Making Of 'It's a New World'
The idea behind this painting came to me when I was looking at broken hardware in my PC. It's always been there in my mind, how similar they both are: the hardware with all of its circuits, and leaves with their veins. I've always found them similar in terms of shape, look, color and function, but totally contrasting at the same time as natural and man-made elements. It was then, looking at that piece of hardware that I thought of working on this concept.
I was pretty clear about what I was thinking of, but somehow I was not getting it right on the canvas. I spent 6-10 days working on this image, but it didn't seem right. Finally I left the painting. But the concept was always popping back into my mind (Fig.01).
After a few months I came back to the idea again and made a rough color sketch that seemed to click with me; it was just what I was looking for. After spending time thinking about the elements and composition I started gathering raw materials (Fig.02).
I browsed for references like computer garbage, plugs, pins, keyboards, leaves, plants, forests, creepers and everything that I found useful. After collecting 30-40 reference images I sorted those I thought would be most useful. My idea was that I would mostly use ready-made stuff like keyboard, cables, plants and leaves. I was not willing to spend time painting them. But as soon as I started putting them in, somehow it was not clicking with my idea. I wanted every single element to be placed as in my thoughts and that was not possible with photographs.
So I painted the keyboard so I could place it in the image and develop it further. Then I studied the flow of the circuits on one of the scraps of hardware that I had found on the roadside the day before. And then I designed the basic high resolution circuitry, keeping a leaf as reference to follow the shape and flow of veins. At this point my most laborious task was over. Now I had to get more creative with placement, lighting and rendering (Fig.03).
I started painting things, while always focusing on the final piece. I worked on depth of field and placed supporting elements like the monitor and creepers with the plugs and pins connecting them. By this time my vision for the final piece was very clear. I wanted nothing to be standing out apart from the small plant. But at the same time I wanted all the other elements to work well, supporting the overall image. This took me a really long time; finding the right place and focus for every single object was difficult. For example I must have moved the monitor 20 times before choosing its final position (Fig.04).
When I was happy with the placement of all the parts, I painted all the elements again with more detail, like the wires and leaves. At this point I was pretty much happy with the background, color, light and composition. Next I moved to my main focal point: the plant. I went in to as much details as I could to get the look that I was trying to achieve so I dressed up the surrounding elements accordingly. I used lots of Burn and Dodge to achieve a fresh, juicy, tender feel. At the same time though I had an idea, and I added a fallen dry leaf. To do this I used the existing leaf, adjusted it and then I was almost done with image. It was eight o'clock in morning and I had been working the whole night. After tea I had another fresh look at it and asked a few friends to comment on it. The result of that was that they liked the piece, but I got a confused reaction to the dry leaf (Fig.05).
Without wasting time I removed that leaf and gave the image another try. I placed everything in the background and concentrated on the creeper where I wanted to add the new leaves. Separating the creeper cables from the entire picture helped me to focus. I started working on the maple leaf, moved it around and tweaked it to avoid it looking like a stamp. Then I worked on the leaf close up and blurred it to make it fit into the image (Fig.06).
It is not only birth and growth, but ageing and death that makes nature so beautiful and touching, in comparison to the man-made world. I was very happy to add this last thought to the painting; without which this piece would have been incomplete. Mostly I paint with loose strokes and do concept art, but this was totally different and required heavy detailing; it's really important to execute your concept with the required level of detailing (Fig.07)