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Painting in ink has been on my mind, and I knew my next piece would begin as a puddly playground. Painting an area with clean water, placing a brush loaded with undiluted black and letting it bleed in beautifully, no forms. Yet.

And then pulling shapes out, finding and defining edges, studying impossibly detailed and exact scanning electron micrograph (SEM) images of lichen. When there are images that are the closest we can “see”, thanks to this electron-bouncing imaging technology, it is funny that while I paint I can’t help but peer closely and try to see even more where the tangled hyphae disappear into darkness.


These organisms are amazing, evolutionarily: symbiosis! ecologically: pioneer species! aesthetically: beautiful! Lichens are the textbook example of symbiosis, organisms living in association. Often the caption under a token photo will state that the fungus and cyanobacteria or a green algae benefit each other: fungus providing support and protection, photobiont providing nourishment through photosynthesis… but up close?


KAnandakuttan2014 Lichen cross-section magnified, ink and watercolor on paper

More on ink inspiration below: painter Li Huayi  “Spark visits Li Huayi at work in his studio and at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where he discusses the similarities between Chinese painting and abstract expressionism, particularly the energy and spontaneity of the brushstrokes…”


Art of Krista Anandakuttan on Facebook


Saatchi Art/Krista Anandakuttan