Sketching on location

There was a time when I was about 8 or 9 and I drew everything in sight in my homemade sketchbooks. No blank piece of paper was immune if I could get my hands on a pencil, pen or any mark making device! I was not shy and I had no care about what other people thought of my drawings. People carried cameras and I carried my sketchbooks. I sat and I drew. Hours would pass by and I would keep filling the pages of my drawing books.

Then there was the time when I was 13 or 14 and I was shy to sit and draw in public. I restricted myself to drawing what I could see through the windows and balcony of our flat in the city. That shyness evaporated when I visited my grandma in the country and the change of scene was invigorating. My aunt would complain to my mom that I brought with me so few clothes. There was no space in the suitcase after I filled it with all the drawing paper I could fit.

As time went on, life got busier and busier. In my 20s, it was no longer possible to set time aside for reading, sketching and the like. It was not possible to keep drawing without making all the new people in my life – my husband, in-laws, new friends through my husband feel downright ignored. And then bags had to be packed with diapers, several changes of baby clothing, food and more. There was no more space for sketchbooks. Life had expanded in fascinating ways and even though there was no time to sketch, the amazing experiences were marinating inside while waiting to find the thread back to the surface.

Before long, the babies grew up to be children and there were many commutes to places for them to learn to swim, dance, do martial arts, make things in STEM club and there was waiting. It was BEAUTIFUL – pockets of time that were solely mine on most days and right there was the other end of that lost thread. As I packed for the kids, I packed a bag for myself as well with just the basics – a journal, a pen and a water bottle.

As travel became a requirement for my work, I took a sketchbook along and I drew at the airport, on the plane, in the taxi, on the go. I narrowed my essentials down to a no-objection-from-anyone-content-and-size and I resumed sketching on location, aware and unaware of my surroundings at the same time.

I take my time to draw. I don’t always finish on location. I take pictures with my phone for reference if I have to. But I carry on. When I can, I listen to audio books while I sketch. I try to find ways to do all the things that I can’t not do without neglecting everything I must do.

And I don’t judge.

Some drawings turn out okay, many don’t. I am happy doing it. And that is more than what I had expected.

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New Instagram name

I had been fiddling with this for some time. I joined Instagram in the summer of 2015 to share our move from Tampa, Florida to Chester, New Jersey with my friends. My name was not available to choose and I didn’t want a bunch of random numbers after my name. So, I had picked Color.Happy.Creations after the name of my newsletter.

Slowly, my Instagram feed began to evolve after the move was complete and I had shared enough photos of our new home and the pretty town and orchards. I was sharing photos of my sketchbook every now and then until I made the decision that my Instagram will be mostly about my artwork with some of my life sprinkled in, be it my kids, our vacations, cool finds and such. So, I changed my name to mou.saha.studio.

I think it gives my feed the right focus.

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Behind the Scenes: Collage Painting

There’s something absolutely magical about squeezing paints out, mixing them and slathering them on a surface. It helps clear your mind. Sets you free to be a kid again. It is soul balm. If only for a second you could drop your inhibitions, perfectionism and complexes, you could feel the joy that is painting!

I have been painting for as long as I can remember. With chalks, with pencils, with crayons. Then with poster paints, finger paints, acrylics, watercolors. Sometimes I sketch first and sometimes I paint first.

As a natural progression to that, I have started pairing my painting with my magpie tendencies. I collect lots of stuff that are radically insignificant to most people. And the only thing that keeps me from becoming a legendary hoarder are my collage paintings. Scraps of papers, fabric, laces and found objects happily find their ways into my paintings and art journals.

This summer, I worked on a whole collection of collage paintings that were inspired by my two daughters. Some of the simple things that they love to do became translated to the joyful movements the girls in my paintings made.

I set these paintings in simple scenes, painted each one of them in bright and cheerful colors. Like my two girls, these paintings make me and those who visit our home, smile!

The originals currently grace my daughters’ rooms. Maybe I’ll have some prints of these collage paintings in the Color Happy Shop too.

See you next week. Until then, make time to paint!

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Behind the Scenes: Inspired by Words

I think you’d agree that some words have really powerful impact on us. Whether you are an avid or an occasional reader, you chance upon written messages that you can never forget, words that can change how you think. Empower you. Inspire you. Remind you of what’s important.

When I’m reading, I jot down the words that I love, in a notebook. If I don’t have a notebook with me, I scribble them on small pieces of paper. At any time, you can find several such small scribbled notes in my purse or on my desk. I clip the notes to the pages and if time allows, I copy them in my notebook.

I read through the notebook pages and mentally short-list the ones that I want to brush-letter. It takes a little time to get into the flow of lettering. I have been practicing brush-lettering for a few months now and my style is still evolving. There are many guides to show you how to brush-letter. But I find that following those guides makes my writing look and feel like someone else’s and I like my handwriting to be as authentically mine as possible, mistakes and all.

So, I came up with a regimen of my own – brush-lettering one quote or saying till I am satisfied. I’m not aiming for perfect spacing or even sizing, but what feels like the best and most consistent visual representation that I can create of each word according to its significance. And sometimes, I add a bit of illustration to a piece.

I choose a few of the finished ones and frame them in my studio. The power of the words give me hope and perspective. They also help me improve my lettering techniques over time.

What are some of your favorite quotes? Please share in your comments!

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When you are getting ready to be on TV

Earlier this year, I was asked by KS Productions to be on a TV Show called Make It Artsy. The show will air on PBS stations nationwide as well as online at makeitartsy.com starting this September. I have been on TV before on a different show called Scrapbook Soup. Every member of the KS Production team have been most helpful for preparing novices like myself for the show. So, there’s been a lot of shopping (of course!!!) and preparing projects, step-outs, instructions and talking points.

Here are some jewel tone and pastel dress shirts. I needed at most 2, but I bought 8. Please don’t judge!

Now, clothes aren’t the only thing I bought. I bought some props too. What can I say, I love how chefs use little dishes and utensils and they inspire me as much as the food they cook. So, I took this opportunity to buy some TV props of my own!

Shopping, however, is NOT the only thing I’ve been doing. I have been working very hard and many late hours to create my projects, editing my write-ups and planning my presentation.

I’ll be shooting three Technique segments and one Tip segment. And guess what? I GET TO SHOW OFF MY OWN COLORING BOOK ON TV!!!

Here’s the page from my coloring book No Place Like Home that I’ll show how to watercolor following the principles of chiaroscuro (the technical term for understanding light and shadows).

This is my project for the book episode. I will be showing how to alter a book to create an art journal.

In the stamping episode, I’ll show how to create this mixed media canvas with stamps I designed and cut myself. In this episode, I’ll also present a fun stamping tip you can easily recreate.

Okie doke, time to get back to work!

Happy creating y’all!

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