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Translating photos into paintings – Nejal Mehta.

“Over time and especially this past year like for many, the spaces and environment I’ve been confined to have played a significant role in the way that I create art. These paintings are a direct response to my surroundings, energies, frustration and motivations. Things we see every day and not actually see. Is there ever enough time in our everyday experience to pay attention? Moving to my family home after being hit by the pandemic, I was left with no choice but to find my place here. The people I involuntarily shared the space with also became the most evident subjects of my paintings.

When given enough time, when the mind begins to fall into stillness, the stillness begins to come to life. An old chair becomes new, a seat cushion rediscovers new patterns. My brother who is not a conversationalist became a quiet studio companion as he sat for me. While his wife in her nap time, the only time to rest with their two-year-old, she let me paint her and watch her.

This opportunity to slow down gave me a chance to take notice of changes, how light moves during the day, the decaying of leaves and sprouting of new buds; the way that things seem to take a new shape when our gaze shifts. We might feel that the object we are seeing has changed, but rather it is we who have changed.

This is a collection of small gouache and oil paintings. The interior scenes in the gouache are painted at the beginning of this year also when I travelled for the first time since the pandemic. The family portraits of everyday scenes showing the figure in quiet contemplation are larger paintings done in oil over multiple sessions from life.

I mostly paint from life, but I am developing and understanding the use of photographs in my painting process and ways to translate photos into the language of painting without imitating what I see!” – Nejal Mehta

Nejal is a B.Sc. graduate in Economics after which she took a drastic turn and decided to study painting. She went to Los Angeles to study Fine Arts and went to further her study in Classical Drawing and Painting at The Barcelona Academy of Art. She currently lives and paints in her family home in Pune, India.

This story is a part of our new series: Artist Speakeasy. Through this series, we encourage artists to write about their work with full freedom, and with no editorial influence.

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