Laure Ferlita (LF): First, Brinda, wow! You've done it! You completed the challenge in just eleven months. Looking back, what did you hope to get out of the challenge when you began 11 months ago?
Brinda Crishna (BC): I think there were two main things. First, I thought that by setting a time limit and putting down a target of work to be completed, would ensure that I did paint regularly. I have a very busy schedule with work and other family commitments that I tended to put my painting on the back burner very often. The second reason was that I felt that by putting down a quantum of work, I should definitely be able to improve my painting skills. I valued looking at what other people did and the comments that people make and it has certainly helped me in my work.
LF: What was your most important "learning" from participating?
LF: This type of challenge takes a lot of commitment. What were some of the challenges you've faced with the 100 Painting Challenge?
BC: I think time was really a factor. I have a job that takes up a lot of my energy (I run a charity that works with deaf kids and their families in some of the poorest and most remote parts of India which means I travel a lot). I also have a lot of personal family commitments. Finding unfettered time was a HUGE challenge.
The other was a more personal attitudinal one. I found it difficult to give time to experimenting and to actually practice painting…different techniques, ideas, things that other artists suggest.
I am an impatient sort of person….need to get things done quickly, but well. I will never compromise on quality! Comes from having run a full house and brought up 4 lively kids, house pets, a very energy consuming job and supporting my husband in his!! So this has certainly affected the way I paint as well. Quickly, but it needs to be good! The challenge was to actually slow down a little, as some bits of work certainly benefit with detail and thought. My painting of the Tiger Nest Monastery given below certainly proved that.
|Tiger Nest Monastery by Brinda Crishna|
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BC: There have been times when I have actually had to force myself to stop doing something else, and take time off to finish a bit of painting. I realized that I would have to consider this painting time a priority, so I have allocated a little time 3-4 days a week which is ‘my painting time’. My husband knows it, the kids don’t call at that time and I switch off my phones! It has worked amazingly well.
I am definitely practicing a lot more now, spending time in looking at techniques and not being so afraid to experiment.
I think I haven’t really overcome the third one yet….not sure I ever will, but am definitely being more patient and giving time to put in details!
I have stayed with this challenge because I have seen the tangible improvement in my work. I have kept a record of my first challenge picture to my last, and I can see the improvements! People’s comments and encouragement was such a sure way of spurring me on as well. I made friends with like minded people.
Have to also give credit to my family, who were delighted that I was taking on this challenge, and were ever so encouraging with ‘Mom…how many to go’ and so on!LF: I know that incorporated what you've learned from the 20 Minute Challenge into your painting style and it has helped you in many ways—can you tell us how and what difference it made?
BC: What I have learnt and continue to learn with the TMC is to focus on what is most important in any picture one wants to paint, be it the image itself, or the colours or the lights and so on. I look at what I want to paint for a while focusing on the details, and then work quickly completing the work in 20 mins. When I first started painting, I would want to put every thing into the picture, for example if a plant had 6 leaves, I would want to put that in, but I soon realized that it wasn’t necessary, and my personal style seemed to be more with impressions. My TMC picture of these glads proves that!
|20 minute sketch of gladiolas by Brinda Crishna|
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BC: I will probably join this challenge again….not immediately but in a while. I want to try and work with water colour portraits in the future so this will definitely be a good way forward. Immediately though I want to get some pictures ready for a first exhibition…..maybe use it as a way to raise funds for my charity!
LF: I look forward to your return to the challenge! What advice would you give to anyone who was thinking about starting the challenge today?
BC: Go for it! Just paint and post! Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone and try something different. Its an amazing learning experience and so liberating. Any challenge certainly requires self discipline…and that is a trait that adds value to an artist!
BC: Just a big thanks to you and everyone else who has contributed to my learning. I cannot express enough how important it is to take a few minutes to comment on another’s picture. Most of us artists work on our own, often in isolation, being able to share is a huge incentive to continue painting.
Brinda, thank you for sharing your thoughts and beautiful work with us for the last year! I look forward to seeing you return to the challenge. Meanwhile for anyone who would like to visit Brinda, please visit her blog here. Again, please join me on congratulating Brinda on a job well done!