Instructor: Delna Dastur
Over the years as I developed as an artist, I came to the realization that the process of making a piece of art intrigues me as much as its subject matter. I am never satisfied with using one medium exclusively and always attempt to combine several.

I like the work to be complex, to be multi-layered. I usually begin by carefully choosing a paint color, keeping it liquid enough to be poured and manipulated over the surface of the canvas. This is followed by stamping. I use wooden textile blocks from India in combination with rubber stamps. Next comes the building up of textures. I rake through gels, pastes and clear gessoes using hardware implements and create patterns with templates.

Recently I’ve added yet another layer – transfers. These are selected images whose inks, via a medium, are transferred onto the canvas. It is only after completing these four layers that I begin drawing with charcoal. I embrace charcoal as my primary medium and use a variety of improvised tools to manipulate it.

Random strong lines drawn emphatically at the start of a piece guide the direction the drawing will take, and I permit myself to follow their lead, readily yielding any preconceived notion I may have had. I allow the subject matter to navigate itself, to rise from the medley of emerging shapes. As the images reveal themselves I layer them one upon the other, paying great attention to minute detail and the creation of transparencies, guiding the organic growth of the painting with great care. I want there to be a sense of elusiveness, of the possibility of different ways of interpretation. Intuition is my favorite tool and I embrace it mightily.

In the class that I teach, Abstract Art – New and Creative Approaches, I begin by introducing the students to a different contemporary artist each week in order to investigate various ways abstract art can be created. Since I am interested in process and the creation of multi-layered work, we cover a range of materials and techniques. We explore the many ways charcoal, pastel, ink and paint can be manipulated. I also emphasize the importance of creating transparencies, interesting marks and distinctive compositions. Demonstrations help clarify the technique to be learnt each week.

I’m always expanding on the class, experimenting in my studio with various materials that I can then introduce to the students.
Abstract Art--new & Creative Approaches (all Levels)
Stretching The Limits
Upcoming Shows:
Span Magazine article

I have been accepted as a Fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, (VCCA), an honor that both excites and humbles me. I shall be doing my residency on their beautiful campus for two weeks this summer, where I shall be given a studio to work in undisturbed! The following is the press release they requested I share:

(Amherst, VA) – Delna Dastur of McLean, VA, has been awarded a fellowship by the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA).
 The VCCA is located near Sweet Briar College in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in rural Virginia. Delna Dastur will be among Blue Ridge Mountains in rural Virginia. Delna Dastur will be among
approximately 25 Fellows focusing on their own creative projects at this working retreat for visual artists, writers and composers.

 VCCA Fellows have received worldwide attention through publications, exhibitions, compositions, performances, and major awards and accolades,
through publications, exhibitions, compositions, performances, and major awards and accolades, including MacArthur grants, Pulitzer Prizes, Guggenheim fellowships, National Endowment for the Arts awards, Rome Prizes, Pollock-Krasner grants.
Artist Website & Video: 
Student Work: [CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The following are images of paintings and drawings that students in Delna Dastur's classes have created.   A contemporary abstract artist is introduced during each lesson.  The students learn how to use different techniques and materials based on these artists in order to produce their pieces.

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