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My Blog | Artist Geeta Pattanaik

Painting the lake at Fairmount Park

Painting "Lake view" 2

Painting the lake at Fairmount Park

Today I painted the lake at Fairmount Park along with my friends from PAAR ( Plein Air Artists of Riverside). It is one of our favorite places to paint locally as there are a variety of views to choose from. Later that morning sail boats came out in force, but I had already finished my painting by the time they came.

The beautiful travel painting set I was using was a very generous gift from the well known company called Cheap Joe's Art Stuff. They sent it me to try out, after I was awarded Signature Membership in the National Watercolor Society in 2016. The colors are excellent and the set has a sturdy but light construction with a lot of thought put into how it can be used. There is a little ring to put one's thumb through, so the palette rests on one's hand comfortably and there are many small sections in the fold out palettes so the colors do not mix together. There are six larger pans and twelve smaller pans of color. One can always refill the colors when they finished. I would recommend it to anyone for plein air painting, or to take along while traveling.


Painting at Crystal Cove, July 2017

Fun day at Crystal Cove copy
Painting the beach at Crystal Cove 2017

Painting at Crystal Cove, July 2017

I went with Cathi, a friend from PAAR (Plein Air Artists of Riverside), to paint at the beach and despite all my attempts to reduce a lot of gear, I did manage to carry too many things(everything, including my kitchen sink, it seemed like, when I carried them into the bus from my car). There were a few people at the beginning of my time painting, then people put up lots of shelters from the sun and my view was totally blocked. It was a good thing I was quick to complete my painting, which is on the bench in the second photo. I took a bit of time to do the waves, which were completed last. Between the time I started and when I finished, the waves were much larger, and people were keeping away from them. There were helicopters above, as sometimes they scour the coastline for sharks, to warn bathers and surf boarders.

Painting at Warrendety, Melbourne

Painting at Warrendety, Melbourne

Painting at Warrendety

On a recent trip to Melbourne, my sister, Pushpita, and brother-in-law, Sanjaya, planned lovely plein air painting venues for me and for her. She did sketching and I did sketching or painting. This was a scene near the Yarra River at Warrendety, a very leafy area. There was a bridge with lots of tree stumps and broken branches to add to the beauty of the place. I always pack my painting things before my clothes and this small set up is good enough to complete some finished pieces. I had about an hour to pick a suitable view, find a seat and get a small painting done, while talking with the lovely passers by, and be congratulated by a group of 14-15 year olds for my painting (one of them giving me gentle pats on my shoulder for the work I was doing). One merges into the spirit of the place when one observes all the details of the scene, the smells, the sights and the sounds and how they fit into each other to form the unique place. I always remember and acknowledge J. Krishnamurthy for his encouragement to actually open one's eyes and not just "see" in a passive way.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to see and do some unique things in this gracious city, thanks to Sanjaya and Pushpita, who found out what we wanted to do and made it possible, and not just take us to the usual spots tourists see. My mind and my camera are still brimming with the images from this memorable trip my daughter and I took to mainland Australia and the extended trip to Tasmania. It is one of the most memorable trips I have ever been on.

Three pots (plein air painting)


Plein air painting in my backyard

Geeta's painting of three pots

One does not always have to travel far to get an inspiring subject. This one is in my backyard. I liked the different colored flowers planted in different sized pots in the natural setting, but the shadows with the holes where the sun came through the stands and the single solar light, spoke to me… somethings were natural and somethings man-made. Just the right mix. Many of the principles of composition just came together very easily in the painting.

I spent three mornings painting it from the shade of the patio, so the sun was not in my eyes, but the shadows under the subject were the same each day. It is done in watercolor and is 24" x 18". I did not paint the entire background, but blurred it with suggestions of plants by painting negatively, so they are not the exact same things as they are in the setting. I thought it came out as well as I could paint it in 2016, and who knows, I might try it again in a couple of years from photos to get a totally different result. As long as it was my best effort and I did not skimp on time or energy when I did it, I am happy. I loved the flowers in the varied pots so much that a photo I took, went on my e-mailed Christmas card for 2016.


Painting of John Salminen


My painting of master watercolorist John Salminen

John Salminen

I was lucky enough to take a workshop with John Salminen In February 2016, please see more on my blog by clicking here. During the five days of the workshop I asked his permission to take a few photos to paint his portrait. I usually do not do portraits, but I wanted to give him a gift for all that I have learnt, reading all the articles about his work. I have pored over the articles about him and seen the step by step progress of his paintings, in many art magazines. Needless to say, I admire his work greatly, as they touch one emotionally, not just cerebrally. But during the workshop, he showed us the process he follows as a watercolorist, by planning in detail ahead, doing a detailed drawing and executing the painting swiftly and with confidence at first, then going in to do the really fine and painstaking work.

I took my time to paint it, as it would not just do to paint something that did not quite look like him. After I sent it to him, he and his lovely wife, Kathy, sent me a picture of John holding his portrait, which I painted in watercolor (16" x 12").