The Indian Artist: I’m in a bit of a rut…

I’m not going to lie, getting inspiration for writing and art these past few weeks has been especially difficult. I could not really give you a proper reason either if you were to ask me why. It seems that with the monotonous ebb of school and combined with mundane life, I have felt removed from my creative side, something which disturbed me greatly when I realized what was happening. So, to try to make my way back slowly into the marvelous world of creation and art, I thought that this week I would dive into a few of my favorite mediums, styles, and techniques that I use in my own work. Enjoy!

Her Majesty

As I discussed in one of my first few posts on my column, I grew up scouring over the work of my favorite artists, trying to replicate them detail by detail. I got my start through observation and replication. However, as I grew older and came into my own, it pained me that I did not have a distinct “style” of art that I could call mine. I didn’t have a mode of creation that was unique and original to me. It wasn’t until later on in high school that I truly found the mediums that I could get lost in, a style of creating that felt most representative of me.

I like to say now that I am a “mixed media artist”, that I don’t limit myself, and that I like to use a bit of everything. For me, this means using a mixture of ink, watercolor, and gold/silver leafing. Though I never hold myself back from trying different mediums of art such as oil paint, pastel, printmaking, and diluted henna even, I feel that this combination has provided me with a wide arena of freedom that is almost liberating while not going too crazy.

I am a person that likes form and structure, that’s the scientific part of my brain really coming into play, the same reason that abstract art and avant-garde material tend to upset me greatly. However, being able to create a distinct shape and line structure with ink and pen and then using watercolor, a characteristically loose medium, overtop provides such a cathartic release. If one were to look at the art I have done where I use this combination of mediums, he or she would notice that I love to use circles as well, especially concentric or overlapping circles of different sizes. I don’t have an explanation for this per se, but if I were to gander, I think these small carefully lined-out details give my work some more verisimilitude, some extra authenticity, and interest while adding an element of control and brevity (if such a word can be used to describe art).

Birds of a Feather

I use a lot of these methods in one of my favorite pieces I have ever done, American Dhulan. I also have two small corresponding studies that I did call Her Majesty and Birds of a Feather that really solidified this combination as my favorite. These were very simple pieces that I did on the back of a handmade book because I was bored one day and felt a deep yearning to paint. But I truly believe that it was because of these two drawings that I really found my favorite style of art, something that I love employing in many of my pieces now. The cautiously rendered forms with the smokey overlays of color seem to combine both sides of me perfectly. The streaks of leafing work alongside the circular accents and pops of white create an amalgamation of symbolic aspects of myself.

I love diving into the unique styles and forms of many artists. I thought that it would be interesting to share one of my favorite vehicles of creation with you all this week! If you have not tried laying down a puddle of the right watercolor and lightly blowing to create a beautiful splatter of paint, I highly recommend you try it! As I say every week, if anything that I discussed in this post stands out or if any questions arise please feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

Looking forward to next Sunday!


~ Riya



Riya A

My name is Riya and I am currently a Freshman at Umich. Art has been a huge passion of mine from a very young age and in this column, I look forward to sharing my perspectives and outlooks on life through my personal work!

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