Capturing the Beauty of Palitana: A Jain Temple Painting
Reflecting on the Meaning and Inspiration Behind the Painting
Hello there, art lovers! It's finally time for me to share a long overdue post about my most challenging yet rewarding work to date. As an artist, it's always a struggle to find the words to describe your own work, but this piece has been especially difficult for me to share. It took me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to my limits, but in the end, the result was nothing short of extraordinary.
They say that the greatest accomplishments in life come from the hardest challenges, and this painting is a true testament to that. It's a representation of the sweat, tears, and sheer determination that went into creating it. But through it all, I emerged with a work of art that I am immensely proud of. So, come along with me on this journey as I recount the process of creating this masterpiece, and hopefully, you'll see why it was worth every difficult moment.
More than a year ago, I had the most incredible opportunity to create a commissioned painting of Palitana, a religious place for people who follow Jainism located in state of Gujarat, India. Honestly, coming from a background with a very limited knowledge about Indian temples, I had no idea what exactly I would be signing up for before I hit that button on google search. However, painting so many temples on one canvas seemed something which was quite overwhelming and challenging, but I was up for this challenge.
After receiving the order, I stretched the canvas and got my reference images ready. I remember staring at my blank canvas for a month which turned into three and still I couldn’t pick up my brush for even a single stroke. I was so overwhelmed by the task at hand also feeling the need to train myself in specific subjects like perspective and practice urban sketching in order to improve my skills. Drawing on a large canvas can be challenging, especially when it comes to getting the proportions right, but I persisted, drawing, erasing, and redrawing until I was satisfied, which took a while.
This painting required a slow and steady pace, which was challenging for me as I am a fast and loose painter. I typically don't do details, but this painting required sharpness and precision. Even so, the stubborn artist in me did end up painting in my own style, giving it an impressionistic look. I didn't want to create a perfect picture; that’s boring. Instead, I wanted to create a space, a vision that people could visit through my impression of this place.
As I progressed with the painting, I instantly fell in love with it, and it became a labor of love. I was so grateful to the client for giving me not only the opportunity to work on such a meaningful project but also creating a process where I had the freedom to develop new skills and use them freely. There were so many impressionistic textures on the temples, giving them a three dimensional look. The warm color scheme of the painting, with yellows and browns, made me feel as though I was actually there.
Despite the delays and challenges, I managed to finish the painting and deliver it to the client, who was thrilled with the results. The painting was so large that I had to use two chairs to set it up as it didn’t fit on my easel. The painting definitely made me realise how tiny my workspace has been. I am not lying, my Pinterest is still filled with adorable and imaginative art studios that I am still fantasizing about.
In the end, it was time to say goodbye to one of the most longest projects that I have worked for. Ask any artist and they will tell you how attached we get to our paintings which is exactly what happened to me. It was difficult to let it go however I have never been so proud of any of the work that I have done on a commissioned painting. Painting Palitana was a process of falling in love, and I hope that those who view it can appreciate the beauty and meaning of this.
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Beautiful! Also very nicely articulated.