Sometimes life does more than imitate art. It takes us through it.
We are given a paddle of faith and forced to navigate it’s challenging and uncharted waters. But the beauty of this art-filled life is that each of our canvases is different.
From this, we can be inspired and bask in the knowledge that we are paddling together. That’s how I came to be mesmerized by the artistry of Vandana Sen. Her life is awash in splendorous colors and floral scents that trail behind her, like her painting of Flower Canoe. This is my favorite and shows a man rowing a canoe full of flowers downstream.
Vandana’s art is bold and serene like the slow moving forces of water. It speaks to the multifaceted reflections mirrored in her journey through life. I think I knew Vandana was an artist even before she shared this with me. She has that old soul quality of listening quietly before offering her thoughts.
When Vandana speaks, there is also something mystical and sensitive in the whispered voice that draws me in. You can imagine how eager I was to visit Vandana’s art studio when she casually mentioned she liked to paint. I was not disappointed.
Vandana’s studio is in her home, a spacious condo that feels highly organized and steeped in story. Her paintings hang in every room like an ode to her exotic experiences. Just look at this beautiful wedding scene – it captures the subject wistfully lifting her veil to the open road. There’s a story in the exciting new chapter and the rite of passage into womanhood. The work wraps me in its rich silk fabric and emotive colors.
Many of the artists I know like to keep a work space at home. But most are a kind of organized chaos like my writing desk.
I insist it reflects the many fragments of my creative mind but it’s a lot of unfinished thoughts and ideas.
I didn’t know what to expect when I visited with Vandana. Where were the messy paint tools or an empty coffee mugs, proving life had a chaotic side? They were nowhere in sight.
Vandana’s work space is neatly tucked away from view and her walls filled with just the right balance of art. There is a broad range of sculptured wood carvings, woven tapestries and unusual art pieces. I’m told most are curated from travels abroad and former residences. Spectacular bursts of color from her own artistry catch my attention, as they dart between the neat arrangements. Bashful Bride on a Handheld Chariot.
It’s easy to see where Vandana’s artistic inspiration and sensibilities originate. She grew up in Dharamshala; in Himachal Pradesh, northern India. The setting is surreal and tourists visit to enjoy cascading waterfalls, Buddhist retreats and the home of the Dalai Lama. In fact, India is shaped like a giant diamond. Dharamshala (sometimes spelled Dharamsala) is like a rare jewel perched close to the country’s northern border. It’s natural landscape is covered with mountain ranges nestled in the Dhauladhar Hills.
The photo of Dharamshala speaks to the rich landscape that influences Vandana’s perspective and her art. Over the years, the artistry of her life – her travels, her connection to others and the vision and style of her craft – emerges like a beautifully shaped sculpture. And we learn this process is true for each of us as we incorporate experiences and relationships that influence us. We are the sum of all of our formative experiences and what we hope to be. Because the process is never-ending, each moment we live is but one of many paintings that captures the artistry of our very being.
As I savor Vandana’s talent, I must admit there is a new excitement in her latest works. They are arrestingly bold, like the Tiger Image. The tiger showcases Vandana’s dynamic confidence in composition and an imagination as fierce as her subject. When you see the tiger painting in person, there are detailed three-dimensional layers that create an added sensory experience. The tiger literally leaps off the page and holds me, transfixed by its powerful eye and evocative style.
Only after I press Vandana does she humbly admit her work has been featured in several venues and exhibitions. She was the featured artist in a Peel region show (a suburb of Metropolitan Toronto) and her work was also highlighted at the Whitney Gallery. As one of Canada’s upcoming artists, Vandana has also been interviewed on Toronto’s Rogers Television Network.
I love the complex intensity of Vandana’s varied styles. Her work is best described as an eclectic blend that has been called a bold tale of expressive imagination. Vandana uses a vivid palette of colors that blind me with one very singular thought when I look at her work. For me, Vandana’s artistry is the joyful celebration of life. It’s immersive quality helps me to appreciate our individual journeys and the power of our shared experiences. I hope you will explore more of Vandana’s art or reach out to her at http://idigitalfab.wixsite.com/canvas2life.