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Cars on Canvas

Bob Rupani  | Updated: June 22, 2019, 12:28 PM IST

Capturing beauty and communicating it through a canvas is 'an art', and Madhavi Kelwa, is a young and talented exponent of this. She has taken to painting classic cars only recently and says, "I personally think that paintings do justice to the curves and 'Art Deco' designs of vintage cars, as much as pictures do to modern cars and their straight lines. The essence of the design and individuality of a classic car can be best depicted on canvas only.''

Hailing from Udaipur, Madhavi did her schooling from Mayo College, a residential public school in Ajmer, Rajasthan that was founded in 1875. As she was interested in arts even then, she was awarded the Mayo College Colours for Art and Craft. Later, she followed her passion and joined J.J. School of Arts in Mumbai, post her graduation from Sophia College. At J.J., she got to train under masters of different mediums of painting like 'Acrylic, Water and Oils'. While pursuing art at J.J, she also interned at Volte Gallery in Mumbai where she learnt about the marketing aspect of the art industry and got an opportunity to interact and learn from various leading artists of our country.

After returning to Udaipur, she started working on an in-house project for Fateh Collection and made wildlife paintings for her family-owned resorts in Kumbhalgarh. Her work is also listed on online portals like 'House of Things'.

Madhavi personally enjoys painting wildlife and is a huge admirer of David Shepherd. While she continues to paint wildlife, recently she has been bitten by the 'classic car bug'. As you can see from her work shown here, she has quite a knack for getting the proportions and lines right, and her play of light and shadows is quite good too. But detailing is something she will need to work on.

One unique aspect of Madhavi's auto art work is the fact that she has been lucky to have some 'live models'. Yes, normally auto artists paint from imagination or look at photographs, etc, to get an idea of the shape, curves, details, and so on, of a car. But in Madhavi's case, she has been fortunate that her family owns some classic cars and her MG painting was entirely done in front of the car itself! Madhavi put her canvas and easel right ahead of the MG and over a period of a week, captured it creatively on canvas.

Madhavi says, "In my opinion, a few photos do justice to a car, be it in terms of the picture quality or the shape or shades of colour. And as I had the opportunity to have a classic car model for me, I simply grabbed it. The great thing is that it felt so nostalgic, because painting with an object in front, is what I used to do, in still-life classes in school and college."

When asked about the difference in painting wildlife and automobiles, Madhavi had some interesting things to share. "Both, wildlife painting and car paintings are challenging and quite different in terms of strokes used. For cars, the strokes are much longer and since they are painted in acrylic, a relatively larger part of the canvas needs to be painted in one sitting which is not the case with wildlife paintings. There are lots of colour options to explore with cars, contrary to that, in wildlife paintings the base colour for most animals is yellow ochre and burnt sienna.

The texture of each animal's coat is different and needs to be paid attention to as well. Cars, especially classic ones, have a lot of details that you need to do justice to, in a painting. On the other hand, I pay special attention to the eyes in animals. I have chosen this painting style with a focus on eyes because I feel it engages the audience more and makes the painting interactive."

Madhavi prefers to use larger canvases as she feels this makes the painting more impactful. She also likes to layer her paintings to give them a 3D effect. She takes orders for hotel and home projects, and wants to pursue a career in arts and participate in international fairs and exhibitions.

Madhavi has sent a few of her paintings for the David Shepherd Foundation's Artist of the Year, and if they get shortlisted, she will attend and exhibit in England. She will also be participating for the "John Ruskin Prize" and has applied to exhibit at the Wirral Society of Arts 9th Open Exhibition 2019 in the UK.

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