That Time When Suki Waterhouse Signed My Painting

So, I have been keeping quiet for weeks now and I can finally share! A few months ago, I was commissioned by The Anasya Media company to create a painting for a VIP movie screening in London, UK. The event took place on June 15th and was a massive success.

I ended up creating a massive 4ft x 4ft painting as their updated advert and statement piece. I also created some artwork that served as additional decor for the event. Some of the big names in attendance included Suki Waterhouse, the UAE ambassador in London Abdulrahman Ghanem, Almutaiwee, Sheikh Shakhbout Bin Nahyan, and Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak himself. I guess you never know where your art will take you! Here is a look at the exciting debut:

Dr. Katherine Hennessy
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak
Suki Waterhouse in attendance
Suki Waterhouse signing her autograph
I am having a really exciting time meeting new faces and saying yes to new opportunities in Abu Dhabi and beyond. Besides this, I am preparing for two events during this Ramadan as well as an exhibition in California this summer that I will be announcing shortly.


In the meantime, I am still busy in the studio doing what I love most: painting!  Here’s some of the latest pieces off the easel:

 “Sisterly Love” mixed media, 24×24″ canvas, Info

“Chosen” (20×30″ canvas) is my latest figurative painting featuring 3 women turned away. The incohesive yet subtle script and strong contrast makes for a dramatic piece, yet in a beautiful color scheme. I have not yet listed this piece on my website but if you are interested in purchasing it, please email me.
As always, thank you so much for following along!

 

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www.amirarahim.com

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New Techniques and Inspiration in the Studio

Creating art on a daily basis is no easy feat. It’s so rewarding, but can take a lot out of you and not in ways one would expect. The most obvious example is the ever-present idea of Inspiration. What is it and how do we cultivate it? Can you lose it? Can you sustain it over long periods of time?

These are the questions that I’ve been exploring lately in my own practice and I’m happy to say the results have been positive. I feel happy and healthy when I am in the studio and when I am not. Outside of the studio. This is key. Many people artists, and others alike, may think of the creative process as starting in the studio. But for many of us, it begins well before we enter our caves and grab our brushes.

I have found this increasing need to fill my artist well, as Julia Cameron discusses in “The Artist Way” (great read, btw). And part of the way I am learning to fill the well is by taking care of myself, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Traveling (or even just looking at places to travel), enjoying a slow afternoon, or spending time with family are all ways I like to recharge.

These last few weeks have been a flurry of deadlines, traveling to Oman, and preparing for a very exciting exhibition (more to come on this later). In between my “have-to’s”, I’ve also been painting a series of camels, giraffes, and more abaya women, just because it brings me joy and it’s fuels me creatively.

But, that’s a lot of canvas. That’s a lot of painting. Some days I get stuck. I feel frustrated, and I know it’s time to take a break. Go have a cup of tea or meet a friend outside for lunch. It’s a give and take.

I’ve been really excited, however, at this increasing interest in textiles and patterns. I’ve been watching and reading about surface pattern design from a distance now for the past two years. It’s fascinating to me how illustrators can turn a drawing into a vector and repeat pattern and then have it placed on a product. What artist doesn’t want to see their art go as far into the world as possible? While I have a strong handle on illustrating and I never shy away from drawing, design seemed way out of my reach, like some luxury item only for a girl to dream of.

Until recently. I am finding ways to incorporate pattern and texture into my work in ways I could have never anticipated. I am able to work out some of the imagery that’s been playing in my mind now for months and this is only the beginning. I am adding to my visual vocabulary daily, and quite frankly, it’s torture! I have soooo much buzzing on in my head but it just needs an outlet, some graphic design, and lots of planning. Patience, Amira, patience (never been my strong suit).

Here are some of the fun things I’ve been doing in my latest release of paintings, coming soon:

Stencil

I find these arabesque Islamic geometric art very inspiring. I am trying to incorporate this all. This picture is from my recent trip to Oman.
I find these arabesque Islamic geometric art very inspiring. I am trying to incorporate this all. This picture is from my recent trip to Oman.

Stencils and giraffe

 

stencil and camel

Collage

 

 

Collage work in my upcoming abaya paintings. These are found papers featuring Klimt.
Collage work in my upcoming abaya paintings. These are found papers featuring Klimt.

 

Collage work in my upcoming abaya paintings. These are found papers featuring Klimt.
Collage work in my upcoming abaya paintings. These are found papers featuring Klimt.

 

And of course, playing around with gold leaf. This is from my last commission of a Bedouin woman.
And of course, playing around with gold leaf. This is from my last commission of a Bedouin woman.

Modeling Paste

Modeling paste is applied to my canvas using a palette knife. It is a very nice ground for painting on and the end results are quite stunning.
Modeling paste is applied to my canvas using a palette knife. It is a very nice ground for painting on and the end results are quite stunning.
You can see the effects on a piece almost finished. It creates this sense of delicacy and texture that I really enjoy for this series.

 

IMG_0027

 

So, these are just some of the things I’ve been adding into my art practice. Would love to know what you are doing differently in your art practice if you’re an artist. And just in general, if not, how do you recharge and get inspired after a burnout?

Follow your bliss, be a rebel

Hey!

"Rebel" 28x30" acrylic on canvas, Available
“Rebel” 28×40″ acrylic on canvas, Available

So the 30 in 30 challenge is officially over! I managed to complete 28 paintings in the month of January, more than I probably ever did before. Each week was a new experience, a new interpretation of my initial motivation to paint faces. Many of you purchased these paintings, commented and liked along the way. So, thank you so much for your patronage and support!

Today, on the first day of February, I wanted to share with you the latest painting off of the easel. It was actually painted over an older painting that I did a few months back. I didn’t mind at all. Sometimes, you have to destroy a perfectly decent painting to get to a better one, right?

This piece was created with hope and perseverance. I returned home from a rough day of trying something completely out of my creative interests. I learned that you have to stay true to yourself, even if it makes you the odd ball out.

Sometimes, it’s okay to get it wrong. To freely go after what moves you. I think it’s the rebels in this world that make the change. And so, I named this painting “Rebel” after my own heart this weekend, for surprising me with how fearlessly it dared to be itself.

Thanks for reading xx