Archives for category: Art

An artist never stops learning and there is much to be learnt from the 20th century masters. Here is a painting I did replicating one of Cezanne’s popular still lifes – ‘still life with apples and a pot of primroses’.

First of all I did a charcoal and water wash study to appreciate the light and dark values, object placement, and composition in his painting. His still life seems so simple yet when you set out to understand it, one can appreciate the sheer genius in his simplicity- how he challenges perspective and warm and cool colours. 


Next I began to complete a 18 x 24″ acrylic painting on mixed media paper reinforced with a layer of gesso by following a printout of the original.


The result was an increased appreciation of florals, drapery and fruit placed in beautiful balance and harmony.

  18 x 24″ Copy of Cezanne’s ‘still life with apples and a pot of Primroses, Acrylic on Paper


Here is one more addition to my ‘lady in waiting’ – ‘romantic south asian figures’ series. The technique used is acrylic on acrylic wash and the concept is inspired from South Asia and Turkey. The orange and red stand stone comes from Mughal archicture in South Asia, the prussian and sky blue from Turkish culture and the lady’s dark raw umber skin tone, flowing dress with chiffon scarf and white mirrorred jewellery are inspired from Sindhi Culture ( Southern province of Pakistan). Here are the steps from which this painting came to life. 


Heavy water colour paper is stencilled with a number 4 HB pencil. The sketch must be detailed and dark to show through the next steps.


An acrylic wash in three contrasting colours is applied leaving spaces of white where the artist wants the central focal points to be.


The three colours used are mixed to create the tone for the outline in acrylic. This is a detailed process.


After hours and days of building on the shades and colours of the acrylic wash underneath, the artist can bring about a play of lights and details with the same three colours. Blue and orange are high contrast colours that are hard to work with, but using raw umber in between balances the painting. Lastly highlights in white create a romantic effect. 

Non- evocative objects – or in simple words – the use of shapes such as triangles and squares can be turned into a painting. Following the masters of 20th century Cubism, here I copied the style of Gino Severini using his meticulous method of creating entire compositions with cubes, triangles and curves. The colours are in harmony – light pastels, almost rainbow like.

Copy of Gino Serverini, 11 x 17″, Dry Pastels on paper

I love using dry pastels to create a template for an acrylic or oil painting. Smudges allow the colour to flow across the page, blending different shades together seamlessley. Don’t forget to use a fixative once you complete a dry pastel painting – otherwise the colours will blow away!

From non-evocative objects, to evocative objects – that is forms and objects we recognize, I completed this sketch of tree branch shadows falling on a shed in my backyard. Happy Spring/Summer!

Rainbow Shadows, 11×17″ Dry Pastel on Paper

Many years ago, under my mentor, Mansur Rahi – a most talented cubist from the Sub Continent – I learnt how to create different compositions using colours and non-evocative shapes. Here are some of my examples:

Non-evocative compositions, 11 x 17″, Dry Pastel on Paper

One of my new sketches from the ‘lady in waiting’ series. Graphite, pencil, shades and horizontal and parallel lines make a soft subject take form. Sketch done in 16 x 11″


I took inspiration from this tedious sketch to make a smaller 12 x 12″ acrylic painting ordered.


A lot of hard work goes into the subject and design before I even begin to paint! I love discovering my paintings in the form of a graphite, charcoal or acrylic templates before heading to paint on canvas.

I believe the architecture of a place defines a particular landscape and its community. I paint historical monuments, buildings, or trees to serve as a central point to capture the story of a place. More important than the subject of a painting is its style — I combine elements from cubism, expressionism, impressionism, and actionism. My paintings use high contrasts and bold colours used by the cubist masters to make an ordinary subject into extraordinary painting; a painting which is a window to hang upon a wall.

Here is my latest exploration – vibrant colours and deep shadows from North American forests.

Forest Magic, Oil on Canvas, 20 x 30


The following acrylic on board life paintings have been donated for the United Way OPS Online Silent Auction beginning November 20th – November 27th. Bidding starts as low as $20 each! It is all for a wonderful cause! (Auction Limited to OPS employees only)

Sleeping Female, 11 x 14, Acrylic on Board

Sunshine Beach, 18x 14, Acrylic 
on Board

Seated Lady, 11 x 14, Acrylic on Board

The Open Easel is honoured to be a part of the 2013 Exhibits and Displays hosted by the Toronto Public Library. The exhibit titled Escape to Landscapes from Canada’ is on at the Oakwood Village Library and Arts Centre, located at 341 Oakwood Ave., Toronto from

November 1st – November 30th 2013.

You are invited to a local evening to celebrate the beauty of Canadian landscapes. Drop by the Oakwood Village Library for a meet and greet hosted by the Artist Samia Shaheen on:

Tuesday, November 19th 2013 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm.

Come by to enjoy a sweet treat, check-out a library book, and maybe also a painting!

The Oakwood Village Library is located at 341 Oakwood Ave., Toronto (with free parking at the rear) or is short bus ride from Ossington Subway Station. Remember if you can’t make it to the meet and greet evening, the exhibit is on display for the whole month of November. See you there!