Story and artwork from Archanaa Panda
An erstwhile software professional, I, Archanaa Panda (from India), left my high-income job to pursue fine arts, after the death of my beloved father. I now live a much more stress-free and healthy life dedicated to improving my knowledge concentrating on portraiture and figure drawing / painting.
Art in my life – Drawing and painting and acquiring knowledge and skills for the same gives me a purpose in my life, something to aim and aspire for and keep my mind and soul active. With absolutely no prior art education or experience I left my software career in 2016 and in the last 5 years, by all feedback, reached a level that people say is amazing
Challenges in art – Local art education is not up to the standards, with covid there are challenges doing life drawing and even venturing out. Even in normal times there have been no life drawing classes and education where I live. Most of what I have picked up in portraits and figure drawing has been from international online sites, youtube videos and books of Loomis, Hogarth, etc and I practise from youtube videos of live models.
I struggle to keep my practice of head and figure drawing/painting up-to-date. If I paint a commissioned portrait, it takes me a month to get it flawless and meantime my practice suffers. I want to improve my speed along with impeccable skills so that I can do more commissions, practice and really focus on composing from imagination. I also want to paint more portraits from life within 2.5-3 hrs rather than working from still photos. As of now, I have done 3 self-portraits from the mirror and 3 live portraits of a model, but I wish to improve my speed and skills before asking others to sit for me.
Goals for art – I aim to be so seasoned in head and figure drawing that I am able to paint more efficiently and eventually start composing, drawing, painting from imagination capturing realistic, traditional and later Indian mythological scenes.
I think Drawing Academy will be able to get that skill of drawing and composing from knowledge of anatomy and bring my imagination to life. Even from the free videos I have learnt a lot and gained important tips. Drawing Academy matches the way I want to learn, that is the constructional approach, not by copying but analysing.
Why do I want to win – I am a person of humble means with limited budget for art and winning the Drawing Academy course would mean a lot. I believe that proper schooling will keep me disciplined in my journey of improving my knowledge.
Why should people vote for me – I believe that there is much in Indian culture and traditions that needs international recognition and appreciation which artists like me can play a part in depicting on canvas. Throughout my life I have had the satisfaction of being a model student who has made her teachers and alumni proud and I am confident Drawing Academy would feel the same. In the past 5 years to achieve this respectable progress and with zero prior art experience and knowledge, I have worked hard and focussed on a constructional approach to build a foundation and paint my portraits rather than my contemporaries who use grids or projectors or paint-over-print techniques that I completely shun.
About the artwork – Attached is the portrait of my 69 year old mother, wearing our traditional Indian saree, which I have named – “Aging Gracefully”, oil on canvas, 24 inch * 24 inch. I have applied the best of my anatomy and composition knowledge in the painting.