Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Watercolor Portraits by artist Hemal Paliwal

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I came across watercolor artist Hemal Paliwal's beautiful work on Instgram and it brought back vivid memories of a wonderful time spent in my boarding school art room. That art room was my retreat, a happy place where I could breakaway from teenage stress and paint my heart away. I haven't painted in a while now, so when I spoke to Hemal about her story and inspiration, I had to blog about her exquisite portraits of indigenous African people in watercolor.

The fluidity and transparency of watercolors make it one of my favorite mediums to paint with. The control over brush strokes when painting can make watercolors a challenging medium and Hemal has mastered that.

An architect by education, Hemal has worked extensively in the field of culture. Currently based in Kenya, here is what Hemal has to say about her work

"I do not have formal training in art but have always loved to paint and experiment from as long as I can remember. Somewhere in between managing marriage, kids and life in general, I completely stopped painting for almost 17 years. We moved to the beautiful town of Nairobi, Kenya a few years ago and the move helped reignite my passion for painting. Abundance of nature and the lush flora and fauna of this tropical place brings so much inspiration every single day. 

When we visited Masai Mara, I was so taken in by the beautiful beaded jewelry and colorful clothing that the Masai people wore with so much pride. Being of Indian origin I couldn't help but compare what Tribal people have so much in common, they try to live as close to nature as possible. Memories of the tribes in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Orissa, Maharashtra and even the hilly regions of India came flashing into my mind. I would say this was the starting point of my new-found inspiration.

Original photograph by Eric Lafforgue

I started to paint Masai people and other fascinating tribal portraits as well. Abundance of color in their clothing and jewelry is simply enchanting. Tribal all over the world celebrate color with such aplomb! They truly live the "handmade" life and this skill is also a part of their culture which is so delicately woven into their daily life. My subjects are usually chosen from photographs and my chosen medium is watercolor. Just love the fluidity of watercolors! I paint other subjects too but am just a bit partial to Tribal portraiture!

Original photograph from flickr attributed to " One more shot rog"

I believe I have a long way to go and I need to work more and work harder each day to try and capture the 'tribal' essence into my paintings." 

Thank you for sharing your work Hemal! 

My art teacher would always say "Painting is not photography, use your creative freedom." I love how Hemal uses her creative freedom to create such exceptionally expressive paintings. 

Here is Hemal's Facebook page
Follow her on instagram here

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