Behind the Canvas: ‘Dr. Jay’s Art’ (Q&A)

Behind the Canvas: ‘Dr. Jay’s Art’ (Q&A)

One of the most important parts of the Art Show for me was the conversations I had with the visitors, which was extremely satisfying. I have decided to post some of the most commonly asked questions that I receive about my art,

For starters, I am often asked ‘where did you learn to paint?’. From early childhood, I was drawing with pencils, charcoal, and ink, but was never encouraged to become an artist.  That was the culture. I had no access or time to paint before I came to New York City in 1975 to practice as a surgeon. Years later, I moved to Louisiana in 1981, and that was when I had all the materials and time to develop my skills. I had no formal training. Apparently, it’s just in the genes. My dad was an artist in his own merits and painted acrylics. My mother was not a painter but was excellent in arts and crafts.

Another common question people had, was in regards to my wide range use of techniques, media and subjects, and art styles. The answer to that question is simple:  I am always attempting to do something that I have not tried before.  It is also for the same reason, that I have not stuck to just still life, landscape or portraits…I try all of them!

Another question that I often received was about how I chose what to paint. In reality: I do not choose what I paint, rather, the subject needs to ‘Invite’ me to paint it.  It automatically is already challenging me to try something I have not tried before!

All my paintings are originals,[1] Recreations of photographs that I take of the places I travel. I love to take photos of unknowing citizens in common places. For example, the portraits of ‘Chellemuthu’ and ‘Venkanna’ are simply wonderful images of two poor people in India, whose faces’ describe years of hard life, without requiring any explanation. I felt as if one could literally ‘read’ their faces and know everything about them! I had more inquisitive questions about these paintings than any other…about how I was able to capture their expressions!  The portrait titled ‘Anguish” is another example of where I felt inspired to capture the emotion of the subjects’ expression. Here, it was the ‘anguish’, displayed in the face of a Haitian man as he sat outside the hospital for days, waiting for his loved ones to get well.

I also love to take pictures of natural sceneries in beautiful landscapes filled with a splendor of colors, lights, and shadows.  I think, more often than not, a bad weather makes for great scenes. I get a great variety of subjects, particularly candid pictures of people!

Though rare, I have also had a model pose for photographs, unlike my other portraits. Even then, I shun away from a ‘typical’ pose, and chose the ones that capture the moment, such as ‘The Giggle’.

As an artist, I am constantly evolving and learning new things. All my paintings are accomplished by the most generally accepted method…’trial and error’. Over the years I have become better at it and more prolific at it. Each and every painting has been a challenge for me. I spend some time critiquing a work in progress, may make small changes here and there, until I come up with the finished piece. Even then, only I alone know the mistakes and the blunders I have made.

 

In my next blog, I will demonstrate this evolution, using one of my paintings, ‘Breakfast Table’.

[1] With the exception of “Pygmalion”, which is a copy of a famous painting by the French artist ‘Jeon Leon Gerome’ which is located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York