In these three ongoing bodies of art I have experimented with various light sources for still life and figurative painting, such as using north light, a variety of bulb temperatures, and color film. I have discovered a new joy for oil painting alla prima while learning to use color to “turn on the light” from Henry Hensche’s color perception ideas. These concepts are taught at Studio Incaminnati in Philadelphia, where I have studied under many of the Master Artists in workshops and also brought the artists to provide In our Town Workshops at MOCA.
For personal reflection on my life, I have also been working on a series of "vanitas" or paintings featuring “the elephant in the room” concept. The word vanitas means vanity and corresponds to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits, as presented in Ecclesiastes in the Bible. The objects chosen for the still life arrangements are from the repertoire of Nepalese things that had been on display on my family’s mantels, coffee tables, bookcases, side tables, and elsewhere around my household while growing up. They were collected by my parents, who lived with my two older sisters in Nepal in the 1950's before tourism became popular. My parents had memories and related tales about each object! I was always the odd third daughter who could only say I was in Nepal by conception, yet the only daughter given the name Devi, Goddess of Creation and Destruction.
These distinctive household items symbolically both bind us and separate us as a family. But my true identity for me and our designated roles were not revealed until after the passing of my parents. So these objects comment in a personal way about my family dynamics and reveal understandings both of the past and present, of eastern culture and western thought, which surrounded me growing up; thus, “the elephant in the room.”
Painting directly from life invigorates an emotive quality for me as I get in my zone, silently interacting with the person in front of me, trying to capture at that precise moment of time what I see and feel. As I begin to make my first brush lines of gesture, it is my foremost desire to reach an authentic likeness. These paintings begin from the method I learned at Studio Incamminati in a gesture of straight lines searching for the shapes and proportions that are crucial for a likeness. The start predicts the outcome and is vital to the final painting. I am also interested in painting the light -I interchange using both North Light and Warm halogens, sometimes adding colored gels to create the light I want for that painting.
The energy you expend in keeping up with your goals at each sitting creates the dialogue of emotions that goes down in color strokes and details. A picture does speak a thousand words. I hope my art speaks to you.
When I don’t have a person to paint, I practice with self-portraits as well as still life’s that I call my personal Vanitas. I use objects taken from my childhood and surroundings that speak of family and roles I had in different stages of my life, but in reflection, I work out historical family differences of perception.
I also have been using my imagination and photos to create new art with a purpose and dialogue while still using Contemporary Classic realism, a series I call Biblical Surrealism, using selective references from the Bible which are pertinent to today.
Devi currently teaches art classes in her studio to young and older adults to inspire the artist within each person and to teach the necessary fundamentals of various art media. In Devi’s own words: “I give my students diverse, inspiring insight with balanced, integrative, creative expression through teaching the elements and fundamentals of art, as I have spent my life relearning and pursuing what I needed as truth in order to make my art.”
Contact me if you are interested in purchases for people or pet commissions.