We had never commissioned a work before, but were confident that [Alka] could create a piece for us. Wanting a lasting reminder of historic Pittsford, NY, a small village split by the Erie Canal, she drew a magnificent painting with mules on the towpath pulling a packet boat down the water through lush countryside with familiar old buildings in the background. Incorporating colors complimentary to our room, the beautiful watercolor provides a restful view of the past from a prime spot above our sofa.
– Ned and Chris Miller
Alka Dalal is a painter of passionate waters. She has a taste for harmonious colors. Our painting depicts the sacred syllable OM which symbolizes Brahman the impersonal Absolute of Hinduism — omnipotent, omnipresent, and the source of all manifest existence. Brahman, in itself, is incomprehensible; so a symbol becomes mandatory to help us realize the Unknowable.
– Parthiv and Shirali Kothari
Alka Dalal has been painting in a variety of different mediums and formats for 30 years.
After drawing regularly as a child, the artist began painting in the 1980s with floral pieces and landscapes using oil on canvas. Both subjects had a vivacity of color (especially flowers) and required a substantial attention to detail. Over time, she expanded into water- color, acrylic, mixed media, monoprint, and collage and experiment- ed with abstract art.
For the artist, painting was a powerful medium to express her creativity and a form of meditation. They also allowed her to express the values of her Jain faith. Additionally, it has always been important to help those less fortunate – and many paintings have been donated or sold, with proceeds benefiting other organizations and people.
While this exhibit concentrates on the artist’s canvas paintings, Alka has created work in a variety of different formats including greeting cards, bookmarks, clayboard, fabric, scratched paintings, and backlit paintings. More recently, she has created artwork and taught others in the one stroke technique for decorative pieces in acrylic.
Alka was previously Chair of the Exhibition Committee at the JAINA convention, where she championed artwork that promoted inner peace and reducing world conflict. She was also President of the Raritan Valley Art Association, one of the oldest art associations in NJ.
Alka was born in Mumbai, India and immigrated to America in 1972. She received her BS and MA from New York University, and an MS from Rutgers University. She has taught art for nearly two decades in New Jersey and California, and provides both individual and group lessons in acrylic and watercolor painting.
Flowers were one of the artist’s first themes due to their beauty, variety of colors, and multiplicity of floral arragements. The paintings on this subject compose a large part of the exhibit – and show the artist’s skill in a variety of different mediums including oil, watercolor, acrylic, and mixed media.
One of the earliest paintings (and a favorite of the artist) is of the Strelitzia, a South African flower, commonly referred to as the bird of paradise or crane flower. With its iconic orange, blue, indigo, and green colors, its nickname derives from its similarity to South Asian and Australian birds of paradise. The flower is a popular symbol and shown on the South African 50c coin and is the floral embelm of Los Angeles.
Landscapes allowed the artist to reimagine real world scenes and photographs through her own perspectives. The landscapes cover a panoply of subjects from sunrise/sunset, to farm buildings, famous vistas, and foreign countries.
A tiny handful of the 2,000 photographs taken by the artist were transformed into paintings – and Alka’s interest in landscape painting led her to spend a substantial amount of time on her photography skills.
A favorite of the artist is her scenescape of Monterrey, California – a city on the Central Coast in California that attracted many artists including Salvador Dali and John Steinbeck. This painting was created over several days from a photograph previously taken.
A substantial number of these paintings have been sold or gifted over the years. Of particular note, was a commissioned watercolor piece of vintage 1800s New York State which is now hanging in Pittsford, NY.
As the artist matured in the mid 1990s, she began to explore a variety of abstract forms such as collages in a number of media.