• Riddhi Malhotra

Art Year In Review - 2020

This year has been strange in a lot of ways. But for me, it’s been the most art filled year of my life. (I said the same thing in 2018, which means I’m progressing right? So it’s a good sign :))


I have painted 115 finished paintings in 2020, and 45 of them have found a home somewhere around the world, which is still unbelievable to me! The rest are still with me. Sitting at my desk right now, I can see them everywhere - any direction I look in my home, it’s filled to the brim with art. Here’s a brief timeline of what my art world looked like this year. This is more of a journal for myself than for anybody else, because despite everything that has happened, 2020 has been one of the happiest years of my life :)


I discovered this year that the formula for finishing a lot of paintings was to paint in series. I can clearly define the different phases of my art this year, and I need to continue working in series because it’s the most fun and the most productive.


This was the first painting I painted this year. It’s a 16”x20”, on a deep edge canvas.



It was a continuation of the deep edge ocean series that I started in 2019. I made about 10 paintings which were on sturdy thick stretched canvases. I love painting the edges of a thick canvas, because it looks exceptional when you hang it.


In February, I discovered a local art store I didn’t know about. Every other evening I would go there and spend more time and money than I should have. It was my respite and reward after a taxing day at work. They had these tiny 4”x4” canvases, which looked so cute that I painted a few of them with little landscapes. And that’s how the Desk Buddies series was born.

I quickly bought about 30 of those little canvases, and painting those tiny landscapes brought me so much joy! I still have a few of them with me which I absolutely love.

More Desk Buddies - 4"x4"x1"

In March, when the world went into lockdown, the pressure from my full time job eased a bit, and I decided to paint one small painting every day that I was at home. I was inspired by Lena Danya’s “Oiltober” series, where she painted one small oil painting every day for the month of October. Little did I know the stay-at-home would last almost an entire year! I kept the shenanigan up for about 25 days and painted many small paintings on A5 size canvas sheets. The thing I learnt was that you progress and learn so much faster when you paint small and more frequently than when you spend months on just one project. It made me want to take risks and try new subjects too. I wasn’t too bothered if one of the paintings didn’t come out as good as I wanted it to be. It was just one of the many I made during such a short time. It also built up my catalogue for putting up on Instagram and Etsy.



The next series I got into was my ocean wave series on canvas boards. I had always painted on stretched canvases, but I had a stack of 12”x16” canvas boards stored somewhere deep in my studio that I had completely forgotten about. I decided to prime all of them and wait for inspiration to hit me. The first thing I made was this triptych, which was instantly picked up by a wonderful lady in the US. I am so proud of this set that it made it to the cover of my 2021 Seascape calendar. I then painted many more wave paintings on sturdy canvas boards. The best thing about these was that because they were so stiff, they took the palette knife really well.



In November, I picked up a long abandoned project of creating a 2021 seascape calendar. I had been trying to get one out for the past 2 years, but never found the time or the right portfolio to do that. For days I scoured my archives for the 12 best of my horizontal seascape paintings. Once they were picked, it was designing time. I created the entire calendar in photoshop - all this was the easy part. The hard part was to find the right paper and printer for the calendar. After evaluating several samples, I finally landed at the shimmery silver paper, which made the paintings look the best, and launched the calendar in early December. I was overwhelmed by the response, and realised I had underestimated the print quantity and had to get many more printed. I hope to be able to continue doing this project every year, because it was the most fun thing I’ve done in a long time!


You can still purchase this calendar, by visiting here.


Between all of these, the entire year was peppered with watercolor experiments, graphite and gouache paintings that never made it to anybody else’s eyes, hours of timelapse footage shot and edited, many pieces wrapped and packaged carefully, many trips to the post office, and many many online shopping packages of art supplies. Here we are entering 2021 to start fresh projects, looking for fresh new inspirations to make it an even better year (both art wise and other wise :)) Have a happy new year!


Packaging Art is one of my favourite things to do!

Let me know about your favourite memories from 2020 in the comments below :)

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