Meena Javat interview

Stay-at-home mother of three paints a picture of her pastime


What inspired you to start painting?
I’ve always enjoyed sketching and I’ve always been artistic with my kids. I’d taken my three children to Jam Jar a few times, really enjoyed the experience and was quite good at it. I guess I discovered a hobby that I could build on and began oil painting classes last July. I’d done sketching and acrylic painting at home but I’d never used oils before and I find it absolutely amazing!

I’ve discovered a completely new concept, I’m experimenting with abstract art, as well as landscapes, flowers and, right now, a portrait. It’s a young girl in the woods, and with oils, I’ve been able to achieve quite a dramatic contrast of greenery with dark foliage and the golden sun shining through. It’s fantastic! Blending is so much easier with oils, as is layering, which is so much fun because you get to see the progress of each layer and what it creates. There is also greater coverage with small amounts of oils and rectifying errors is easier.

What does painting give you?
It’s just so incredibly relaxing and mentally soothing. I switch off from everything else – all of the stresses of life – and focus totally on what I’m doing. Plus, it’s so fulfilling and rewarding, especially when you see the finished product. I get such a sense of achievement out of it.

Has it taught you anything?
Patience, definitely. A painting can take weeks to complete so you have to learn to be patient. My hand co-ordination has certainly improved and I feel it’s opened up my mind creatively, too. It teaches you to experiment more. I’m still discovering my style, but that’s the beauty of it. Since starting classes I feel more confident experimenting with colours and strokes.

Do you take this pastime home with you?
Yes, I have lots of painting materials at home – acrylic paints, sketch pads, charcoal and canvases. I would love to have an art studio in my next home. I also have a wall dedicated to paintings that my children and I create, which we keep updating. This is quite motivational for all of us, especially when our family and friends visit and praise them.

So your kids like to paint too?
Yes, they do. I started painting because I enjoy it and need something that’s away from them, but part of me also wanted to do something that would inspire my children.

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