Discovering the Artist within me (Part IV) – I am what I think.

I am what I think, and because art is an artist’s expression, my art too would have a bit of me in it. If it has then by logical extension, my art is my thoughts. When my thoughts stretch beyond the realm of cognitive thinking and spill over its boundaries, they become my feelings and emotions, so my art should also be my feelings and emotions. This is why my art would be the outcome of my past interactions with the world, for they shaped my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Some of these are buried in my subconscious, but most live in a twilight zone that exists between my conscious clarity and my sub-conscious nebulosity.

In my paintings, I sometimes return to caricatures. Mostly because the watered down version of reality that we often deal with in our lives, doesn’t let us experience life completely. Evil exists, and often its darker than black. Goodness too exists and sometimes it brighter than white. We usually choose to experience life in moderate shades of gray.

The Darkest Grays and the Deepest Blacks

A boy we’ve known from childhood can be a little wayward, but he cannot be the rapist who pulled out the entrails of a girl he violated. A bow-legged nephew who is always so charming in his manners, cannot be a pedophile who molests a woman’s daughter. An eighty year old frail woman couldn’t have gotten her sons beaten black and blue by her husband because she liked seeing her husband beat his sons whom she had hated bearing.

We choose not the believe the darkest grays and the deepest blacks, because believing would lead us to question everything around us, and our virtual safety bubble that allows us to sleep peacefully at nights, would vanish.

The Lightest Grays and the Brightest Whites

We also raise eyebrows when a billionaire decides to spend his billions in research and development that doesn’t turn his billions into trillions but helps the masses that hang from the cliff of their existence by their fingernails. We don’t trust his good intentions. We find ourselves at a loss of words when a client doesn’t try to bargain our skin off our backs.

We see the hand of God at work when anyone goes out of his or her way to help, because such bright and light grays and such brilliant whites appear impossible in our imperfect human world.

I think that as an artist I attempt to capture these two ends of the human spectrum, for what lies in the middle is a diluted version of life. I believe artists must think and feel, and then reach out to pull the two ends into their work. 

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Discovering the Artist within me (Part I) – Art? What’s that again?

Art is something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings… Merriam Webster.

By this definition, everything that’s created with imagination and skill,  and which either looks/feels good or expresses an important idea or emotion, can be classified as art. For this reason, I suppose, a piece of music that makes the listeners swing and dance (looks/feels good) is art; a caricature-composition that obviously requires a lot of imagination and skill to create and which expresses an important idea, is art; a dramatic scene in a movie that is directed with imagination and acted out with skill, and makes people bite their nails (expresses/conveys important feelings) is art.

By this definition, what may be art for you might not be art for me, for the expression must be understood and felt. By the same definition, something that’s created with imagination and skill, but is neither beautiful nor expresses an important idea or feeling, isn’t art; nor is something that’s created without imagination or skill but expresses and important idea or a feeling – (a pamphlet, a news item?)

As I go through the history of art, learning from it in bits and pieces, I realize that art is evolutionary. What is considered art at one time and place may not be considered so in another. In the late nineteenth and earlier twentieth century when art separated itself from the visual renderings of religious nature, and began acquiring a personality of its own, most of the works that were acclaimed internationally, had one or both of these characteristics.

  1. They evoked an emotional response in their viewers.
  2. They were aesthetically pleasing.

The degree to which each of these characteristics would be experienced by the viewers varies, and yet, these are the two basic reasons why people buy the art of an unknown artist. (The known artist’s work is often bought by art-investors who “invest” in the works of an artist who’s expected to become a star. These characteristics don’t matter then.)

Let us look at two interesting works. (I’m not good with the names of the art-periods and the art-schools, and as I’m studying them mostly to “feel” art, I won’t force myself to remember them.)

The Scream by Edvard Munch.

This painting by Munch reminds me of my times of hopelessness. Most of us have been through dark times in our lives, and while we could argue about the degrees of darkness that one may have experienced, for each individual his darkness is made of the deepest darkest black. Munch’s Scream for me is soundless and endless. It draws a strong emotional response from me.

And this is my response to the painting, not to the artist, nor to the artist’s own pain. I knew nothing of Munch when I had first seen an image of this painting.

The Scream definitely isn’t aesthetically pleasing to me. I won’t want it on my living room wall because every time I’d look at it, I’d be hurled back into that half-forgotten pit of darkness. And yet, for me, it’s a work of art. While it may be pointed out that it’s illustrative or even symbolic and thus doesn’t open itself to multiple interpretations, I still consider it art, for it even darkness is interpreted differently by each one of us.

American Gothic by Grant Wood.

When this painting was first displayed, it aroused emotions of different kinds. Mostly because the Iowans felt that it didn’t really depict the kind of people they were. And yet, after almost ninety years and tens of thousands of miles away, this painting still evokes an emotional response from me. It makes me think of life as a book filled with pages that the read the same throughout. It slaps me across the face to wake me up, and sends me scrambling to find a notebook or a sketchbook; it reminds me that life isn’t about living in comfort and dying within…because that’s my personal takeaway from the expressions I see on the faces of the farmer and his daughter (or Wood’s dentist and Wood’s sister.)

The emotional response isn’t as strong as the one evoked by The Scream, but it isn’t as dark either. If I could afford it, I’d love to own the American Gothic. The painting also has a stronger aesthetic dimension for me. I love the skill with which it’s painted, and I love the overall composition. The straight verticals, the neat and clean house in the background, the expressions on the two faces, the metal of the pitchfork, everything’s been painted with such finesse. I love it!

Over the next few weeks, I intend to look at other major artworks and measure my own responses to them, because I really want to figure out what my own view of art is.

Comments and suggestions to help me on this journey would be appreciated from the bottom of my heart 🙂

 

Read some, draw some, write some, but blog none? Ho hum!

I last posted about the Song of Ice and Water series by GRR Martin. I can now declare that I am two books into the series already. With the way life’s been this past month, Martin gets the credit for this feat of mine. He weaves such a complex web of tales studded with such intriguing characters, that once caught in it, you can’t leave, until you’ve traversed along every shiny sliver that holds his web of ice and water together.

So I read some.

Then I painted a magazine cover with the portraits of three gentlemen, and now I am painting another cover with a whole mad group of toony looking people on it. I got some inquiries that made me scratch my head rather furiously and lose some hair. I’m also looking forward to painting a couple of beautiful covers for SFF author Barbara G. Tarn, who is also a long time friend.

So I drew some.

I spent some time writing some short stories around the concepts that inspired my hat paintings. I should’ve been writing a new story for the new quarter of the Writers of the Future contest, but for some inexplicable reason, I was more drawn to explore the human mind and its machinations – and so ended up writing these stories, which are more in the realm of psychological fiction.

So I wrote some.

But I couldn’t blog. There are times when you want to find a quiet corner and create. I guess that the last whole month was that time for me 🙂

 

Hats Women Wear: Portraits my Heart Painted.

I am painting the fourth portrait now. I started at 2 in the morning.

I love these hats because I paint them for the creator who lives inside me. Each of these hats is special because they lack design. I haven’t attempted to channel or even hide the chaos. Each of these has evolved organically. Usually I start an artwork with a sketch  then paint over it. I do this more out of need, I’d say; when you illustrate for a publication, there’s a review process that entails an approval on the sketch. The hat-paintings are all done without a supporting sketch. I would start painting a face, expressions would emerge; I’d then read those expressions and paint a hat that told the story of the expression on the face.

Artists speak of inspiration, of a portrait that painted itself; illustrators don’t. But within every illustrator lives is an artist. I don’t meet mine very often, but when I do – I paint stuff that’s oddly out-of-place on this blog.

For those who haven’t seen the hats yet.

Hats women wear - hat number 3 - portrait art - shafali - emotional and physical abuse

 

Women Girl Portraits - Face and Hat - Depression - Digital Painting by Shafali

 

Portraits of Women - Face, profile, side face, hats that women wear - this is hat 2, the hat of ambition.

 

The hats happened quite suddenly. Then they stopped. For about three months, I didn’t paint any. Now, I’m painting them again.

I can’t explain my behavior. Perhaps you can. I just know when I must paint them – the why of the hats as well as the inspiration, evades me.

 

Creativity Carnival: Handcuffs

Dear Creative Souls,

Welcome to the sixth edition of the Creativity Carnival. 

I finished the drawing for this Carnival just a couple of hours ago.

Thanks so much for your fantastic response on the Faces Carnival. I loved reading your entries as much as you must’ve enjoyed writing them 🙂

Creativity Carnival - Blogging event for WordPress bloggers.

 

Here’s my cue-art for this week. The inspiration for this cue-art was in my environment – I just picked it up. I’ll tell you all about it in my next Carnival post. This week, this image belongs to you.

 

Handcuffs - A pen and ink drawing for the Creativity Carnival Edition 6.

The Rules are Simple.

    1. Your cue is the artwork above.
    2. You have a week to get creative and make a post that connects with the cue.
    3. You are welcome to do anything creative with the cue. Here is a list of possibilities:
      • Write a Story (tiny/short/long…whichever works for you. A tip: Shorter Stories, more reads.)
      • Share an Anecdote
      • Write a Poem
      • Draw a doodle
      • Paint a picture
      • Some other creative craft that I can’t think of – but it must explore and even extend the portrayal in the artwork.
    4. Include the cue-art in your post.
    5. Link back to this Creativity Carnival Post so that a ping back is registered. It will help other bloggers (including this caricaturist) can visit your post, like it, love it, and comment upon it.IMPORTANT:

1. Links to the pages and the home-page of a blog don’t result in a ping back.
2. Links created through an image (linking an image to a post) don’t create a ping back. (Thanks, Meghan.) 

For more details (mostly superfluous) please visit the Creativity Carnival page here.

Do tag your posts “creativity carnival”. So if you start following the tag, you’ll find the newest carnivals in your Reader.

I will look forward to visiting your blogs 🙂

And now – what inspired me to create the gun-art and what that picture means to me.

About The Faces.

Faces is perhaps my most detailed drawing for the Creativity Carnival yet. This drawing wasn’t of an object; it was of a thought. I had in my mind the image of a woman who has just started turning bitter, but who hides her bitterness beneath a tailored smile, and the roughness of her face under layers of makeup. But then, this woman, wasn’t always like this. There was a time in her life when she was happy and innocent, and her innocence made her feel compassion and love for others. Her face reflected her sweet nature – and she had no need to hide anything. Now she’s 27, then she was 16 – but the person she was and the person she now is; they have diametrically opposite perceptions of everything around them.

So you see, it was a thought. The pages symbolized the passage of time, and the faces belonged to a woman who had changed on the inside.

Those were my thoughts. Your responses were so beautifully diverse, so poetic – that they took the cue-art to a different, much higher plane. Thank you for that.

Creativity Carnival: Faces

Dear blogger friends,

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Creativity Carnival.

This has been a busy and tiring month for me, but I’ve loved creating the cue-arts for the carnival. I wait for Fridays. After spending the whole week reading your wonderful takes on the previous week’s cue-art and thinking of what I’d be creating next, I spend my second half of Thursday or the first half of Friday drawing that week’s cue-art for you. I draw for a story or a poem that I’d like to read; I draw for a picture that I’d like to see; I draw for an experience that I’d like to share. And it makes my drawing that much more meaningful for me.

I loved reading your interpretations of the gun-art. You wrote poetry that tugged on my heartstrings; crafted stories that catapulted me into a different time and world; and drew comics that made me laugh.  This week, among the wonderful responses on the Gun Carnival, I discovered a story and a poem – I marveled at how well the story “Hidden Murder” by Ruth Lakes  connected with the cue-art. The poem that touched my heart was  “Adieu…” by RS.

I’d also like to thank Stu for her post. If you want to visit the sites of the bloggers who have participated in the previous 4 carnivals, please click “Roll-up (Creativity Carnival Round-up Links.) on Stu’s blog

Creativity Carnival - Blogging event for WordPress bloggers.

 

My Cue-art for this week isn’t an object. It’s a concept. There’s a mystery in it, which you can unravel at your leisure. As always, this artwork belongs to you this whole week.

Women faces in profile on the pages of a book - pen and ink drawing for creativity carnival by shafali.

 

The Rules are Simple.

    1. Your cue is the artwork above.
    2. You have a week to get creative and make a post that connects with the cue.
    3. You are welcome to do anything creative with the cue. Here is a list of possibilities:
      • Write a Story (tiny/short/long…whichever works for you. A tip: Shorter Stories, more reads.)
      • Share an Anecdote
      • Write a Poem
      • Draw a doodle
      • Paint a picture
      • Some other creative craft that I can’t think of – but it must explore and even extend the portrayal in the artwork.
    4. Include the cue-art in your post.
    5. Link back to this Creativity Carnival Post so that a ping back is registered. It will help other bloggers (including this caricaturist) can visit your post, like it, love it, and comment upon it.IMPORTANT:

1. Links to the pages and the home-page of a blog don’t result in a ping back.
2. Links created through an image (linking an image to a post) don’t create a ping back. (Thanks, Meghan.) 

For more details (mostly superfluous) please visit the Creativity Carnival page here.

Do tag your posts “creativity carnival”. So if you start following the tag, you’ll find the newest carnivals in your Reader.

I will look forward to visiting your blogs 🙂

And now – what inspired me to create the gun-art and what that picture means to me.

About The Gun.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Nancy, bought a new gun. We were talking and she brought the gun out and we talked about it. For some inexplicable reason, an image of an engraved gun that I had seen somewhere, flashed in my mind. I asked her if she remembered such a gun and she said that it must have been a Colt. Now those guns were things of beauty. They weren’t just machines made for killing – they had a certain vanity associated with them. Right then when we were talking, I decided that I wanted to draw a gun.

But a lone gun has no story, except that of death, and a death without reason doesn’t inspire a story, nor a poem or a piece of art! A death with love at its heart; a death with revenge at its core; or even a death brought about by jealousy or greed – those deaths give us stories and poetry; art and drama.

This is the story of the birth of the cue-art “The Gun.”

I’ll look forward to your take on this drawing 🙂

Creativity Carnival: The Gun

Dear storytellers, poets, artists, writers, bloggers,

Welcome to the Creativity Carnival.

Thank you so much for your wonderful response. I loved your interpretations of the Mystery Chest so much that I visited many of the posts twice. I want to mention a response that’s going to stay with me for a while. It’s a short-story by Lydia, which you can read on her blog here.  For other fabulous responses please visit the Mystery Chest post.

Creativity Carnival - Blogging event for WordPress bloggers.

 

This week’s cue-art is a little different. After the nostalgia of the pocket-watch, the romance of the bell, and the mystery of the chest…this artwork might appear somewhat…dark. For this whole week, this gun is yours. Handle it with care. I’ll share my reason for drawing this gun with the next Creativity Carnival post.

Pen and Ink Art - Gun Drawing black and White for the Creativity Carnival.

The Rules are Simple.

    1. Your cue is the artwork above.
    2. You have a week to get creative and make a post that connects with the cue.
    3. You are welcome to do anything creative with the cue. Here is a list of possibilities:
      • Write a Story (tiny/short/long…whichever works for you. A tip: Shorter Stories, more reads.)
      • Share an Anecdote
      • Write a Poem
      • Draw a doodle
      • Paint a picture
      • Some other creative craft that I can’t think of – but it must explore and even extend the portrayal in the artwork.
    4. Include the cue-art in your post.
    5. Link back to this Creativity Carnival Post and then click on it so that a ping back is registered and other bloggers (including this caricaturist) can visit your post, like it, love it, and comment upon it 🙂

For more details (mostly superfluous) please visit the Creativity Carnival page here.


Do tag your posts “creativity carnival”. So if you start following the tag, you’ll find the newest carnivals in your Reader.

I will look forward to visiting your blogs 🙂

And now about the mystery chest that found its way into your hearts.

About The Mystery Chest

The concept of a mystery- or a treasure chest have always intrigued me. When I draw a picture, I usually have a story or at least a setting in mind. This is why you don’t see just one object in the image. You see other objects too. For instance in the mystery chest, you see an open locket with two portraits, a star-fish, some gold coins, and…something that nobody noticed. The Cryptex. It’s not easy to recognize a Cryptex, especially if you haven’t read/watched the DaVinci Code. It’s rumored to have been developed by Leonardo Da Vinci. So the mystery chest was indeed a treasure chest – and the Cryptex contained a coded message, which could be anything that your imagination would want it to be 🙂

I’ll look forward to reading your posts and visiting your blogs 🙂

Creativity Carnival: The Mystery Chest

Dear storytellers, poets, artists, writers, bloggers,

Welcome to the Creativity Carnival.

Creativity Carnival - Blogging event for WordPress bloggers.

Here’s this week’s cue-art 🙂 As always, I’ll share my thoughts about this cue-art next week. This whole week, this artwork is more yours than mine. Save it to you computer/mobile device and do something creative with it. Tell a short-story or narrate an experience, write a few lines of poetry, draw or paint something inspired by it…and then share it with the world.

Creativity Carnival - The treasure chest. A pen and ink drawing.

 

Here are a few easy rules 🙂

    1. Your cue is the artwork above.
    2. You have a week to get creative and make a post that connects with the cue.
    3. You are welcome to do anything creative with the cue. Here is a list of possibilities:
      • Write a Story (tiny/short/long…whichever works for you. A tip: Shorter Stories, more reads.)
      • Share an Anecdote
      • Write a Poem
      • Draw a doodle
      • Paint a picture
      • Some other creative craft that I can’t think of – but it must explore and even extend the portrayal in the artwork.
    4. Include the cue-art in your post.
    5. Link back to this Creativity Carnival Post and then click on it so that a pingback is registered and other bloggers (including this caricaturist) can visit your post, like it, love it, and comment upon it 🙂

For more details (mostly superfluous) please visit the Creativity Carnival page here.


Do tag your posts “creativity carnival”. So if you start following the tag, you’ll find the newest carnivals in your Reader.

I will look forward to visiting your blogs 🙂

About the Bell

The bell was inspired by a bell that hangs in my terrace. In fact, I sat a few feet from it and drew it – but I changed the context a little. I also added that little spider, because for me romance and thrill can’t exist without each other. A bell symbolizes a call for anyone, for someone. It could be used to establish a connection between two people or even between two worlds. The creeper that you see in the artwork is a stylized representation of honeysuckle – and the spider at the center of the web, waits patiently for the bee to arrive. Beyond the apparent symbolism of the bell, exists the more mundane concept of the food-chain.

 

 

Creativity Carnival: The Bell

My Dear Super-awesome Fellow Bloggers,

Thanks so much for participating in the first Creativity Carnival – The Pocket Watch. I don’t know if it was a smashing hit by general standards, but by mine, it definitely was 🙂 I loved all your creative gems – they were super-awesome.

Creativity Carnival - Blogging event for WordPress bloggers.

Here’s this week’s cue-art 🙂 Saying anything more would be wrong, so I’ll refrain from it. Instead, I’ll talk about last week’s cue-art, The Pocket-Watch, but after I’ve introduced this week’s cue-art, The Bell.


Creativity Carnival for bloggers - cue-art - the bell - Write a story or a poem, or draw/paint a picture.

 

The Rules are super-simple 🙂

    1. Your cue is the artwork above.
    2. You have a week to get creative and make a post that connects with the cue.
    3. You are welcome to do anything creative with the cue. Here is a list of possibilities:
      • Write a Story (tiny/short/long…whichever works for you. A tip: Shorter Stories, more reads.)
      • Share an Anecdote
      • Write a Poem
      • Draw a doodle
      • Paint a picture
      • Some other creative craft that I can’t think of – but it must explore and even extend the portrayal in the artwork.
    4. Include the cue-art in your post.
    5. Link back to this Creativity Carnival Post and then click on it so that a pingback is registered and other bloggers (including this caricaturist) can visit your post, like it, love it, and comment upon it 🙂

For more details (mostly superfluous) please visit the Creativity Carnival page here.


The other suggestion of tagging our posts “creativity carnival” did well with the previous carnival 🙂 If we tagged our posts “creativity carnival” we could follow this tag in our Reader too. I’ve already tagged this post and will be tagging all my weekly carnival posts with “creativity carnival” tag. So if you start following the tag, you’ll find the newest carnivals in your Reader.

I will look forward to visiting your blogs 🙂

How the Pocket Watch happened?

I had drawn that pocket-watch because the concept of time intrigues me. I often wonder who must’ve first thought of it and how difficult it may have been for humans to have reached at an understanding of life as a finite span of time. For me, the broken glass was life interrupted; the time in the watch was the opposite of a smile (10:10 vs. 3:40.)

 

Creativity Carnival: The Pocket Watch

My Dear Fellow-bloggers,

It’s time to unleash your creativity 🙂

Creativity Carnival - Blogging event for WordPress bloggers.

Let us kickstart the Creativity Carnival with this cue-art.  This is a Pen and Ink Drawing that I finished this morning. I will not speak about the cue-art and what brought it about, because I don’t want to taint your interpretation of it with my thoughts 🙂


Pocket watch pen and ink drawing - Blogging Creativity Carnival for bloggers - by shafali.

 

The Rules are super-simple 🙂

    1. Your cue is the artwork above.
    2. You have a week to get creative and make a post that connects with the cue.
    3. You are welcome to do anything creative with the cue. Here is a list of possibilities:
      • Write a Story (tiny/short/long…whichever works for you. A tip: Shorter Stories, more reads.)
      • Share an Anecdote
      • Write a Poem
      • Draw a doodle
      • Paint a picture
      • Some other creative craft that I can’t think of – but it must explore and even extend the portrayal in the artwork.
    4. Include the cue-art in your post.
    5. Link back to this Creativity Carnival Post so that a pingback is registered and other bloggers (including this caricaturist) can visit your post, like it, love it, and comment upon it 🙂

I have another suggestion 🙂 If we tagged our posts “creativity carnival” we could follow this tag in our Reader too. I’ve already tagged this post and will be tagging all my weekly carnival posts with “creativity carnival” tag. So if you start following the tag, you’ll find the newest carnivals in your Reader.

I will look forward to visiting your blogs 🙂

Let the Carnival Begin!

Mount Rushmore Art – Illustrating what the Borglums Sculpted.

Mount Rushmore is an odd looking mountain. It’s got four presidential heads so it reminds me of Lord Brahma; it also makes me wonder why George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln made it there while the other Presidents didn’t.  This isn’t the only question that makes me itch for an answer. I am also curious why people like to see their faces on the mountain.

My research reveals that even Alfredl E. Neuman (the mascot of MAD magazine) has appeared as the fifth face on Mount Rushmore. I expect others to give in to human frailties, but I had always looked up to him – and frankly, never expected this from him. I guess it was the editor of the magazine who decided the cover should show the rocky-face of this funny guy with a missing tooth smiling upon the perfect American family and Alfred had no say in the matter.

As was the case with these four Business-Stars from Arkansas 🙂 I had done this artwork for the Jan-Feb 2015 issue of the TBP magazine.  From left to right they are:

  1. Al Bell
  2. Stephen L. LaFrance Sr.
  3. Donald E. “Buddy” Wray
  4. Millie Ward

 

Mount Rushmore in Popular culture - Arkansas Business Hall of Fame - for TBP Magazine.

Now a little about this grand mountain 🙂

Mount Rushmore – Historical Facts:

  • The commissioning of Mount Rushmore National Memorial was authorized on March 3, 1925.
  • President Coolidge, then President of the United States wanted that two Republicans and one Democrat should accompany George Washington’s face on the mountain.
  • The sculpting began in 1927 and ended in 1941. It was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln Borglum. The initial rough sculpting was done using dynamite.
  • At first, they tried sculpting Thomas Jefferson’s face on George Washington’s right, but the stone there wasn’t good, so they moved the face to Washington’s left.

Mount Rushmore Faces:

The four faces are:

  •  George Washington
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Abraham Lincoln

This caricaturist has caricatured two of the four faces on the monument:

1.  George Washington

Caricature, Cartoon of George Washington the first president of the US and the architect of the American Constitution voices his opinion on gun control.

President George Washington – Actual size: 8 inches by 10 inches.

 

and

2. Abraham Lincoln

Color Caricature - American President Abraham Lincoln - Digital Painting - Shafali

President Abraham Lincoln – Actual Size at 300 dpi: 12 inches by 12 inches (the above image is cropped on the sides.)

Creating the Mount Rushmore Artwork:

Honestly, it was a challenging assignment. As a portrait/caricature-artist, when you paint faces, you intuitively dip your brush (even your digital brush) into the right colors. The texture you are looking for is skin (for portraits) and skin-nish (for caricatures) and because you’ve painted so many, you know where you are going with it. In this artwork, I had to create the four likenesses in the color and texture of stone. The details had to go, if the Mount Rushmore look were to be maintained. That and everything else, including rest of the stony mountain, the debris left from the dynamiting…was a totally new experience and a challenge that left me with a lot of new learning.

I am working on another challenge right now – and will tell you about it when I can! Until then, explore my thoughts on the Creativity Carnival and if you think you’d like to participate in it at some point in time, leave your footprints behind and follow this blog, so that the first event pops up into your Reader this Friday 🙂

A Creativity Carnival – for Artists, Writers, Poets, and other Oddballs!

Friends, I still haven’t decided upon a Feature I’d want to go ahead with, but I did have a Creativity Carnival in mind.

I trust the following image captures what I had in mind for it. I’d like to thank my blogging101 friends for their inputs on it. While I am still not sure whether this should be a weekly event, I was wondering if some of us would like to give it shot, if I started it, say, coming Friday (July 31, 2015.)

Possible rules in a nutshell (Please recommend addition/deletion)

  1. Participating bloggers will have a week to make the post.
  2. The Pen and Ink Caricature drawing will serve as a cue.
  3. Participating bloggers would be welcome to write a story, an anecdote, a poem, or even draw a picture or post a doodle in response to the cue.
  4. Participating bloggers  will integrate the caricature-drawing into their posts.
  5. Participating bloggers will provide a ping-back to the carnival post so that other participants can visit their blogs and comment, like, and socialize.

Creativity Carnival for wordpress bloggers

Should I, should I not?

I had tried it once, but such an event cannot thrive on its own. I looked at the Daily Post event form – and a Creativity Carnival doesn’t fit into any of the given categories.

If you think that you’d like to be a part of it, please leave a smiley in the comments 🙂

More later – Keep drawing, writing, and smiling!

 

Oh No! My child is an Artist-in-Diapers!!

Yesterday, once again, a well-meaning parent wrote to me about his little one…and he sent me looking for this post I did a couple of years ago. This post is for parents who believe that their little one is an artist. I’ve said it all in this post, so I won’t say it again here. If there was a way to repost the post, I would 🙂

Do read it, especially if you’ve got a little one who dabbles in colors and makes you wonder if he or she is the next Picasso.

5 Childhood Symptoms of an Artist: A Post for the Parents of an Artist-in-Diapers!

And a little something to help you overcome your art-addiction.

The 4 Types of Artists - A Verbal Caricature eBook by Shafali the Caricaturist

Click to download in a format of your choice.

Another post coming up for blogging101 friends 🙂

Finite Creatures: The Evening of the Storm (A Short Story and Ink Drawing of a Sinner)

The Evening of the Storm

(A Short Story)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Finite Creatures.”

I can’t really remember when I first discovered that our lives were finite, so I’ll take refuge in fiction and tell you the story of a girl who wouldn’t die.
 
It had happened on the evening of the storm. The townsfolk still remembered that evening. They talked about the storm and the brave truck driver who died that night.
“He died trying to save her,” said her grandfather, pointing a knobby finger at her.
“Not a drop of gratitude,” said her grandmother, adjusting her bifocals and looking across the room at Leah.
She tried to drown their voices by turning her attention to the storm that was brewing outside. Lea hated her grandparents who whiled away their time recounting events that had turned to dust, except in their minds.
She had trained herself to ignore them but she knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, especially tonight. This treacherous night looked a lot like the night that they were talking about. Before she could steel herself, the stormy night colluded with her grandparents’ conversation and pulled the plug. Memories tumbled in.
Terrible memories. Of the storm, and of death.
Leah was returning from school when the skies had turned dark. She was just a hundred yards away from home; she just had to cross that wooden bridge across the river and she would have been home. 
But at that point, right before the bridge, her memories slowed down – they turned into a series of snap-shots.
First, the cold steely feel of the knife on the skin of her throat, then the violent shove; little later a familiar smell riding on a hoarse whisper, “come with me.”
Then it all turned into a blur.
A blur of rain, the sound of clothes being torn off, a raspy voice, an unbearable stench of sweat mixed with that of rotting teeth, and throttled cries for help…
That was all she remembered of it. But the memory of the pain still made her clench her teeth and cross her legs, really tight.
It must’ve lasted an hour or more – she couldn’t remember, but those bruises were everywhere.
Later, he lay satiated on the rotting floor of the log-cabin and said in his slimy, wheezy voice, “Don’t tell anyone, or you will die.” She didn’t know then, what dying meant, but she nodded. And then it happened. A strong gust of wind was all it took. The last thing that she remembered was that the cabin shook wildly and then rotten logs under him gave way. They crumbled, then cascaded down into the wild river. The logs were swept away, but he wasn’t. She saw him impaled upon one of the jagged rocks. The overhang was all gone and she lay on the edge, face down, watching his body twist and turn as the water hit it.
She was found two days later. She didn’t tell anyone. She was eight and she thought that if she told, she’d die too. She didn’t want to die.
Leah turned and looked at the pictures on the mantel.
They were all there. Her mother, her father, and he. All three. All dead.
Caricature Cartoon of a sinner - angry mad man with a guilty conscience - fire of hell.

The Sinner

 

The Genesis of this Post:
When Lydia and I discovered that we had both used the Photo-prompt for our blogging assignment, we decided to do the assignment once again, with the correct prompt this time. So we set ourselves a time-limit of one hour for the post, in which we had to think about the prompt, crystallize our thoughts, and make the post. I overshot it by 10 minutes 😦 She was in time with hers 🙂 Please visit her blog here.

Half and Half make one Half Full – Let the Knights Joust.

Half and Half make one Half Full – Let the Knights Joust.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Half and Half.”

Where there’s black, there’s always some white; when there’s dark, there’s a possibility of light;
You may have to look for them, but in a world full of wrong, there are always things that are right.

This world is half-and-half, and until I saw this prompt, I didn’t realize that a lot of my illustrations are half-and-half too. One of these half-and-half illustrations is a two-page spread for the Talk Business and Politics magazine that has Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson jousting to become the Governor of Arkansas.

Half and Half - Daily Prompt - Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson Jousting for Arkansas Governor.

Left Half: Mike Ross (Democrat)
Right Half: Asa Hutchinson (Republican)

This image and the prompt together make me wonder:

These two valorous knights galloping towards each other with their lances targeting the other’s chest, hoping to throw the other off his stead, are the reason why this scene exists. The State Capitol building is essential to the scene because forms the quest, but why is the crowd there? The crowd is there because of the two knights. It is there to watch them joust.

And this makes me ask questions, that I admit, are totally unexpected of the happy-go-lucky right-brained arty-kinds.

  1. Why do we like to see fights? Why, we even make animals fight one another, and wager bets? 
  2. Why on one hand we cheer the winners and on the other, root for the underdog?
  3. What kind of thrill we get from seeing people spill blood or even kill one another?
  4. And if we don’t, if we have actually arrived at point in human history where our senses have become more refined and our battles are now fought with arguments, votes, and referendums, why still wars continue to rage through out the world?

I think there aren’t any answers to these questions, but we have opinions – and our opinions matter. They matter with all two warring-halves of the world – from the smallest halves to the biggest halves. Our opinions matter when we can influence the two halves and help them stand on the same side of the picture so we can help them become one. Our opinions also matter in bigger issues too as we can influence the course of history by voting the right decision-makers to the top-office of our country.

Until that happens, let the knights joust and the pugilists box.

 

Giggle-wiggle with Bernie Sanders: Why he can or can’t win?

Reblogging for my American friends and fellow-bloggers 🙂

There was a time, not in too distant past, that the only democratic candidate who registered in our minds was Hillary Clinton. Then came Bernie Sanders (Oh, he was already in the race, alright, but I am speaking of the moment when we realized this fact.)

Today, Bernie is being seriously considered as an alternative to Hillary, who he admits, he likes. But why or why not would he become the blue-eyed boy of the American public? The Giggler-wiggler takes a shifty-stance on this hot topic.

View the Original post and Funfographic here: Giggle-wiggle with Bernie Sanders: Why he can or can’t win?

Who I am and why I’m here?

More importantly…why is this post here?

This post is here because I’ve enrolled in Blogging 101 program that will run for three weeks, and this is our first assignment 🙂 I’ve already taken the whimsy in me to task, and she’s promised to stick to the guidelines. I don’t trust her, and I warn you not to trust her either.

The first question is: Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?

Answer: Bipeds are social animals. Why do you think we got up, straightened our limbs, forced our two hinds to carry our whole body weight? To free our hands so that we may use them for shaking other people’s hands. I could’ve kept a private journal, which would have been found by archaeologists in the year 3015; scanned and preserved in a 250 Zettabyte pin-drive – so that some historian could download it into her head and use it to craft time-travel stories. Oddly, that doesn’t appeal to me – I’d rather write, read, and be read, here and now 🙂

The second question (a mere guideline) is: What topics do you think you’ll write about?

Answer: No idea. I end up writing about the strangest things (People trapped inside computers, Atlantis, Tatooine, Politics, Art, Artists, Writers) and I write the strangest stuff (short-stories, parodies, serious commentary on world affairs, biographies of people who inspire/irk me.) I can, however, tell you what sort of images you’ll find here – you’ll see caricatures (people made to look funny with their features pushed, pulled, tweaked, and twisted,) cartoons (you know the stuff,) and portraits.

The third question (and a very important one) is: Who would you love to connect with via your blog?

Answer: Two kinds of people:

1. Personally, Fun-loving people – those who like to see the world through glasses tinted with humor. Who step into your world and brighten it up by their mere presence. They post a “hi” in your comments, and you grow wings 🙂 BTW, most of us fall in this category…if you think you don’t, you’ve just misplaced your humor-tinted glasses.

2. Professionally, prospective clients for my illustration-work. As an artist, I illustrate for magazines, books, and novels; and I also license my images for commercial use. I have another blog where I maintain a portfolio of my works here.

And finally,

If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to accomplish?

1. New Friends for my Heart.
2. New Clients for my Art.

Signing off…

and

going back to “Draw to Smile” 🙂

115 F, a blistered finger, and feeling blessed.

The middle of an Indian summer isn’t exactly paradise. During the two months of May and June, the fire of hell escapes from the belly of earth and smothers us with a blanket of hot air that scalds the lungs and burns the skin. The afternoon temperature hovers between 110 and 120 F – the computers heat up, and so does my direct-to-screen drawing tablet.

In the middle of all this, I find myself working on an urgent assignment that, as I will later discover, to work from 6 in the morning to 7 in the evening. I wake up, ready to go to work, hoping that I’ll be able to use the air-conditioning for those few hellish hours of the day; and then the unthinkable happens. Right at 5 AM, the power goes off! while the heat hasn’t begun to show its true colors yet, I am devastated!

As I try to introspect and reschedule my work to afternoon, wondering if sending the files to the client in the middle of the night would make any sense; I see a tiny speck of hope. “It’s a planned power-cut of 6 hours,” said the official newspaper reader of the house who is also my organized-to-a-fault much better half.

So I decide to work until the power-backup exhausted itself. No Air-conditioning – aircons are power-hogs and they aren’t plugged-in to the backup. Without the air-conditioning, my Cintiq heats up and starts scorching my fingers. A small selfish part of me keeps praying for the backup to die. It would cut this torture short and give me a temporary respite. It doesn’t happen. The tablet continues to heat up…the air around keeps pace.

The power comes back on 30 minutes earlier than expected. Awesome! A quick breakfast and I am back to work. And then it hits me. The artwork that I was working on was complex and it would take me a very long time to finish it. Especially if I took all those breaks that the Doctor advised. So I do the unthinkable – with my fingers crossed, I take my chances. I decide to work non-stop (except for the loo-breaks) until I am done with my work. I am hopeful that I’d be done by 4 PM. I strike gold – finish the sketch on time – but with an angry red boil on the side of my little finger.

I should’ve been happy that it was done – I should’ve given my tired me a break from work, but I couldn’t. All through the day, I was nagged by the thought that a part of the concept didn’t appear convincing…and I had to handle it somehow. What the client wants is something that you must create, but what your conscience suggests is something that you mustn’t ignore. So I return to my art-mate, sketching furiously – creating an option that would take out the thorn from me side. Providing a possible alternate to something that I feel may potentially harm the client, is my job – or so I think. All that extra work – Not pragmatic? Perhaps…but it leaves me more at peace with myself.

So I work three extra hours and upload the sketches by 7 PM.

Delivered as promised; delivered as it should’ve been 🙂

It made me feel good…but what made me feel blessed was the fact that this morning, I woke up feeling OK, except of course the blistered finger, which reminds me that if these tiny things are beginning to register again, I must be feeling better. I know I haven’t yet healed completely, and by working 13 hours at a stretch, I had taken a chance that I shouldn’t have. And yet…

Right now, I am feeling blessed. Frazzled but blessed.

Feeling blessed - a pen and ink drawing - shafali's art. Artists and Commissions.

Feeling frazzled but blessed!

PS: Need those gloves…pronto – and yet, a delivery deadline met so… despite a blistered finger, feeling blessed 🙂 After all Happiness is…

 

Portrait Art – Hats that women wear: Hat No. 2

Women wear different hats for different occasions and at different ages. The hats also change form on the basis of what society expects from them at a particular forum.

The hats that I paint are the ones that women wear inside, those that are made of the thoughts that crowd a woman’s mind – some of these thoughts are fearsome, others delightful; some are crazy enough to border on the loony, others are balanced and rational; a few of these thoughts must arise to meet the challenges that life throws upon the thinker, and many that are woven with the threads of the wearer’s dreams.

Here’s the second hat.

Portraits of Women - Face, profile, side face, hats that women wear - this is hat 2, the hat of ambition.

 

I leave the interpretation to my visitors as our past experiences could help each one of us interpret this hat differently.

Does this hat belong to you? or to someone you think you know well? If it does…you are right, because women don different hats at different stages and phases of their lives, and many of us have worn this hat too – not very willingly though.

The hats are still torturing me. They make me paint them…they steal my hours and my days, the time that must go into more productive affairs – and yet there isn’t much that I can do, except do their bidding.

Caricature – A Happy Gypsy: Pen and Ink Work.

When I am most anxious, I take refuge in drawing. It helps reduce anxiety, and to some extent, mental anguish and sadness too. However, the output of art created when you are anxious, comes out looking pretty random. Sometimes, I get a glimpse of hell in the soul of a sinner and I draw that; at other times, I see light at the end of the tunnel  and I draw a happy image.

The following pen and ink caricature of a happy gypsy man happened because I had to wait in an office. It helped me fill my empty minutes that could’ve come-together, gathered force, and spiraled into a twister capable of plunging me into an ocean of anxiety. Simply speaking, this gypsy guy’s laughter helped me stay happy.

Pen and Ink Caricature of a Gypsy man laughing.

Stay Happy!

I’ll publish the darker ones too…but only after I am sure that looking at them will not make me anxious…for now, it’s the gypsy guy.

And he reminds me of another gypsy…Sir Isaac Newton. More on that later.

Meanwhile, all iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners can become caricaturists by tapping/clicking here and downloading the Free Caricature Maker App Toonsie Roll on the App Store.

Icon Toonsie Roll - Caricature App for iPhone and iPad - create funny caricatures of everyone - Toon 'em all!

Toonsie Roll – Toon ’em All!