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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“Winter in March” New Work & Inspiration

good morning at home
“West Orange” 12×18″ on paper, Available

Sun pouring through the window panes. There’s still mounds of snow on the ground. Determined to remind us of a winter that overstayed its welcome. We’re in between colds and chills while enjoying short spring breaks and infrequent vacation days.

I didn’t intend on painting while I was here. In fact, I deliberately left my paints and papers at home. I did, however, allow myself some brushes tucked away in an open flap of my suitcase. I don’t know why I felt comfort packing them. I tend to overplan and get very anxious about being somewhere and not having an item I left at home or something. Maybe just having them there gave me the security of knowing if the urge to create struck me, I’d be at least half ready.

And it did. Needless to say, I proceeded to go to the art store about a week after touching down. I told myself I was going to stock up some choice art supplies I’d been coveting for months just to take back with me to Abu Dhabi. But, I knew I would be breaking them open the second I got home. And rightfully so.

I wanted a way to document the cold, the heavy snow, the excitement with each sunny day, and the faint possibility of Spring. After bearing the polar opposites in climate in Abu Dhabi, It felt peculiar to me in a way that made me understand that this “home” isn’t really my home anymore. It is more like a resting place, a collection of things and people I love and like and occasionally have the pleasure of being with until I’m back on this magnificent journey that is life. Each time I complete the 14 hour plane ride, I awake to what feels like a parallel universe and I’m in a time portal. It’s transient. And somehow I like it that way. At least for now.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 1.34.26 PM

“Winter in March” is a collection of my musings on paper and canvas board. I remember feeling fear and excitement to paint each day I created. Maybe it was the vulnerability of making work outside of the studio, or the typical feeling of “I think I forgot how to paint” once you take a week or more off. But, whatever it was, I tried to step out of my way as much as possible and let it flow. I experimented with materials and tools that I don’t normally use, like a silicone wedge to create marks in my art, and pan pastel. They are lush and beautiful. I have much to learn.

In this series, I got to experiment with pan pastels, soft pastel sticks, and new substrates.
In this series, I got to experiment with pan pastels, soft pastel sticks, and new substrates.

For my US art lovers, you can purchase any of these pieces and it will ship free domestically for a limited time only. I figured I would offer this freebie since most of my work is created and sold in the UAE. This will make for a nice change.

I will be adding more to this series for as long as I am able in my final two weeks here. Although, I am enjoying the slower days and savoring the very last days of my vacation and time with family. So far it’s been lots of pizza, trips to Whole Foods, and hanging out with my siblings who are pretty much my favorite people.

Be blessed. Love art xx

Amira

http://www.amirarahim.com

Updates from NJ: Latest Veiled Figurative Originals

Hello, hellooo!

I’ve been home now for about 2 weeks and getting pretty cozzied up in my hometown of NJ. Weather’s warming up (yay) and the pizza is better than ever.11008396_464456390375173_954135187563293803_nI recently shared my latest collection of veiled figurative women via my newsletter.

They are ghostly, secretive, anonymous, mysterious, feminine, serene, and beautiful all at once.

And here they are. You can click on each image to take you to my store. Most of them are already gone (love you wonderful art lovers!):

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“The Council” 24×31″ diptych, acrylic on canvas, SOLD
"Red Summer" 16x20" acrylic on canvas, Reserved
“Red Summer” 16×20″ acrylic on canvas, Reserved
Bridesmaids_amira-rahim_web
“Bridesmaids” 24×24″ acrylic on canvas
"The Wedding II" 24x24" acrylic on canvas, Available
“The Wedding II” 24×24″ acrylic on canvas, Available

That’s all. It’s important to remember to see the positives in anything. I love being able to interact directly with the people who love and collect my art. Nothing beats that in my opinion. So, I was happy to list them on my website as soon as possible. Several people already expressed interest in these new pieces and were happy when I was finally able to offer them for sale.

In the meantime, I cannot NOT paint for longer than like a week. The creative juices are flowing. So, naturally, I am on my mom’s kitchen table making little abstract paintings on paper and spreading my art gear all over the living room. Bless my family for putting up with me. Thankfully, they are loving the colorful messes popping up and freely offering their art critiques. It’s been fun. (Peek on Instagram @amirarahimart or search #amirainNJpaintings)

More on that later. Life’s good. Don’t stress too much. People are infinitely kind.

Thanks for reading xx

www.amirarahim.com

Sand, Safari and Bedouins

Hey you! It’s been a sandy weekend. Abu Dhabi has seen one of the most intense sandstorms ever and left much of us indoors for the past few days. We almost cancelled our safari booking, but decided to just bear the brunt of the storm and hope for the best.  Fortunately, I was able take advantage of one of my last few days in Abu Dhabi before vacation and enjoy a traditional desert safari. In a few more weeks it will be too hot to bear!

The camels, dunes, and blanket of stars at night made for an unforgettable experience. Here are some of the photos from yesterday.

 

The timing couldn’t have been better. I am diving deeper and deeper into my collection of figurative abstract women and I managed to complete a set of Bedu women on canvas.

"Bedu 1" 20x30" acrylic and gesso on canvas, SOLD
“Bedu 1″ 20×30” acrylic and gesso on canvas, SOLD
"Bedu 2" 20x30" acrylic and gesso on canvas, SOLD
“Bedu 2″ 20×30” acrylic and gesso on canvas, SOLD

I am happy to say they have already gone to a swift and trusty collector of mine (thank you, if you’re reading!). I will be doing more with this motif in the future. I love the monochrome scheme for this theme, and I think it lends to the nostalgic quality of these figures that move me so much. I may also explore them in red.

If you have any feedback or more ideas, feel free to share in the comments below!

Dark and Moody: Latest Paintings

"Copacetic" 24x36" acrylic on canvas SOLD
“Copacetic”
24×36″ acrylic on canvas
SOLD

 

 

 

"We had a chemistry"  30x40" mixed media on canvas Purchase
“We had a chemistry”
30×40″ mixed media on canvas
Purchase

If last week was orange and juicy, this week is dark and moody. I’ve been in a deep blue kind of zone and I can’t say it’s not good here. Here are two of my latest abstract pieces. Click the photos to learn more.

Thanks and have a good week!