Artist Feature : Dr. Shaazia Hawai

Dr. Shaazia Hawai @conversationswithcanvas uses expressive brushwork and vibrant colours to convey the beauty of the most ordinary things around us. She paints with a limited palette of three primaries (red, blue & yellow) and white and she loves to extend her humour to her art with titles that would make you smile.

1. Do you follow a daily practice routine?

To get better at anything in life, one needs to cultivate a habit of practising it regularly. I paint daily during the early hours as at that time my mind is fresh and free of distractions.

2. We’ve noticed a distinctive impressionistic style in your work. What inspired you to practice this style?

Monet, Manet, Renoir, the masters of impressionist art are my inspiration. Their use of colours and painterly brushwork is what inspired me to understand the nuances of this style.

3. Do you have that one go to medium and why?

I’m in love with ACRYLICS. They are the most versatile medium. They are available in various viscosities – heavy body, soft body, fluid, inks and even markers. They can be used on a variety of surfaces (paper, canvas, wood…). One can use them thick like oils or thin them down to watercolour consistency. They are fast drying, odourless, and nontoxic, so working with them is safer and easier. Clean up after painting is also hassle free as they are water based.

4. Why do you paint mostly still life?

I paint things that are around us, the most ordinary things, things that are taken for granted and their beauty is never celebrated. I paint still life to capture the BEAUTY of the ORDINARY.

5. How do you balance life as an artist and dentist?

Organising and planning my daily tasks helps to create time and energy for my passion. Also having a super supportive husband helps. He is my biggest motivator and in fact is always pushing me to follow my passion.

6. Which colour palette do you prefer using in your artwork?

Just like everybody I started my art journey with a beginner’s paint set. But when I started painting with them, I felt they were not enough. I kept buying different shades of colours, but still wasn’t happy with the results. With time I have understood that LESS IS MORE and I now work with a limited colour palette of the primaries (red, blue, yellow) and titanium white. I enjoy the process of colour mixing, and love how vibrant and harmonious my artworks look.

7. Are you a self taught artist?

I didn’t go to an art school, but truly speaking, I can’t claim to be a self taught artist as today we have an abundance of knowledge at our fingertips. There are art books ( I own more than 50 of them ), there’s YouTube, online workshops…. These aids have definitely formed an integral component in helping me develop my skills and define my style.

8. Who are the artists that inspired you to start your journey with art?

As I mentioned before, in the beginning I was inspired by the masters of the impressionist era. But today there are so many artists that inspire me. When I look at an artwork, I analyse what I love about it, it could be the way the artist simplified the subject, could be the use of colours, the way the light was captured, the brushwork, the texture of the paint. So I’m inspired by many amazing artists.

9. Did you always have a creative itch or did you discover your love for art recently?

From scribbling with crayons on walls, sculpting with clay, paper quilling, learning crochet to painting, the itch to create has always been there. It just took a backseat, but since the past few years, Art is an integral aspect of my being.

10. What, according to you is the most important thing to get better at painting?

I follow the PEE Rule  ( I know it sounds funny)

  • EMBRACE FAILURE – AND KEEP MOVING FORWARD. ( I’ve learnt more from my failed artworks)

11. Do you work with other mediums?

Acrylics are my go to medium, but I also enjoy painting with oils, gouache and soft pastels. I occasionally do Arabic calligraphy.

12. Success to you is?

As Robert Collier said, ‘Success is the sum of small efforts, day in and day out.’ Success for me is fulfilling and achieving the day to day goals I set for myself; it could be as insignificant as showing up on my art desk on an extremely busy day.

13. What does art mean to you?

Art keeps the child in me alive and transports me to a magical world full of colours.

14. Which is your favourite Scholar product and why?

I love to experiment and in that process I’ve used quite a few Scholar products. All of them have given me great results. But the Paryavaran sketchbook and the Torchon watercolour paper are my absolute favourite. The Paryavaran sketchbook is made from 100% recycled products and yet there’s no compromise in the quality of paper. I use it for my initial composition sketches, value studies and it’s my favourite companion while travelling. The Torchon watercolour paper on the other hand, is 300 gsm with a rough surface works perfectly for my thick, expressive brushwork.

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