A tough subject…

By | June 9, 2022

Some paintings flow naturally from my brushes, others engage me in a veritable struggle. A while ago someone suggested that I could use my extensive travel experiences as inspiration for paintings. It was a good idea and the first thing that came to mind was a scene I witnessed in Nepal.

The ‘sun-beam’ child in a Nepalese hut. Not only was this a hard subject to paint, it was also almost impossible to photograph due to the visible texture of the canvas pad. Which is a lot less obvious in ‘the real thing’. I worked on the hair with a pallet knife to create some real texture, for a more realistic feel of the hair and how the light hit it and threw shadows on the faces.

During my trek to Everest Basecamp, I passed by many villages with clay huts and open doors. I would often steal a look but most of the time the interior was too dark to make out any details. But in one village something caught my eye. In the periphery of my vision, I saw beautiful sun rays hitting the dark interior of a small house. I wanted to capture it, but my equipment at the time did not do very well in poor light conditions. The shot was blurry and badly exposed.

After making the shot, I was ready to continue walking when suddenly a small girl jumped right into the sun rays that lighted her just beautifully, giving her a crown of white light. And within seconds I noticed that her mom was there too, in the background. They were giggling and I think they thought I was a funny, weird person to want to take a picture of their hut. The scene was adorable and so I tried to take a quick shot of that as well. It never produced a good photograph either, but I never forgot the circumstances. Oh what could I have done with my new mirrorless gear, that is dramatically better at producing a good shot no matter what the light is like!

Due to my travels, many things are in storage and my Nepalese photo album is one of them. But I did scan the negatives. Using Photoshop, I adjusted the exposure so that I could have a better view of the blurry mother and child and I decided to try and paint the situation. With a lot of artistic freedom, not worrying too much about the likeness or the exact details in the scene.

Wow, this was one of the hardest challenges in painting up until now!

What you see on this page is my 4th effort. The trouble was not so much in the two people, but in getting the sun rays to be as they were, that day. Not bright strong, but transparent and dusty. I researched the internet for techniques, I asked some fellow artists for their ideas, but in the end I had to find my own way. Sun rays are usually painted in landscapes and the laws of the light that apply there are completely different from those of the light hitting a dark interior.

I am not sure this will be the last time I paint this scene, maybe in future I will try again, but for now I am happy that I am getting close to the ambiance of what I saw that day. I hope you enjoy it!

2 thoughts on “A tough subject…

  1. Twicsy

    Excellent site you have here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like
    yours these days. I truly appreciate people like
    you! Take care!!

  2. Nicky Post author

    Hi Twicsy,
    You have the honour of being the first public comment on my artist’s blog.
    Thank you for your kind words. Considering that I am not a native speaker I received your comment as a really big and humbling compliment.
    I hope you will keep reading and that you like the art as well!

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