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Why I do what I do

This website will give you a glimpse into my work as an artist,  community builder and activist. I have been negotiating the world through the lens of a creative entrepreneur for the last two decades. It's been a wonderful journey with a lot of learning and collaborating with people I deeply respect.
In the coming years, I believe that creative thinkers will be crucial to document, stitch, hold and present the world. We are at the very edge of collapse on one side, and of a future that can spin out into unimaginable wonders on the other. I believe we can get to the happier side by working together!

Medusa Folds

February 1st, 2008

Folds | 20″ x 12″ | Oil on Canvas

Medusa | 20″ x 12″ | Oil on Canvas

I wanted to take the self portrait trip a little further. With Medusa I use her hair as the snakes, and a textured wallpaper of lotuses. My thinking was more about capturing a gesture that spoke to me (and hopefully you) of calm supplication. Kind of had a feeling of floating underwater. The mood of the background was trying to capture the same thing. but more honestly i just really wanted to make this thick yet light cascade of flowers raining, swirling behind her, while she was trapped by herself. Still incomplete detailing of hands and face.

Folds was more about being caught up in oneself, not seeing the beauty and hope that actually wraps you. some part of me liked the whiteness of the saree and the redness of the lotuses. this work is half-way done and needs some working on the background and her hands. I want the background to loom darkly, ominously behind her.

Am I succeeding in my attempts girls??

My intention over the next week is to do two more as part of this quartet of self portraits in the Snakes & Lotuses series.


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  • I do like the idea of you using the Medusa Fable to intensify or characterise your potrait. It is interesting to use meatphors and symbols to shift focus from the objective concerns in the work of Art.
    But I really do think that if you can now create a work with various forms on one surface,it would help you build compositions and would give a narration within the work itself.

  • hey, I really like the modeling of the face on the first piece, and as a whole I like the idea, and symbolism of the pieces.
    I would like to see the finished pieces before really commenting on them very much.
    The direction you’re taking is a good one though. I will say that I think its very important to view the painting as a whole. Step back periodically and see if the piece is working as one image..
    Push your boundaries. If you’re thinking underwater, what can you do to emphasize that? You’re on the right track with the hair floating upward, but what else can you do?
    Right now the pieces are still looking like there are two separate elements, and lacking the conviction of reading as one unified piece.
    I cant wait to see how you finish the pieces and tie everything up! Keep pushing those ideas!

  • hey girls – thanks for the comments. nirodh – im not clear what you mean by ‘various forms on one surface’. pooj – it has ben really difficult tying up the two and even to get them to feel ‘complete’ by themselves. i think the struggling has really begun for me. with the second one i pretty much destroyed most of it – whited it out and have restarted as of yesterday, the other one has gone away from the floating underwater into simply floating in a golden space i think…will post them in tomorrow in their various states of incompleteness. i mostly find that my paintings are very stiff and deliberate…but im not getting too bogged down by it – i assume that that is what the first stage in the artistic process is? and you are right stepping back has been really helping – i rediscovered that imp device over the past couple of days.

  • hang in there archana. I have been struggling for the past 5 yrs now. everytime i go through my art journals from the past few yrs, i see they are full of talk of struggle, and finding myself, and what it means to paint, and what to paint. its insanity. i think the struggle continues and continues..
    we have to keep working through issues..
    you know, maybe you should deal with one issue at a time rather than combing them? Maybe then you can see what things mean individually, and then you can combine them?
    seems like you’re on the right track – pushing and pulling and re-working..
    hang in there. i am!