The first painting in this group is “Girl with a Cat”. The painting is very unique because it is a mixture of folk art and cartoon. The girls eyes are big and gripping and so are the cat’s eyes. They want to draw you in and invite you into a fantasy life. The girl wears a halo of colourful grass while the cat’s hair forms a similar shape in the form of a bib around the neck. Both beings are fun to see and have a very human energy. This message of this painting is, “Do not take everything so seriously, think out of the box” .
Second painting: Carla’s Carnival. This painting has the same message as “Girl with a Cat”. However, whereas in the first painting the two subjects are pure fantasy, the girls in this painting are based on real ones who were very happy to perform in a carnival. Their joy can be seen in their faces. Look at their decorations. They have arranged everything in a creative manner to sparkle and glitter with the fun of life and the energy of happiness. Their outfits are very simple, just like in the first painting, but this does not stop the subjects from having fun for the day.
When I was making this painting I was going through a very sad time because my husband was going through cancer treatment. I had the idea for this painting before I knew that he was sick but continued with this colourful concept. Working on this painting helped me to stay positive as I put all the wonderful energetic colours onto the canvas bit by bit. Sometimes I just had 10 minutes to paint, even that little fragment of time helped me get some positive energy during that terrible time in my life.
Girl with Basket, 106.68 cm X 137.16 cm, acrylic, airbrush
This painting plays with a similar theme and colours. I was inspired to paint this girl after I had seen a poster of a Gopi from Vrindavan. “Gopis” are cowherd girls in Indian mythology. My mind was so stressed when I started this group of paintings that I did not have the energy to take on more serious work. So this series was done in a lighter vein and worked like a calming medicine for me. The girl has a basket in her hand. In it sits a little monkey who rings a bell. The monkey symbolises the Buddhist belief of the restless mind, often referred to as the “monkey mind”. The bell is very symbolic and has multiple meanings. Among other meanings, the bell rings in awareness of a higher level of reality and truth.
Whenever I had a little time and could work on these paintings, I felt uplifted. I tried all sorts of new experiments when I was making this group of paintings and entered a different frame of mind.
Sometimes, depending on what is happening in my life, I have a tendency to completely step out of the box and start making things which are completely different from what I have made before. As a result, sometimes I find it very hard to categorise the kind of work I do. In the past I did not share why I keep experimenting and branch out into different directions, creating unexpected stories using new techniques, ideas, and concepts.
My mother, who is a tapestry weaver, really liked this painting. She made a beautiful tapestry based on it that is just the same size as the original. It is included here.