Amarjeet Maan, Nagpur, India
Amarjeet Maan is an accomplished, self taught artist who grew up in Bangalore, India and is now living in Nagpur.
Q. Have you always wanted to be an artist? What was your life like before pursuing transparent watercolours?
A. My life started with seeing my highly talented mom, often busy with embroidery, knitting sewing, there were colors around me always and I spent my evenings and summers coloring .
My first award of drawing and painting with crayons was an elephant with her calf when I was 6 years old. My journey of painting continued right through school entering every given opportunity to art competitions and winning awards.
College I chose to graduate in applied textiles with science. It involved a lot of designing and understanding the science of fibre to fabric.
I worked with a leading export house for 3 years and got an opportunity to work with design teams from the most prestigious design houses of Europe and the USA. So my hunger for art was satiated in a new different form.
Then came motherhood that kept me away from actual painting with an exception of having done a few oil paintings.
Q. As an artist of realism do you take your own photographs? Many of your works focus on amazing light refraction from crystal, how do you accomplish this?
A. Yes I take my own photographs. I love painting realism, and when it comes to painting still life, I feel it’s like giving the subjects a new dimension and gratitude to already the pieces of which are art in themselves, such as man made items like fabric, glassware, etc. and flowers and fruits - the miracles of nature.
"Nestled" watercolour by Amarjeet Maan
I set up the subjects and take photographs myself, as photography is another passion. It takes many photographs with varied set ups, playing with light source etc. It often takes more than one photograph as reference for a single painting.
"Red Unwrapped" watercolour by Amarjeet Maan
Crystal or cut glass has always fascinated me for the reflection and refraction of light. How beautifully it abstracts the shapes of the contents in it and at the same time manipulates the refraction of light showing us the true content of a simple colour called “white” that our eyes see. Most often these refractions are highlighted when I am painting depending on the main focus of interest.
Lastly I would say it’s a deeper observation of the subjects and light that involves creativity in a more imaginative way. None of my paintings really look like my reference photographs.
Q. You have also created several paintings of urban scapes, portraits and nature. Have you traveled abroad to get more references to paint from? Do you often have multiple projects going on?
A. Yes I have traveled abroad and given an opportunity I am always ready to explore new places and photograph.
Travel gives me an opportunity to photograph, write travelogues and then the best is to relive the whole experience by painting. Painting to me is like enjoying the journey at a slower pace to relish the joy of reaching the destination.
Yes I do have multiple paintings i work on simultaneously as they give me time to rethink of the approach and notice the corrections it may need.
"The Cafe" watercolour by Amarjeet Maan
Q. How has the Internet helped you further your exposure as an artist?
A. Internet, as in social media has played a very important role in my journey as an artist. It has helped me connect with artists from all over the world from whom I have shared and learned so much. It has given the much needed exposure. I remember Watercolour Addicts being among the first few forums I joined and got to know such wonderful artists and constantly inspired to get better at what I do. While I answer these questions by itself is an expression of how big a role internet and watercolour forums have been.
"Fish Out Of Water" watercolour by Amarjeet Maan
Q. Please share with us the publications and exhibitions you are/were in. How do you go about getting in and being recognized.
A. Presently my paintings are being shown at the juried International Watercolour Society of Indonesia and Zürich
"Morning Light" watercolour by Amarjeet Maan
I have had my paintings shown in various juried shows of IWS in India , Canada, UAE, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Tirana, Albania, biennial at Greece by invitation, awarded second place in global watercolour artists.
As I love painting miniatures too, I was among the finalists of miniatures contest by Richeson Art Gallery and my work shown and printed in their catalogue.
"A Window To Reflections" watercolour by Amarjeet Maan
The latest is my painting printed in Splash20 Best of Watercolours (creative compositions).
Recognition I think will be as a result of my art and my endeavor to learn and improve. I enter most of the juried competitions/exhibitions world wide.
Q. You have recently begun to share wonderful videos of your work. Do you see yourself becoming a classroom or traveling teacher of transparent watercolours to others?
A. I am enjoying sharing videos of my work since the recent past as many other students of art would message me asking how i paint, I thought it’s a good way to share my approach to a subject. Visual media seems to be the trend and results in a larger impact.
Watch a quick video of "Red Unwrapped" watercolour by Amarjeet Maan
I do teach in my spare time, but yes I would love to become a traveling teacher, and also reach out to people interested to learn through various interfaces of social networking available.
Q. What advice can you give other artists, who are following a self taught path, especially women who live in a male dominated society?
A. I would say a self taught path is one of the best ways to learn, as it's learning by correction of ones mistakes. And the large advantage is it helps you create your own personal signature style without being influenced by any set of rules or restrictions that one may be taught and hence the art being influenced by a particular style. It’s surely advisable to learn from other seasoned artists as the abundance of knowledge is infinite. The catch is incorporating it in your personal style .
"Blue Unwrapped" watercolour by Amarjeet Maan
Male dominated society is true to quite an extent worldwide in all fields but we thrive among them by making a mark for ourselves. I believe that the perseverance that we women have can eliminate such hurdles by believing in ourselves and doing our best. In India it’s a Goddess of wisdom and creativity all worship to for centuries. I suppose that says a lot.
Q. Please share anything else you feel is important about your life’s accomplishments, people you meet etc.
A. I feel that my art completes me and uplifts me from the daily life we all lead with duties and responsibilities as a parent, spouse, sister or a daughter. My art also reflects my life, my love of wildlife, outdoors, travel and photography. Still life is something that I have recently started to complement by desire to explore light and glass in my Art.
"Fruit Bowl" watercolour by Amarjeet Maan
During the phases I couldn’t devote time to painting I fulfilled my love for creativity through photography and writing travelogues. Be it photography, creative writing, painting, to me they all converge to a soul satisfying experience.
I think I am on a path and the best is yet to come in what lies ahead.
>> Visit Amarjeets' Watercolour Addicts' Gallery
>> Contact Amarjeet directly via email