My name is Shilpi Gupta and I hail from Mumbai, India which is a country known for its vivid art and culture. My name originates from the Sanskrit word ‘शिल्प’ (Shilp) meaning ‘Art’. For me, art is that part of my life which has been hidden inside me for years. I believe that if you have any talent hidden inside you, then you will definitely get the opportunity to explore that in your life. One turning point is all you need.
During my childhood, when my mother used to call me a future artist, I used to stare at her in astonishment. I always felt that neither was I too great in drawing, nor in painting. But she always appreciated my artworks and boosted my confidence.
Taking it as a hobby, I continued to become a computer engineer, then a project manager in a well-established software firm, and then a complete homemaker owing to family priorities. Till that point of time in my life, I had not explored with paints to that level. Neither did I have any knowledge about different mediums of painting, nor did I understand the meaning of each art. I never regretted anything in my life except that now, when I am being inclined towards painting and receiving loads of praises from family and friends, I will never ever be able to show any of those to my mother.
It was only a few years after my mother’s untimely demise due to cancer, that my son had started his painting classes. Looking at all his artwork, an inner urge pushed me towards it. With the support of my family, I joined a short watercolor painting course to start with and since then, there has been no turning back. I just loved the paper turning colorful with my strokes. I loved the appreciation I started receiving after completion of each piece.
I started looking for something which looks beautiful as well as unimaginable for me to paint. I took up each painting as a challenge, something which I had never tried before and looked impossible for me to paint. In the process, I learnt something new with each of my paintings. I tried different types of textures for my backgrounds as I never liked to leave any part of the paper blank. I always thought that I should get a more professional level of training, but couldn’t do so. So I kept trying on my own.
I tried taking some help from the internet, but most of the lessons were learnt by trying out. I even tried out a 3 panel acrylic painting on canvas for my friend, which eventually turned out great. But I was never satisfied with any other mediums and always came back to watercolors. Watercolor was my first love and will continue to be so.
I love painting bright and bold colors which most of us think are difficult to achieve with watercolor. I always draw out lightly on the paper before I start painting with colors. I never mix my colors on the palette. I like to paint directly on the paper, repainting with the different colors till I get the required shade. I love painting more of photo realistic paintings. I see most of the photo realistic paintings are in oil or acrylic. But I try to achieve the same with watercolor.
Nature inspires me a lot. I started by painting landscapes. I love painting reflections in water. I tried out 3d painting, paintings of glass, monochrome painting and even portraits. I painted beautiful birds and lovely flowers too. Basically I like to paint whatever looks appealing to my eyes. Today there is hardly any day when I do not paint. It is so peaceful. It is like meditation for me. The satisfaction of completing each artwork is awesome. There is a sense of achievement after creating each piece of beautiful art.
After a lot of coaxing from my near and dear ones, I recently made a website for my paintings. Creating this website was a learning experience too. Like in every other process in our lives, I have learnt a few lessons in this process as well. One is that, however much you feel that you have gained knowledge about a certain art or skill, there is always lots more to learn. So my motto is to keep learning and never stop doing that.
- Apart from that, these are a number of skills and techniques related to watercolor painting that I learnt in the process.
- Painting reflections and ripples in water, stones under water, waterfalls etc.
- Achieving different shades in a monochrome painting.
- Creating effects of light on opaque objects and appropriate shadows to give 3d effect.
- Different background textures using salt, sponge, cling film, stippling over salt water
- Palette knife like mosaic effect with a piece of cardboard
- Bokeh background effect using sponge
- Painting transparent glass and its shadow
- Making the eyes and the lips in a portrait
- Making feathers of birds and delicate part of the petals in flowers
- Creating your art website for the first time
The art material which I use is something which is easily available in our local market and I am quite satisfied with it.
• A3 size 200gsm Anupam watercolor book
• Camel artist watercolors
• Camlin synthetic brushes
• Winsor & Newton masking fluid
I am grateful to Charlie and the Doodlewash community for giving me this wonderful opportunity to share my experiences and my art. I hope someone gets inspired enough to play with colors and find the art hidden in them just like I did.