to score  a brownie point.' and I was like, 'of course, you are!' 

Sweta speaks to her inner voice, which is totally fine, but again, it's too much, sometimes long paragraphs. And the repetitive use of 'Sweta/Mahasweta' (while she's talking to herself) gets a bit annoying, after some point.


'Shut up, Mahasweta. Don’t take out your anger on him.'

'Hold on to this feeling, Sweta. Hold on to this.'

'Yes Sweta, that’s right!'

'Yes, be cool Sweta. Be cool.'

'See Sweta, this is the glow of love!'

So, you know what I mean. 

Talking about the glow of love: it's a love story, and it's an entertaining love story, however I felt the depth was missing. Maybe because it seems rushed. And too easy and convenient. Right from the first encounter to the ending. And I didn't get the epilogue, I felt it was unnecessary.

Overall, it was a nice, interesting and easy read. If you're looking for something light to read and if you enjoy love story, you can certainly pick this book. 

I received this book from Writersmelon for an honest review.

Experimenting With Acrylics (Rain & Fire)


Does it look like it's raining?

Fear of going wrong...It stops us from experimenting. And we don't realize that it's stopping us from growing.

I have always wanted to paint a rainy scene and fire. But I was always scared that I would ruin my painting. If I were painting with watercolours, I would certainly have ruined it but even when I started painting with acrylics in January, I was so worried about ruining my painting and wasting the canvas and colours. Even though I knew acrylic is forgiving.

But now, I have decided to experiment. Interestingly, the results are better when we are not really bothered about the results. Just try and experiment. So, I painted a rainy scene. 

And fire. It's a tiny one but still I like the effect. I'll paint more. Also, I reused a canvas for this painting (as I was not happy with the painting I did earlier).

So, do you worry about the results when painting? Is there anything you really want to paint?

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Book Review: My Name is Anton by Catherine Ryan Hyde


Book: My Name is Anton

No. of pages: 364

Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Genre: Love Story/Drama

Price: ₹ 129 (Kindle copy on Amazon)

'I love you so much it scares me sometimes. I’ll think how much I love you and for a minute it’s hard to breathe.'

'Welcome to my side of the fence,' he said.

My Name is Anton by Catherine Ryan Hyde is about Anton, of course, and Edith. And the agonies they're bound to carry, and the joy they're fortunate enough to embrace. And the moments they missed.

'It was December 10, an odd day to celebrate the Christmas holiday. It was not even quite six in the morning, and Anton “Anthony” Addison-Rice was fast asleep and dreaming about his right hand.'

It's the opening line of this book.  Intriguing, isn't it? And then we get to know why he was dreaming of his right hand. Because he has lost his right hand in a terrible, dreadful incident. (It's not a spoiler). 

His parents leave him alone for Christmas holidays, with a telescope as a gift. And then, he saw something in a window. Accidentally. A woman. 

The woman - Edith, 15 years older to him, is in an abusive marrige, and Antony has witnessed it.

They meet, connect and a beautiful bond burgeons. He has deeply fallen in love but, to keep her safe, he had to let her go. 

What if they meet again?

'Love is when you can make the following statement, and mean it: "What’s best for her, even if it doesn’t include me."’

This story is also about a dysfunctional family and complicated relationships, that has been told with so much ease. The storytelling, the character development, the development of emotional bond, everything is so effortless.

And the credit goes to the writing. I love the writing style. It's beautiful and engaging. The author has made every scene, every conversation so meaningful, interesting and heartwarming.

'But it was how she closed the door that Anthony would always remember. She didn’t slam it. Almost the opposite. She eased the door latched with a deliberate caution, a gentleness. As if the door were installed directly into Anthony’s chest or gut, and she might hurt him if she mishandled it. And it mattered a great deal to Anthony, because she did have the power to hurt him, though as yet he had no idea why.'

The characters Anton and Edith seem very real and I instantly felt a connection. Loved their conversation. So, basically the dialogues are very interesting. So interesting and engaging that I was actually looking forward to what they would say next. 

There are several beautiful, touching scenes. I would especially like to mention two scenes. One, when they are watching the moon, at Anton's terrace. And the platform scene. 

The secondary characters are also very significant, especially Anton's grandma and great uncle are very endearing. I felt so glad that they were in Anton's life.

Apart from being interesting, engrossing and endearing, it's also progressive in so many ways (even though it's mostly set in 1965-1981). Conveys several messages in a subtle way, so subtle that you don't even realize it's a message. 

My Name is Anton is a pure, poignant, unique and heartwarming love story. Too good to be true, maybe, but I absolutely don't mind! One of my favourite reads this year. And I'd definitely want to read more from the author.

Thank you, Netgalley, for the review copy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Book Review: Tales From the Himalayas by Priyanka Pradhan

(I painted the bookmark :))

Book: Tales From the Himalayas

No. of pages: 157

Author: Priyanka Pradhan

Illustrator: Mohit Suneja

Publisher: Rupa Publications

Genre: Children's Book

Price: ₹ 285 (on Amazon)

I don't write blurbs in my review. But for this book, I would like to write the blurb. So here it is (from the back cover):

'You'll find tales of snow leopards and mountain ghouls, bagpiper girls and itchy herbs, and stories even as old as 500 years! See the beautiful state of Uttarakhand, resplendent in its colourful customs and traditional costumes, taste the sweet-sour wild berries, feel the chilly autumn wind on your skin and smell the musky pine forests, in seventeen stories.'

I wrote the blurb because it's spot on!  The book is everything that has been described in the blurb, and more.

The all seventeen stories are so interesting, thoughtful, intriguing and heartwarming. The stories, so different from each other, convey beautiful and important messages without being preachy. It's about courage, compassion, thoughtfulness, wisdom and friendship. Certain stories, based on true stories, are educative and yet they are entertaining. One of the stories, 'Kafal', is a folk tale. I heard that story as a kid, and it reminded me of my own childhood.

The stories are very well written. The language is neat and simple so that children don't find it complicated, and yet it's crisp so that even adult can enjoy the read. It creates lovely imagery that it actually gives you the glimpse of Uttarakhand. The illustrations are really cute and apt.

Although I liked each and every story, I'd like to mention my most favourite ones: 'The Villian' (insightful), 'The Long-Lost Friends' (very poignant), 'The Spring Song' (very pleasant), 'Haria's Kitchen' (loved the food descriptions), 'Postcard' (again, poignant).

Overall, a wonderful collection that I enjoyed reading thoroughly. A lovely book that you can read with your kid. 

I received the book from the publisher for an honest review.