Commission Spotlight: Taj Lake Palace

Shilpa and Suhrid are world travelers.  Despite having two kids and busy professional lives, they have prioritized getting out of the country as a family as well as on their own.  It was only fitting, then, that Shilpa would want to gift Suhrid a painting of the trip where it all began for their 15th Anniversary –  the place where they got engaged.

When Shilpa first came to CoCo Gallery, she wasn’t entirely sure what she wanted, however.  She brainstormed a number of ideas with her CoCo Consultant, including a gallery wall of 10 watercolors that each represented one of their trips together.  While we had the perfect artist lined up to help her with this idea, some twists and turns led her to choose an impressionist rendition of the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, India…the breathtaking backdrop of where Suhrid had proposed.  The artist that could best do this was prominent in his field from India and just happens to be in our network: CoCo Artist Teji K.

The "Taj Lake Palace" commission: conceived by Shilpa, brought to life by CoCo Artist Teji K.

The "Taj Lake Palace" commission: conceived by Shilpa, brought to life by CoCo Artist Teji K.

The request

Shilpa found an image of the Taj Lake Palace online, as a sample representation of the 24” X 36” impressionist painting she wanted.  It was important to her that the painting primarily had blue and purple hues, to fit well with the interiors of their fully designed living room.  She also wanted to make sure there was a tiny indication of a couple having dinner on a pontoon near the palace, representative of their evening on that special day.

A sample of the blues and purples Shilpa wanted for the painting.

A sample of the blues and purples Shilpa wanted for the painting.

The living room where the painting will reside.

The living room where the painting will reside.

The initial sketch

Having a highly layered and textural style, Teji thought it would be best to sketch directly on the canvas and to adjust his work based on frequent feedback.  While the online image Shilpa found was more aerial in view, Teji chose to take a more head-on perspective of the palace.  He thought it would better represent a special event that happened there rather than to just highlight the stand-alone site.  Shilpa fully agreed, and Teji got to work with his acrylic paints soon after.

The online image of the palace that was used as a reference.

The online image of the palace that was used as a reference.

Check-ins and the final product

Within a few days, Teji had filled in the base of the work with paint.  At this point, he starts his unique spatula-technique, where he creates the impressionist look by layering paint using just a palette brush.  Once he uses the palette brush, he can change the colors of the painting but not the composition.  Shilpa was on board with the base of the painting, thus, Teji carried on.

The base of the painting, before the spatula technique.

The base of the painting, before the spatula technique.

Later check-ins were not as smooth as the earlier ones.  Shilpa’s primary feedback was that the painting looked “spooky” because of the number of shadows that were in the palace.  Teji took the feedback seriously – he brightened the painting a bit, and put lights into the corridors of the palace so that it looked less like a haunted house and more like an evening-lit palace.  With that, the painting was done.  Within three days of being fully dried, the Taj Lake Palace commission arrived from New Delhi, in pristine condition, rolled up in a tube, at Shilpa’s front door in Arlington, VA.

The "spooky" version

The "spooky" version