My art investigates aspects of nature that trigger memories and inspire new images. I create abstract paintings in vibrant colors that distill the light, the intense colors, and the constant movement in nature. The final visual is pure, ethereal, and cosmic with no physical references.
My artistic process starts before I ever make a mark on the canvas. During my nature hikes, I take numerous pictures of patterns and colors. In my studio, I choose those with high contrast and interesting abstract shapes. I digitally alter the photos, zooming and cropping until only bare colors are left: a leaf is no longer a leaf and a cloud is nothing more than shifting hues. Using this as my color palette and my unique process of mark making, I embark on a journey. I dilute oil paints with turpentine and linseed oil in jars and pour them on wood panels. Instead of conventional tools like brushes and palette knives, I move the paint using an air blower. My head, heart, and hand become one and something pure and personal happens. Vapor-like shapes appear and disappear on the panel, leaving only traces of the initial layer, like the mere reverberation of a memory.
When I was a young girl I enjoyed walks along the Indian countryside, taking in the beauties nature had to offer. The vibrant colors left a strong impression on me. 20 years ago I moved to California, a place so much different from my native land. Everything looked different except my interaction with nature. Today, when I take my outdoor walks, I once more feel the same breath of fresh air that I felt in my childhood and my past and present become one. My paintings are the representation of an intersection of my subconscious landscape with the physical world.
Usha Shukla was born and brought up in New Delhi, India. From early childhood she was fascinated by the outdoors. The vibrant colors of the Indian countryside left a strong impression on her. After a graduate degree in English Literature she went on to get a diploma in Fashion Design. In 1996 when she moved to San Francisco, California, with her family, she found everything different except her interaction with nature. In 2005, after a visit to the Louvre museum in Paris, she realized her true passion for art. She enrolled in the local community college and started her formal art education. She is currently enrolled in the Graduate program at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, focusing on painting.
Combining her love of nature and passion for art, she paints large abstract paintings in vibrant colors. She has a unique process of mark making. Instead of conventional tools like brushes and palette knives, she moves the paint on wood panels using an air blower. She has participated in several juried group shows in the Bay Area and has won awards. She also has a public art mural in the city of Livermore, California. Her work is collected by several local art collectors. Most recently she won the 2016-17 Clyde & Co Art Award for Emerging Artists, San Francisco and her work is exhibited in the Clyde & Co Offices.