Two Ducks (2020), 2.5×4 ft, Camlin moulding white, acrylic paints, airbrush
Long ago I made a little pond in my front garden with the hope that wild birds would come to enjoy the water and stay with us. I am happy that my dream was realised. From a barren piece of land with four stunted trees we created a garden with hundreds of trees swaying in the hot breeze. Leaves floating here and there.
Every day a bit of water is pumped from under the ground into the pond. Now the pond is actually not so little. Wild ducks, kingfishers, parakeets, Indian cormorants, birds of paradise, colourful pigeons, and even a hornbill visit us.
These two wild ducks represent my husband and l, the creators of this abundance. Just like these ducks, both of us have become migratory birds, flying to better climes at different times of the year. This painting represents the shift in our lives and our roles.
I have meditated for many hours at the edge of this pond, looking into its waters. The reflections move as the birds enjoy the water, the wind adding its own ripples. Spending time with the birds, water and surrounding trees is peaceful and beautiful. Lately I have been more fascinated with that experience because I am not spending as much time in my home in Delhi. To extend the feeling, I decided to make a painting of the ducks that live in the pond.
I also thought of a new way of expressing the rippling water in my art. For the water I used thick Camlin acrylic paints applied with a palette knife in thick white texture. Then I applied emerald and other blue colours on top of the white dried surface. When all this was dry, I dipped a cloth into the paint that was watered down to the thickness of ink. Then I applied it in a half circle motion for the ripples. I wiped the excess liquid before this layer could dry properly producing an ombre effect.
The two birds were first airbrushed then the detailing was done by hand over that surface. Then again another layer of airbrush was applied and the final effect is what you see now. There is a big visual contrast between the thick application of paint and the very thin paint technique used for the birds.
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.