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Commission Art

Are people showing interest in your work and keen on customizing some of it to their personal requirements? If yes, then its high time you seriously consider taking up Commissions. Receiving requests to create commission art is the ultimate compliment for any artist.

But what does commission art mean? It is the act of requesting the creation of a piece, often on behalf of another. Artwork may be commissioned by private individuals, by the government, or businesses. Commissions can very often resemble endorsement or sponsorship as well.

If the thought of getting involved with a paid project is giving you cold feet then this post is just what you need. Here are some tips that will help streamline your commission process and help you build up a reputation as a professional artist:

Set a pricing methodology

There are two common methods for pricing art:

  • By the hour – Number of hours worked x hourly rate.

Your hourly rate depends on your experience and          skill level. You can add the cost of the supplies to this later on.

  • By size – Cost per square inch x no. of square inches in painting.

This method requires a set cost per painted square inch, which is determined by the quality of the supplies used as well as the degree of detailing in your work.

A few extra pointers while pricing your work:

  • When commissioning, a piece in specific dimensions, using specific materials and perhaps even specific subject matter, price by the hour.
  • If you are not particularly comfortable or skilled at drawing/painting the subject at hand, consider lowering your price to keep things fair.
  • If the work is urgent and demands long hours or weekends, consider raising your prices.

2. Time management

As a professional artist, time management and good organizational skills become absolutely imperative. As a general rule, I never set a definitive due date just in case I am unable to finish on time. I always tell my clients that the painting is going to take me at least a couple of days longer than the estimated timeline but make it a point to finish before D-day.

3. Provide information to prospective clients

Share information about your creative process and any terms or conditions connected to how you sell your work. Some important information you should definitely include is:

  • Ask questions and get a clear understanding of what you’re being requested to create. For instance, what art style do they like, what color scheme to use and what area of their house/work place will the piece be adorning.
  • Do you need anything specific from the customer in terms of high-resolution images, etc.?
  • Your mode(s) for accepting payment (bank transfer, card payment, etc.).
  • What percentage/portion of the total cost you will take as advance payment before getting started (this should be non – refundable so that if your clients back out, it pays for your invested time, labor, and art materials.)
  • Whether you undertake shipping (if yes then what will be your shipping terms/costs?)

4. Be prompt in responding

If a prospective client inquires about commissioning a piece, make sure you respond as quickly as possible or you may end up losing the opportunity altogether. Once you have started working on the commission, maintain an open channel of communication throughout in order to keep your client updated about your progress.This will prevent any confusion or misunderstandings.Also, don’t hesitate in turning down prospective clients if you feel that what they’re asking for is against your moral compass or beliefs.

My Commissioning Process

I have had the recent pleasure of successfully finishing a commissioned painting for a new set of clients, a lovely couple. Here’s what I made for them:

Recently commissioned

This project was a challenging venture as not only were the clients my patrons, but also good friends. Sharing the experience of my commissioning process while it’s still fresh in my mind:

  • The concept briefing –

My first meeting with my clients, an impressionable husband and wife duo with a profound interest but limited knowledge in art, was to discuss the subject matter and conceive the entire project. I was commissioned by them to paint a Vietnamese riverscape, taking reference from an image of a similar scene. They showed me a photo of the painting that they wanted me to customize for them and later on shared with me a high-resolution image of the same for reference purposes.

Here are some questions I asked them to understand what they had in mind, along with their answers:

  1. What is it that they want? Do they want an exact replica of the original or a custom-made version? – They wanted more or less the same thing but on a larger scale (a 2ft by 3ft canvas to be exact).
  2. What color scheme would they like? Do they want to retain the same colors as the original or make some changes? – They preferred to stick to the same color palette, only brighter.
  3. What size and surface would they like their painting to be? – As mentioned above, 2ft by 3 ft on a canvas.
  4. What medium would they want me to use? – They left this to my discretion owing to their limited knowledge of art, so I decided to go with oil paints as I felt these would be best for the subject matter in question here.
  • The artistic process –  

The next step was to explain to them about my artistic process. I gave them a rough idea of how I would go about working on the painting, starting from the initial sketch, the painting process and then the final touch up and finishing stage which includes varnishing the final artwork once it was totally dry. I assured them that I would keep sending regular updates in the form of photos on completion of each stage, so that any editing or adjustments could be made as and when required.

  • The framing –

I gave my clients the choice of either taking the canvas unframed or along with a frame. I made it clear to them that in the latter case, the cost of framing would be added to the price of the artwork. Since they were in the same city as me and were picking up the artwork personally, they told me to take care of the framing as well.

  • The costing and terms of payment –

I decided to price this commission by size as not only did it involve increasing the dimensions, but also including the cost of framing. In terms of the payment, I quoted an advance of 1/3 of the total cost of the commission, which would be non-refundable as it would cover the time, labor and materials I would invest into the entire project. Since there wasn’t going to be any shipping involved, I did not include this cost.

  • Estimated time for completion –

As mentioned earlier, when it comes to the timeline, I always give an estimate of a day or two extra from the anticipated time of completion so as to take care of any eventualities. I this case, I had to include not just this, but also the drying time (being an oil painting), varnishing (and drying thereafter) as well as framing time.  

Please Note – Unlike in my case, if you are not well-acquainted with the clients or haven’t worked with them before, I would advise you to put down all of the above points in writing and sign a contract so that there are no misunderstandings later on. If you do decide to go ahead with a formal contract, don’t forget to mention that you as the artist will retain the copyright to all works commissioned by you, including all reproduction rights and no artwork may be reproduced or altered without your written consent.

I hope you found this post helpful and wish you loads of luck in all your artistic endeavors! Do leave me a comment below if you have inputs  or wish to share your own experiences with commissions. Would love to hear about it!

My Exhibits

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Howdy art lovers! In my last post, I had delved into the nitty gritties of showcasing art, specifically at exhibitions and art shows. It gives me great pleasure to share with you all today my very own and personal experiences related to the art exhibits that I have had the good fortune of being part of.

Even though they were small community exhibits organized within our fraternity, for me they were nothing less than any renowned art show set up by reputed galleries or curators, for the learning associated with these helped me grow as an artist. Moreover, they provided me with the much-needed exposure as well as recognition, not just within my fraternity but beyond!

So, without further ado, let’s plunge right into it!

As I mentioned earlier, two of the exhibits were local community shows, where some of the many talented artists of the fraternity I belong to got together and put up their work on display. Both proved to be great morale boosters for me as not only did I manage to sell some of my work, but also got some custom orders! Here are a few snippets from these exhibits:

The next opportunity that I have had the distinct honor of being a part of is an Online Solo Art Exhibit organized by Google Books Art and Culture, wherein my artwork was approved for global publishing as a Solo Online Exhibit on the prestigious Google Books.

Artist’s Art & Photography solo online Exhibits are published globally on Google Books for lifelong and can be downloaded by Google’s billions of readers for free access on Google Play Books, Google Books Library and Google Android Play Store across the globe in 149 countries. Art Exhibit Google Book is strictly online and no print or hard copy (pdf) is allowed due to copyright protection.

As an artist, publishing my art on the Google Books, Arts & Culture platform carries a great deal of professional weightage and mileage as it helps me share and promote it not just directly to art connoisseurs, collectors, art galleries, museums and prospective art buyers but also onto social media.

Since Google is the world’s largest search engine, publishing my art exhibit on Google’s various platforms, especially Books, has a distinct advantage as my work is indexed by Google itself, which helps in SEO (search engine optimization) and gives me a mileage in getting higher ranks in online search results and better discoverability on social media, thus connecting me with genuine art lovers across the globe and reach out to prospective buyers and art galleries.

One worry I always have when sharing my artwork on online social media platforms or online sites/galleries is that there is no copyright protection and my art can be downloaded or shared illegally. However, Google Books offers all Artists protection under their own copyrights and the book is globally DRM protected for illegal sharing and downloading.

Another advantage is that my artwork is archived in the Google Books Library and helps reach billions of Google’s readers & subscribers across the globe in 149 countries thus connecting me with a global audience! Here are the links to my very own ebook art exhibit with google books:

https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=fHEUEAAAQBAJ

Do go through them and don’t forget to leave your reviews and star ratings to help my work reach more audiences!

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And the Award Goes to….

Art competitions can provide some great opportunities to artists irrespective of whether they win or not. Not only do they give exposure and present a chance to showcase your work at exhibitions, but also prove to be an excellent morale booster for your art career. This in turn will increase your self-confidence as well as help you evolve and grow as an artist. 

Generally, the selected or shortlisted artists receive recognition, sizeable rewards and some great opportunities to exhibit, promote and/or sell their work. Several competitions often double up as art exhibits where artworks are up for sale, thereby providing artists with a shot at earning money in addition to possibly winning a prize.

The jury in an art competition is usually composed of prominent and well-known personalities from the art world, with considerable amount of experience and a good sense of the current market. This makes art competitions a great means of networking. Prizes are appropriately chosen so as to benefit artists, be it in the form of an opportunity to participate in an exhibition, a cash prize or promotional opportunities.

Winning an art competition is a great achievement as it is another feather that artists can add in their cap and therefore their CV. However, just entering the competition is big in itself as it provides you with recognition as well as a platform to prove yourself and your skill as an artist.

Moreover, entering art competitions can help in proving to yourself that you can be serious about your art. It shows that you are willing to put effort into it, and you think that your art deserves to be recognized more widely.

I consider art competitions integral to my artistic journey, as they help me get the much needed exposure and recognition, which are more important to me than the monetary gains which come in the form of rewards or prizes. It is one such art competition which I entered recently that has given me the much required boost in confidence. The competition was organized by Art Chitrakala, an organization registered with the Government of India. It provides a platform to artists from all over India to showcase, promote as well as sell their art. They organize monthly contests at “All India National Level” wherein the selected winners get an opportunity to get featured on their page and sell their work.

It was an honor and a privilege for me to be able to send my entries for the November 2020 art contest organized by Art Chitrakala, wherein a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 5 artworks had to be sent. I am absolutely thrilled to share with you all that one out the five pieces that I had entered, one was selected for a Consolation Prize! I was also greatly honored to receive the Emerging Artist Award, being one among the 250 winners from all over the country. Here are snapshots of the shortlisted artworks and the respective certificates:

It has been an extremely overwhelming and humbling experience for me to be bestowed upon with these rewards, being my very first. To see my work displayed on the pages of The Art Chitrakala website has helped endorse my faith in myself as an artist. I have been making art for just about ten years now and this has invoked mixed emotions of satisfaction, joy, accomplishment, and personal honor.

 More than the cash prize and the awards, it is the recognition that counts, making the entire experience ever so memorable. This one will always hold a special place in my heart and I’m thankful to Art Chitrakala for providing me with this platform. Winning in this competition has fueled my passion further and inspired me to work harder.

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What Kind of Art Sells?

What themes and subjects sell the most in art? Which mediums and genres sell best? What sizes of paintings sell more – smaller or larger ones? These are some important questions that every artist should be asking when he decides to put his work up for sale.

I like to be sure of what will sell in the art market, even though my personal favorites are conceptual paintings which are a mix of realism as well as abstract art. For me, the true meaning behind what I paint takes precedence over the monetary gains I can obtain from it. However, when it comes to the cash inflow, I make sure I brush up my knowledge about the current art trends.

Today’s post is my endeavor to share with you all my own little nuggets regarding what needs to be considered when selling art. This information is based on my personal experiences hence should not be considered as a benchmark for improving sales.

What are the Best-selling Themes and Subjects in Art?

 

If your favorite subject happens to be among the popular ones, you’re in for luck. Keep in mind that you will sell more if you focus on your strengths rather than painting mediocre versions of something that’s not really your cup of tea. Even though one may not be making art solely to sell it, it may end up happening that way. For instance, an artist located in a tourist set up may find himself painting local scenery and landscapes as they will sell easily, thereby helping him pay his bills.  But this doesn’t stop him from painting what he likes to, in his signature style. Here is a list of some popular themes and subjects that do well commercially in the art market:

  1. Local scenes, landscapes and seascapes (modern, impressionistic or semi-abstract) – Landscape painting is the most popular and common subject for art owing to its versatile nature. Not only do people love looking at a picturesque and scenic panorama, but also like to invest in the visual representation of one, so as to keep reliving its spectacular beauty. Moreover a landscape works well in any type of decor or ambience. So what types of landscapes sell best? Many artists like to depict their local scenery in the form of landmarks, historical events or heritage sites that are exclusively characteristic of their area. Seascapes, harbors, and beach scenes all sell particularly well, probably because of their association with holidays, vacations, and relaxation.
  • Abstract paintings –Most people buy art with the aim to match it with their décor. Abstract art fulfils this requirement hence sells well. An abstract painting can simply be interpreted as a colour, texture, or shape, which helps maintain a certain level of uniformity with the home decoration. Besides this, abstraction has a nonrepresentational or symbolic approach, so its interpretation becomes subject to each individual viewer, thus making it easier to sell.
  • Paintings of dogs, cats and wildlife – People love owning paintings of dogs as much as they love their dogs as a painting of a dog invokes feelings of intimacy and affection, while paintings of wildlife suggest untamed, uninhibited nature. Perhaps for these reasons such paintings do well in the art market.
  • Figure studies and nudes – Whether it is abstract or impressionistic portraits or figure studies, people enjoy looking at images of humans. Although the trend is shifting towards attired rather than bare bodies, there will probably always be a market for nudes.

What sells better – Original Art or Prints?

It has been noticed that prints usually sell better than original works, probably because they are less expensive. And of course many prints are sold as decorative items, as they can be mixed and matched with different colour schemes. Limited-edition prints are more popular than open-edition ones as art buyers somehow seem to find the idea of a controlled supply quite appealing. When an artist put a limit on how many prints he or she will make, it attracts buyers as they feel they are killing two birds with one stone – investing in something that is almost original but less expensive than the original, yet “exclusive” and not entirely mass-produced.

What Medium of Art Sells Best?

Ideally, the following 7 mediums of art sell better than others:

  1. Offset-litho prints (original as well as limited-edition).
  2. Giclée prints (original as well as limited-edition).
  3. Oil and acrylic paintings.
  4. Watercolors.
  5. Artists’ original prints (e.g. etchings and engravings).

 

What Size Painting Sells the Best?

 

The general consensus among most artists is that it is commercially more viable to work on smaller canvases than larger ones as the former are generally priced lower than the latter, so not only do they appeal to buyers for monetary reasons, but also because they take up less space and demand less of an aesthetic instinct. Having said that, it is equally important to take into consideration that the earnings from a large number of smaller paintings might be equal to those obtained from a fewer larger paintings. Hence, most commercially successful artists work with a range of sizes to appeal to a wider audience.

Some artists purposefully create a range of small paintings with a common theme or style as they feel it will encourage buyers to pick up the entire series. Another advantage of working on a smaller scale is that the paintings require less storage space and are easier for the artist to accommodate even if they don’t sell right away.

What is your Target Market?

Target market is a very important factor to be considered when selling art. In order to successfully target a particular buying community, artists need to focus on marketing as well to certain extent. Here are some points to consider depending on the type of buyer you are targeting:

  • If you are selling through a gallery, your art needs to cater to the likes and requirements of its patrons. Highly priced works are best suited for galleries and least for museums and private collectors.
  • Private and commercial buyers usually use art as décor for offices etc, whereas interior decorators and designers will have specific artistic requirements.
  • The pricing of your work will depend on the disposable income as well as the budget of the buyer in question.
  • Home décor primarily depends on low priced copies or prints of originals and thus constitutes the largest market for art.
  • Art can be propagated through product development in various formats like, mugs, postcards, calendars, etc., which is a pretty lucrative market in itself.

 

My Experiences with Sales

I have realized that I can generate better sales for my art when it is displayed in a physical space like a gallery rather than an online virtual space.  The reason behind this could be that my viewers get to experience my work at close quarters, hence are able to appreciate it much more for various elements, especially colors and textures. Moreover, they get a better understanding of the medium, technique and the surface I have used to create the artwork. Most of my paintings are texture-laden and this aspect comes through best when viewed in person.  So if you want to emphasize and highlight the USP of your work, an art show or gallery display would be the best option.

I have also realized that keeping myself abreast with the latest art trends goes a long way as it keeps me updated with what is selling currently in the art market, thereby giving me better returns for my work. When it comes to selling my art, I take the practical approach and paint what’s in demand. But that doesn’t stop me from painting what I like so both go hand and hand for me. The trick is to strike equilibrium between both. In conclusion, I would like to say that success in any commercially aimed artistic undertaking can depend on a combination of all these factors. After all, selling art is no less than any business endeavor , so if you want to make money, treat it like one!

When your Artwork makes it as a Magazine Cover Page….

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Greetings to all Art Dungeon followers! I have great news!! It gives me great pleasure to share with you all that my artwork titled “et ressurectionis”, that I had shared in one of the earlier posts (https://theartdungeon.blog/2020/10/04/et-ressurectionis/ ), has made it to the cover page of a magazine! How cool is that!!

Here are a few snapshots of the magazine’s with the artwork that extends from the front cover to the back cover as one continuous piece. Also including the original painting and a small write up explaining it that was published in the magazine.

The front and back of the magazine
The front cover
The write up
The original artwork

Do click on the link above to know more about the concept, medium and techniques behind the artwork!

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All done with the Work of Art in Progress!

Hey folks! In continuation with last week’s post titled Work of Art in Progress (https://theartdungeon.blog/2020/10/18/work-of-art-in-progress/), today I will be sharing with you all the completed artwork. I have titled this piece “Painting Nature in its True Colors”.

I have already covered the thought process behind the artwork in detail last week, but just to recap, this painting is based on the theme “Nurturing Nature for a Better Future” and is intended to be the cover page of a magazine. It is my attempt to depict how Mother Nature, like all mothers, keeps showering us and our planet earth with her blessings in abundance and nourishes us unconditionally. But if we don’t look after her, she will eventually get drained out and will have very little or almost nothing to offer to our future generations as well as our planet. Hence, we need to nurture and heal her by painting her with a colorful palette of clean, green lands, water and air, for the future of her child that is, planet earth, depends on it. To delve deeper into the concept behind the artwork, please click on the link above.

The finished artwork titled “Painting Nature in its True Colors

In today’s post, I am going to talk about the technicalities of this artwork. Let’s start with the medium. I have used watercolors, specifically watercolor brush pens for the entire piece, along with a bit of prismacolor pencils here and there, just to enhance those highlights and shadows. I have also made use of a white gel pen to accentuate the lines of the hair locks of Mother Nature that symbolize the wind as well the waves of the sea. The blossoms scattered on the mossy green landscape have also been rendered using the same while gel pen. Apart from this the fiery flame-like locks representing fire too have a touch of white in the form of highlights.

Coming to the technique, I have employed the classic watercolor trick of “wet 0n wet”, wherein the area to be painted is dampened with a wet brush first followed by the application of paint. Most of the painting is done using this technique, but at some places, especially the finer details, I resorted to first applying the color on the dry surface and then going over it with a wet brush.

Hope you like the final product!

Work of Art in Progress

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Greetings from The Art Dungeon! I have been toying with the idea of sharing a work in progress for a long time, but procrastination has always got the better of me. So here I am, finally getting down to it and what could be better than the piece I am working on presently?

Today, I am going to share with you all, the evolutionary process of the artwork I am working on currently. As mentioned earlier, it’s work in progress so bear in mind that I am yet to finish this piece. I believe that the journey is as important as the destination hence it becomes imperative that I give you all a sneak peek into my process. So let’s dive right into it!

This artwork, which is still untitled, is meant to be the cover page of a magazine with the underlying theme, “Nurturing Nature for a Better Future.” I have depicted a personified version of Mother Nature, endowed with all of her classical elements – air (or wind), fire, water, earth and aether (or space) which also explain the complexity of life all around us. These elements are essential for the survival of all living beings and therefore should be respected and protected from any abuse.

Here’s a slide show of images showing my creative process:

I have represented air and fire in the form of the flowing locks of the female form of Mother Nature. The tree bark-like hind limbs, its roots and the vegetation adorning the figure symbolize the earth or land. Water is represented by the surging waves of the sea next to the land and the backdrop of the artwork forms aether or space.

These elements, which form the basis of all living life and matter, are blessings that Mother Nature bestows upon the one and only habitable place we have in the universe – planet earth, depicted in my artwork as the offspring in her womb.  Not only does she nourish and nurture our planet, she cares for us as well, thus making us all her children.

The earth in the womb of Mother Nature symbolizes our future and only if we take care of the mother, can we have a healthy and happy future. Nature is like a refillable prescription that keeps providing to us in abundance and adequacy, just like a mother does to her child. But if we don’t look after her, she will eventually get drained out, consequently affecting our future generations as well as the future of our planet. Hence, we need to nurture and heal her with all that we can for a better tomorrow.

So how do we do it? All we need to do is replenish our planet with greenery, crystal clear waters and clean air. I have depicted this in the form of three human hands representing vegetation, water and wildlife respectively. It is with our very own hands that we can paint our beloved planet with these colors of Mother Nature and make it a better place to live in. For it is air that moves us, fire that transforms us and water that shapes us. Let’s nurture nature for a better future.

Like I said before, this artwork is still in the making and this post is meant to be an insight into the creative process behind it. My next post will hopefully feature the finished piece where I will delve into the technique and medium I have used. Should also have a title for the artwork by then but am open to suggestions, so do share your ideas in the comments sections below! Cheers and watch out for more!!   

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“et ressurectionis”

Hey folks! After a hiatus of two weeks, I am resurfacing with a new post! Finally got a chance to get back to the drawing board after a long long time, so the artwork I am sharing in today’s post not only serves as a comeback to my blog but also to my art!

“et ressurectionis”

I call this one “et ressurectionis”, which is Latin for resurrection. This artwork is once again inspired by the present Covid-ridden scenario that our world is relentlessly fighting day and night. It has been almost a year since we have been in the clutches of this dreaded virus. While we continue our attempts at understanding this miniscule yet powerful entity, it in turn has taught us a lot of valuable lessons, not just physical ones, but also on a spiritual level.

Thanks to the corona virus, mankind has been restrained to the confines of his four-walled dwellings like never before. This alone time, or “Me time” as I like to call it, has given him the opportunity to contemplate and retrospect on what he was, what he has become and what he should actually be. It has given him a chance to delve into the depths of his psyche and confront the real pandemic that has been plaguing mankind for centuries – his own vices, namely anger, violence, greed and his lust for power as well as wealth. Not only is he fighting a deadly biological contagion, but also an intangible one, that is far bigger a threat to the existence of the human race that the organic pathogen itself.

This artwork is a representation of man working towards his long impending goal – to break free from the shackles of his own vices and emerge renewed and victorious not just from the pandemic, but also himself. The blue phoenix in this painting is a personification of mankind reborn after it succeeds in purging the pathosis that’s decomposing his humanity along with the physiological affliction that’s wearing him out physically, for a blue phoenix  is a symbol of rebirth, a return to being, and a new spiritual path.

The phoenix teaches us not just to let go of our old self and our limiting self concepts, but also inspires us to embrace and accept the new us that is abound with all the goodness in the form of virtues that have been listed on the feathers of the phoenix in this artwork.

In times of doubt and confusion, the blue phoenix symbolizes strength, transformation and renewal. For only from the ashes of who we were, can we rise up to become who we are to be. That is how we are rediscovering ourselves as we get past COVID-19.

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Art and Faith

The marriage between religion and art has always been one full of turmoil. There are several instances from the past as well as the present when the most artistic imagery depicting religion has been considered disrespectful or derogatory to the faith in question or has managed to create a scandal. Many artists indulging in religious art are grossly misunderstood when all they want to do is express themselves.  

This compels me to ask the inevitable question – should artists mix art and religion and if they do, should they be left uninhibited, free to explore the realms of religion through their art or should they be sensitive towards matters of faith?

Art has the capability to illustrate and express religious beliefs, customs and values through iconography and body postures. Religious paintings are personal expressions of an artist about religious themes and principles as seen through his eyes. Moreover, aided by their aesthetic skill, artists have improved our understanding of religion. They have succeeded in bringing history to life with their clever manipulation of colors, textures and styles thereby expanding our horizon about past events. Until recently, religion and art were symbiotic, with aspects of the former making up the subject matter of the latter. 

Religious art serves decorative as well as reflective purposes and its main objective is to assert a moral message of the religion it represents.   Not only does it tell the story of a religion as told in its holy scriptures, but also provides an insight into the varying lifestyles of different religious groups.  It helps in keeping religious traditions alive and visualizing religious events from the past. Religious paintings can idealize and glorify a religion and possess the power to make believers out of non believers. 

In my understanding, the harmony between art and religion ceases to exist if it is communalized. When religious art becomes a vehicle for propaganda and serves the selfish motives of fundamentalists and right wing zealots, it loses its aesthetic appeal, leading to criticism and subsequent demand for curbs on artistic expression. The line between expression of and regard for religious beliefs is an extremely thin one.  An artist needs to take care that his portrayal of religion through his work doesn’t hurt anyone’s religious faith and ideology. In order to do so, every artist needs to be open-minded and think beyond religion and politics so that his art spreads positivity.

I am also of the firm belief that if the artist is expected to revere and respect the religious sentiments of people, they in turn too need to view his art with an unprejudiced mind. If art is to achieve its purpose, mutual understanding between its creator and viewer is the key. While trying to be sensitive towards the religious sentiments of his audience, the artist shouldn’t end up curbing his artistic expression for it is he who gives visual narrative to religion and god. 

In my opinion, one must first appreciate religious art solely for its creative genius before cross analyzing its objective. While each viewer will have his or her own perspective and draw his or her own inferences from it, they must also make an attempt to see it through the artist’s eyes, without being judgmental. Religious art is the external expression of the artist’s personal vision. What the artist depicts is a rendition of his own belief and faith and a projection of the world around him from his point of view, without any intention of offending others. I believe he deserves to be appreciated for his shear artistic genius, regardless of the subject matter.

I am convinced that as an artist, while I should have the liberty to portray religion through my work, I also need to practice self constraint to some extent so that my work doesn’t hurt anybody’s religious sentiments.

What’s do you think? Do you think artists should be given the luxury to explore religion as they wish? Or should they restrain from mixing the two? I leave this post open to you all and would love to hear your point of view so do share your opinion in the comments sections below. If I get enough feedback, my next post will hopefully be a compilation of all the views I get. So fire away!!

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Where did Your Art Supplies Come From?

Since time in memoriam, art has been mankind’s favorite creative activity and we have indulged in it with the help of innumerable tools, techniques, and mediums. Most of the basic art supplies we use today have revolutionized the art world to such an extent that it’s impossible to fathom what art would be like without them. But have you ever wondered how and when they came into existence??  Here’s a history of art materials that I consider to be the backbone of the art world.

Pencil

This basic tool that makes it possible for us to give form and shape to our creative thoughts came into being due to the discovery of an unusually pure deposit of graphiteinEnglandin1564. It’s this graphite that makes up the writing part of a pencil which is commonly referred to as the “lead”. The name graphite originates from the Greek word graphein, which means “to write.” Artists’ pencils come in a wide range of hardness, depending on how much clay is used to bind the graphite.

Easel

Easels are believed to have existed as early as ancient Egypt. The first written record of an easel was by Pliny the Elder in the 1st century. In the 13th century easel painting became more popular than wall painting.

Pen

The earliest versions of pens were the brush pens used by the Chinese for writing (1st millennium BC), reed pens used by the Egyptians (circa 300 BC) and quill pensor pens made of bird feathers(7th century or earlier). Then came the metallic pens and ones with metallic nibs in the mid-19th century which didn’t have a reservoir of ink in them, and had to be dipped in inkwells. Thereafter, fountain pens, which don’t have to be dipped in ink constantly, were developed in 1884. Ballpoint pens were invented in the 1930s or 40s, and soft-tipped pens became commercially available only by the 1960s. Most pen-and-ink drawings done before the 20th century were produced with reeds or quills. Some famous artists that favored pens were Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Rembrandt, and Vincent van Gogh.

Paintbrush

Paintbrushes are one of the earliest art supplies known to have been used as early as the Paleolithic Period. Evidence of this can be seen in caves in Spain and France and in early Egyptian tombs. Paintbrushes have been made of animal fibers such as hog bristles or horsehair, and more modern brushes are made of nylon fibers, polyethylene, or even wire.

Oil paints

Until quite recently it was believed that oil painting had originated in Europe in the 11th century. In 2008 it was discovered that oil paints extracted from natural sources were used in cave paintings in Afghanistan in the7th century (around 650AD). But it was also discovered and popularized by painters in 15th century Netherlands.By the end of the 16th century oil paints replaced tempera and become the medium of choice for several artists in Europe, especially Italy. Some of the world’s most famous paintings like the Mona Lisa have been created using oil paints.

Crayon

The basic components of a crayon—wax with pigment—can be traced back thousands of years to Ancient Egypt and Greecebut the earliest forms of crayons, i.e., chalk and pastels were known as early as the 16th century. Wax-based crayons were probably developed sometime in the 19th century. The good old Crayolas used in school were invented in 1902.

The Paint Palette

In the early medieval times, artists would put their pigments into several bowls, eventually ending up mixing paints and having lots of dishes to wash. This led to the development of the artist’s palette.

One of the oldest known depictions of the palette—a small wooden disc with blotches of paint on top, appears in De Mulieribus Claris, a 1374 collection of famous women’s biographies by Italian scholar Giovanni Boccaccio. One of them is a palette in the shape of a nine-pointed star held by a female painter as she works on a Madonna and Child composition.

By the 16th century, the kidney bean-shaped palette with a hole for the thumb emerged, as seen in an engraved portrait of Flemish painterHans Bol. Rectangular palettes were also used among Flemish painters such as Dirck Jacobsz, who included one in a 1550 portrait, as did Dutch Mannerist painter Joachim Wtewael in a self-portrait from 1601.
It eventually reached other parts of Europe by the mid-17th century as is evident fromArtemisia Gentileschi’s
Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting from the 1630s and Diego Velázquez’sseminal 1656-group portraitLas Meninas. Little has changed about the classic artist’s palette since, other than the introduction of materials like plastic, acrylic, and safety glass in place of wood.

Canvas

Canvas was originally introduced in 14th-century Italy as a more affordable alternative to wood panel. However, it took centuries to catch on because most Renaissance art was made for and funded by wealthy families who preferred lavish panel paintings. Works on canvas were considered less significant and reserved for secular paintings to be hung in private summer properties. By the 16th century, Italian artists and their patrons started to realize that wood is prone to decay, and canvas became the ideal surface for painting. The best quality canvases came from Venice and eventually spread to Northern Europe, where they slowly overtook the panel tradition. Staunch panelistPeter Paul Rubens’ first experiment on canvas, Wolf and Fox Hunt(c. 1616), helped popularize it in his native Flanders, and by the 18th century it became the de facto surface for painting.

The Paint Tube

American portrait painter John Goffe Rand single-handedly revolutionized art with his invention of the paint tube.
Rand was frustrated with the shelf life of his oil paints, often finding them dried up before they were even used. At that time, there were only two options available for storing paint – in fragile glass jars or syringes, which were dangerous to carry around, or in pig bladders, which artists would fill with pigments and seal with a string. To access the colours, artists had to poke a hole in the bladder and scrape out as much paint as possible. Since the hole couldn’t be re-sealed, whatever paint they didn’t gather went to waste.


In 1841, Rand had an epiphany: Small metal tubes would make storing paints simpler, cleaner, and handier, while increasing their longevity and portability. By March 6th, he had taken out patents on these “metallic collapsible tubes,” and they soon became a hit. In 1904, British chemist William Winsor added a screw able cap to Rand’s tube, allowing painters to save colours for later use. Pigment experts could then produce and sell paints in bulk without fear of them drying out, thereby making the medium cheaper.

DISCLAIMER – All the information, data and imagery in this blog post is for informational and educational purpose only. Some images and data may have been taken from the links included below and I give full credit to these websites/pages, thereby in no way claiming them to be my own. Other data is based on my personal experiences and opinions.

Sources and Credits –

https://www.britannica.com/list/art-history-the-origins-of-7-of-your-favorite-art-supplies

https://www.creativelive.com/blog/inventions-that-made-us-more-creative/