The Indian Artist, Final Year: Sneak Peak!

Good evening everyone! I hope that you are all doing well and have had a good week thus far. I am suffering from major writers block here and thought that I would post a little bit of sneak peak into my latest painting. I also wanted to share some of the difficulties that I have had with this piece and the process by which I work through rendering challenging subjects.

My current piece, set to be complete by the end of the month, is a 4’x5′ oil painting on canvas titled Five White Horses. This piece is a recreation of the symbolic and famous cover of the Hindu holy text called the Bhagavad Gita. I have taken inspiration from a similar recreation by Bijay Biswaal as well as the original cover from the official Srila Prabhubad version of the text. This is my biggest and most detailed painting to date and it has been more than a challenge getting it to a place where I am satisfied.

The figure on the left is Krishna. Krishna is meant to be portrayed as divine with beautiful, effeminate features that are still strong and masculine. I have had a lot of trouble rendering Krishna in this painting in a way that depicts him as intended. There are a few tricks that I use when I am facing these challenges that I wanted to share with you all!

  1. Take a break from the piece! Taking time away from the painting is imperative. I took a couple weeks off from this work and decided to focus my attention on other art pieces. This provides me with a fresh perspective on my composition.
  2. Turn the work upside down. Though this seems bizarre and counterintuitive, a change in perspective literally forces you to attach the artwork with a new eye and vigor.
  3. Refresh with reference images. This is very important for paintings with life-like subjects. I find that taking time to study lighting, staging, and anatomy away from the physical piece is very helpful. This help me to sculpt out the subjects with a greater likeness
  4. Give yourself some grace! Good work that you can be proud of takes a lot of time. I struggle with every single piece that I do. However, it is through this struggle that I learn the most about myself and unlock new skills that I am able to apply to future pieces. Take your time to explore your medium and subjects. Make mistakes and welcome them!
  5. Finally, stop when you have said what you need to say. It is very common to overwork an art piece. It is an art in itself knowing when to stop and having with wherewithal to call a piece done. When you feel that you have expressed your intentions in the work, let it go. There is no such thing as perfection in an art piece and continuously harping on details can take away from your broader message.

I hope that some of these points were helpful if you are also struggling with or stuck on a piece. There are so many aspects of my art process that have become second nature and I find it fun to put some of them into writing. As always, please feel free to reach out to me or comment if you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts! If you would like to see my work, please feel free to check out my website and follow me on Instagram.

Until next week,




Riya A

My name is Riya and I am currently a Senior at U of M studying Molecular Biology with a double minor in Art & Design and Sociology on the pre-med track. Art has been a huge passion of mine from a very young age and in the final iteration of my column, I look forward to sharing my passions as they connect to my culture, medicine, and art.

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1 Comment on "The Indian Artist, Final Year: Sneak Peak!"

3 months 18 days ago

Hello! I am very excited to see the finished piece soon! I hope you are able to resolve all of the problems you are having. The tricks you provided are quite good and I can easily see how they could also help me in my art and other activities. Also, how do you know when to stop? Do you reach a certain point where you can stand back, take a deep breath, and be confident that the state it is in is where you want it to remain? Thanks for the great post!