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Amateur Painter In Me

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By Newton D'souza, USA [ Published Date: August 23, 2006 ]

I occasionally like to try new techniques of painting. I have not done art for a long time now, but I thought I will share some of my older paintings here. Most of the paintings are in acrylic on a 24 by 36 canvas. Actually, I was in a painting spree and probably did all these paintings in a period of two months, in the summer of 2003.

Mothers Strength

This picture was originally in a black and white form and if I remember it correctly it's a movie poster copy for Mother India. I deliberately used the ochre-blue-gray-black shades to make it heavy and burdensome. I used long horizontal brush strokes in the background to distinguish from the short circular brush strokes for the face. In the end, I would have liked it to be a bit more abstract than 'postery.' But I was happy with the light and shade effects.


When I started this painting I wanted to paint a narrow path in a redwood grove. You can actually see multiple trees one behind the other and horizontal strokes that depict the path. But somewhere in the middle of the painting I changed my mind. I thought why not paint an abstraction of Buddha under the Bodhi tree. So I used earth colors in the foreground and a sudden burst of light in the background. I made the tree really dense in the center and blurred as it came to the foreground. Some painters do the opposite. Keep the foreground dense and merge in the background.

Museum at moonlit night

This is a public cart museum which I used to visit. I have beautiful memories of the museum while walking at night. So I decided to paint it in a night ambience. Since the museum was close to the lake and colored white, it almost looked like a giant seagull which had come down during the night. This inspired me to experiment in a monotone format (just shades of blue). I was happy with the light and shade effect it created. Even today when I look at this painting it shimmers in a bright fluorescent color that I didn't expect from acrylic.

Couch of Dreams

This was actually a test canvas. I was trying to warm myself up with the use of primary colors (yellow, blue and red) and practicing steady vertical strokes. But again somewhere in the middle of the painting I started introducing curvilinear strokes, mixed up the color scheme a little bit, one thing led to another. One of my friends pointed out that it looked like an abstraction of a couch and so I named it as a couch of dreams.

Encounter with Christ

Here, my intention was to create a painting that I thought shows a divine encounter, i.e. Jesus walking on water towards me (High hopes buddy!). During this time I was actually reading books from impressionist painters such as Van Gogh and Monet. So, I experimented with the deft brush strokes, in dry brush technique, where you apply paint directly from the tube with the back of the brush, or you don't use water as much, letting the brush hairs create the impression.  While I was happy with the background, I got a little carried away with the use of white (my bad!). I was however happy with the rocks on the foreground.


I have no idea what I was trying to do with this painting. Usually portrait paintings are painted with more mellow colors. But here I wanted to make a dire contradiction by using yellow-orange-red warm color scheme.  Most importantly I was experimenting on knife brush technique. In the knife brush technique, you use a special knife instead of a brush. The technique is a bit like putting butter on bread. Different shaped painting knives produce different effects, for example a short blade produces brisk short strokes while a long blade allows you to put down sweeps of color. If you observe the strokes closely, these are small brisk strokes. At the end I thought it worked in my way because the bright red colors contrasted with the portraits expression of rejection or downright misery.

The Man with the Beard

Here he comes again- the man with the beard. Actually, this was supposedly my own portrait but it didn't turn out that way. The color scheme actually derives from Van Gogh's use of light and shade in De Hut. In this painting Van Gogh painted a hut which is illuminated in dawn. I still can get lost in this painting. It's truly magical. In any case, here I wanted to paint a portrait with the same kind of light sense. I started with a black opaque background and applied lighter and lighters shades in series. The result was as if some Ghost mysteriously appeared from the background.  At one point I stopped. Another additional stroke would have spoilt it. As someone said 'Half of art is to know when to stop.'

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Judith Serrao, UAE:
Dear Newton,

Your paintings left me clean-bowled and spellbound. Amateur? Are you joking? Trying to be too modest huh?

I just could not take my eyes away from ‘Mothers Strength’ and ‘Enlightenment’… they just took my breath away. All your paintings told a silent story. Although I don’t know you, I think I just got to know you a little now ;).

Keep painting Newton, and don’t even think of putting away your brush n canvas ever. They will be your true and best friends.
Sylvia D'Souza, UAE:
Dear Newton,

Less than 3 seconds is what it takes to gauge how much of an amateur you are. Your painting of ‘Mother India’ holds me in awe. The strength, the depth and the intensity... absolutely breathtaking... concision of the language of painting that allows for seamless transition of facial expressions as the eye follows a line.

You have an assurance and boldness that is refreshing. You truly are a creative using art and writing to express your thoughts. Keep sending us more of your writing and art…..
mel tau, Oman:
Wow...beautiful paintings Newton!!! You are very talented...koi shak?;) So what’s next?

Thanks for sharing your beautiful works of art with all us M.comers! All the best! Keep painting/writing...
Carol Martis, Kuwait:
Absolutely amazing art jesus walking on the water, and narrow path in red wood grove and other all paintings are great! very nicely done, keep painting…. and all the best.
Jason Alvares, Canada :
Great Show Newton!

Nice to see new talents coming to the fore every day on this website. Thanks to the web-masters!
Gwayne Rego, USA :
Newton let me tell you that you're far from an amateur when it comes to art. I found myself staring at your paintings trying to interpret each of them, to see whether they had a deeper meaning to them than just what was portrayed.

Your use of color and technique attracted me to your work. I am completely stunned that it took you only two months to do 7 paintings, which is why in my eyes, as I’m sure in a lot you are far from an amateur. Your time, effort and creativity not to mention talent on these paintings make the overall outcome just stunning. It’s hard to choose a favorite one as all of them appeal to me in some way.

As an amateur artist myself I’m constantly trying to find new ways to improve my art. My first mistake was trying to copy others— their techniques and style. But one day it hit me, every artist has an individual depiction of their art— the styles, colors they use, the themes, etc. Although I have a long way to go that has been my motivation for every artwork I create. I also think that if ever you make a mistake on your artwork you can consider it a “happy little accident” like painter Bob Ross.

And finally I completely agree on the quote “Half of art is to know when to stop.” As an artist I always want perfection in my work and although I know perfection does not exist, if I’m creating a piece of art I try to add more. But the more you add the more you take away from the piece. I think that less is more because it gives you a chance to analyze and interpret the art and see what lies within that artwork.

I apologize for this long post, I tend to get carried away when it comes to art. I look forward to seeing more of your artwork.
Dots Rego, USA :
Bravo Newton!!

It is absolutely stunning creations coming from you. I enjoyed all of your arts and you outshine the amateurs. Way to go Newton! You have great skills in you. Let’s see more of them!!
This work is FANTASTIC! Your imagination & detail in your art is really good. Would love to see some more.
Shaly Pereira, Oman:
Wow Newton……surprised but delighted to see your beautiful paintings featured here. Without knowing much about the technicalities of this art and based purely on the feelings they evoked in me, I voted for my favourites:) I liked ‘Enlightenment’ the best ‘cos it made me feel happy and hopeful just looking at it:). ‘The Man with the beard’ comes next as he looks very mysterious and I love mysteries. All the others are superb too. The ‘Rejected’ guy with the red eyes looked very scary though, like he wanted to take out all his anger on someone;)

In the face of such awesome God-given talent I can’t help but feel humbled. Felt like that when I saw Gratian’s paintings too on his website:) It’s nice to know that community websites like are bringing so much of latent talent within the reach of people all over the world.

A writer, poet, painter…….any more surprises up your sleeve Newton?;):)
Amarnath Bantwal, Kuwait:

You shall, henceforth be called NEW-TONES my son! :)

Lovely objets d'art a from an amateur's paint brush. Merci beaucop for the explanation in avec des mots simples.
Made it a whole lot easier to decipher the abstracts esp the Enlightenment and the Couch :)

Give us more, keep them coming and hey dont follow Jenni's advice.

Jennifer Lobo, USA :
Hey Newton

Those are great paintings. You are one more multi-talented writer here on! How about some fruit/veg carvings for next ;)
Total Comments: 11   Showing: 1-11

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