Hi , I am Ritvik Sharma (follow me on Facebook!). I have lived in many places in the US and a few other countries, but call Albany, New York home for now. I spent about 5 years in Pacific Northwest and was mesmerized by the abundant natural beauty. I think Pacific Northwest naturally brings out the landscape painter in you. There was a time in my watercolor journey when I could not paint enough evergreens!
I have no formal art education or degree, mostly all self-taught, with help from the mighty internet. As a kid I did dabble in watercolors, but it was shelved for math and sciences. But the artist me never quit and a few years ago, I picked up watercolors again. Since then, I have been painting frequently.
As a kid I was fascinated with the paintings of Claude Monet and Pierre-August Renoir and found them incredibly inspirational. When painting, I like to compose a scene that tells a story. I have always been drawn to paint such subjects and my goal is to convey the mood. It is a slow learning process and each painting is a step towards that goal.
I started mostly as a landscape painter, inspired by the beautiful and lush green valley of my home town Chamba, India, surrounded by mountains, trees and rivers. I wanted to capture the beauty of nature in my paintings. My stay in Pacific Northwest Seattle and surroundings ignited that desire of painting again.
I do more paintings and less studies. Because I always want to capture the mood I mostly end up doing a painting. So much against conventional wisdom. But I love it! I do, however, do a single painting many times and keep all the old versions.
Over time, I have been inspired to paint amazing beautiful architecture around me. I learnt that buildings teach perspective in a hurry! Over time, my goal is to learn painting loose streetscapes.
When I restarted painting again a few years ago, I ignored all conventional wisdom and dabbled with lots and lots of colors. At one point I had around 50 different colors! During my journey, I realized that as you start to grow as an artist your palette might start to shrink. I have used Winsor & Newton Cotman, Van Gogh and Daniel Smith watercolors.
About 5 to 6 months ago, I decided to restrict my palette to 12 colors and see what happens. My palette currently consists entirely of Daniel Smith colors. I found that I like a metal paint box style palette more than the plastic ones for palettes. I am currently using a Holbein style palette at home and a small metal box with half pans when I do plein air.
I use Arches 140lb cold press paper for all my paintings, and in addition to that, I keep two sketch books 90 lbs and 140 lbs. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to practice a little before a big project.
I am member of Urban Sketchers group of Albany and we meet every other Friday to sketch and paint at locations. Being a member of this group has helped me not worry about people watching you paint and sketch. I have to admit an easel draws some attention!
For inspiration, I like to also look at kids’ paintings and if there is an exhibition in the town I would go. It is amazing what you can learn from kids’ painting. Can you imagine what would you paint when you are free as a kid!
I am enjoying every step of this artistic journey and feel very lucky. Thanks to Charlie for giving me the opportunity to share my journey with all you wonderful artists.