Facing a Fear: Small Abstracts

Hi there,

I came back to Abu Dhabi last week and so happy to be back. I’ve been busy doing housewife things like organizing closets and picking out duvet sets, etc. Blah blah. But in the process, I’ve developed a newfound respect for being more organized. I have been on this organization rampage and my studio is not exempt! Happy to say it’s almost up to par and ready for me to make some big moves this month.

As with any break, the trouble of starting back up again in the studio can be daunting. So, I decided what better way to ease into the swing of things than by starting small abstract paintings on canvas.

I’m pushing for color these days. Maybe it’s the shuffle & transition of leaving one home for another, the coastal, desert landscape, or just my own form of mood management, but I want to see more bright and saturated color these days. Bright pinks, impossible greens. I want it now but I know it will take weeks maybe to bring it out of me. It’s hard sometimes to go bold. Here is my first attempt. It’s a small abstract (40x40cm), something I struggle with now as I continue to create larger and larger works of art.

Why do I struggle, you may ask? Well, it’s hard to maintain control of an abstract piece when the canvas is so small. It can easily get crowded. I lose sight of focus. The paint takes for ever to dry. Etc. Etc.

This piece was actually prompted to get this done early in the morning. I work up at 4am for suhoor (a pre-dawn meal prior to fasting). And, true to form, I could not get back to sleep in the morning. My mind is far to active or inspired when I first wake up. I was wondering, specifically, if I could use purple as a neutral. Strange thoughts in the AM, I know. But, I was considering the possibility. I know it’s a color and generally, when you think neutrals, you think grays and beiges. But, if it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is that a color is only as relevant as the color next to it.

Here’s the piece, and here is my progress shots along the way.

I also decided to experiment with some of my new materials, including Krink paints and Posca acrylic markers. The verdict? In love!

I like to first mark the canvas with a few lines. Just making the space less empty. Some like to tone the canvas. This is also helpful, especially for more figurative painting. For abstract pieces, I tend to dive right in, though.
I like to first mark the canvas with a few lines. Just making the space less empty. Some like to tone the canvas. This is also helpful, especially for more figurative painting. For abstract pieces, I tend to dive right in, though.
progress shot_amira rahim
I mixed a few cool colors on my palette and then went in establishing some forms using my favorite flat brush.
See what I mean? It get's busy really fast with the smaller pieces. This will definitely get toned down.
See what I mean? It get’s busy really fast with the smaller pieces. This will definitely get toned down.
I move right in with my new Krink acrylic paint marker. This teal color grabbed me and boy is it beautiful. It has a nice sheen to it and it drips on the canvas just the way I like my paints! It's a keeper.
I move right in with my new Krink acrylic paint marker to mute out some spaces. This teal color grabbed me and boy is it beautiful. It has a nice sheen to it and it drips on the canvas just the way I like my paints! It’s a keeper.
I added a few lines and muted out some spaces. I like the moodiness of the piece. It's not as bright as I would have hoped but..
I added a few lines and muted out some spaces. I like the moodiness of the piece. It’s not as bright as I would have hoped but..
progress 7 amira
Here’s a shot of the piece hanging on my newly covered canvas walls. I’m happy with the use of purple in this piece. And I enjoy the sense of control that the bars of paint achieve. I will be creating more pieces like this over the coming weeks. Stay tuned, I’m just warming up!

Thanks for reading. As a note, this is my blog. To visit more of my work, please go to my official website at www.amirarahim.com.

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“Orange Attack” New Original Abstract Painting

"30x40" acrylic on canvas, Available
“30×40” acrylics and gold paint on canvas, Available

Heyyyy, feeling orange? I don’t know why, but I’m obsessed with orange! I think it’s my aura color. I remember one time in 8th grade I planned for weeks one outfit. I had orange nail polish. Orange shoes. Orange shirt and pants. Basically if it came in orange and could be put on my body, I collected it. I wore it all on one day, and I’ll never forget walking onto the block of my middle school only to see a group of men in orange prison jump suits dutifully collecting the trash (tells you something about my school’s neighborhood right?). Aren’t you glad that whole matchy-matchy trend back from grade school is over?

"Orange Attack" 30x40" acrylic and gold paint on canvas, Available
“Orange Attack” 30×40″ acrylic and gold paint on canvas, Available

I started this painting in August last year, right before my 26th birthday. It has oozes of pinks and purples but from the beginning, it was clear that orange was going to be the winner here. I justttt finished it up today during my open studio session (thanks guys for painting with me). I love it for what it is, and what it’s not. It’s not serious or overly worked. It’s fun, upbeat, and makes me smile.

Side note: I had an amazing consultation with an award winning artist early this morning. I was so excited to get her expert advice, and boy was this consult needed! We talked for almost 2 hours on the next steps to take in getting my art out there and into the world (yes!). I can’t wait to start implementing all of her great tips and suggestions to connect with more fans. And, in the short term, my website is about to get a ma-jor facelift! Ahh, whoever said artists just sit in the studio all day smoking cigarettes and waiting for inspiration is sadly mistaken! So fortunate though for all of the clarity 2015 has brought to me thus far.

I am eagerly waiting for the chance to work on my next batch of camels and veiled women. In addition to my abstracts. In addition to living. In addition to life. Yea.

Love,

Amira

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

30 in 30: Day 15 Abstract Figurative Painting

"Tahajjud" 12x24" acrylic on canvas, Available
“Tahajjud (Night Prayer)” 12×24″ acrylic on canvas, SOLD

This is the companion piece to my previous painting. This was also painted intuitively, no sketching, no references, just imagination. I really struggled to find the faces and people in this one, but slowly it came together. I wanted this one to be a little lighter in the background, and the white motif in the upper right corner gives an illusion of light and space. As the figures began to emerge in the piece, it formed somewhat of a crowd. There appears to be smaller figures on the floor, possibly children, or women resting. And then the three standing figures in the center are facing away.

As I finished this piece, I landed on the perfect title. It reminded me of a scene in a mosque because they appear to be in prayer. “Tahajjud” is the night prayer that is prayed by devout muslims, especially during the month of Ramadan. The ghost like quality of the women is offset by burst of colors to lift the energy.

Here are the pair. I think they really complement each other and could be hung side by side.

"Sisters" and "Tahajjud" 24x24" acrylics on canvas
“Sisters” and “Tahajjud” 24×24″ acrylics on canvas

What do you see?

30 in 30: Day 12 Spunky Afro Painting

“Mimi” 16.5×23.7 Acrylics on paper, SOLD

 

Day 12 (and 13 here too).

“Mimi” is an original abstract portrait painting featuring a spunky curly girl with highlighted hair. It is completed using acrylic paints on heavy acrylic paper.

I painted this the other night and continued it yesterday in between my falcons. It was very fun and I want to do more. It’s a great way to loosen up. I mean, when did art get so serious anywayyyy?

16.5×23.7″ on paper