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Unveiling the Muse: Inspirations Behind My Latest Art Collection

As my debut solo exhibition, Lost in Color, adorns the walls of the Lindsay Dirkx Brown Art Gallery in San Ramon, CA, I am excited to take you on a journey into the heart of my creative process. In this blog post, I share the inspiration behind the collection, weaving in memories, stories, and the diverse elements that shaped these paintings.

Where the Collection Blossomed

In the spring on 2022, while creating paintings inspired by the blooming flowers that define the season, a sense of longing for my hometown of London overwhelmed me. I yearned for the delicate white and pink blossom that adorned the city, marking the arrival of spring and breathing life into its grey streets. Despite being in California, memories of cherry, plum and apple tree blossom reminded me of the beauty that unfolded each spring in London.

Rediscovering Memories Through Flowers

As I immersed myself in a series of paintings depicting tree blossom, ‘Beckoning the Spring’, vivid recollections of the places I had witnessed these blooms resurfaced. London, Japan, Korea – they all became intertwined in my artistic exploration. One day, as I worked on a cherry blossom-inspired painting, I impulsively grabbed a marker and sketched in the iconic Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, Korea. The stark contrast between the man-made structure and delicate blossom intrigued me. This impromptu sketch paved the way for the creation of a painting that evoked memories and anchored my art to specific places.

Vivid original painting in acrylic of pink and white cherry blossom against abstract background in blue and pink hues and a painted line illustration of Seoul's Gyeongbokgung Palace by California based contemporary artist, Malti B Lee
Inspired by Seoul no°2, 2022, From the Beckoning the Spring collection. My first finished painting combining line-drawn architectural details with painted flowers.

Cities as a Canvas

Unable to travel internationally due to visa restrictions at the time, my studio became the gateway to explore my global memories. This collection became a metaphorical passport, allowing me to travel as I explored the experiences of millions living in cities who find flowers against the backdrop of buildings. The fusion of natural elements with the architectural wonders of cities became the cornerstone of this collection.

Malti’s paintings have a vibrancy and intrigue that draw in audiences. From her choice of colors and subject matter, to the combination of techniques that she employs, her painting voice is distinct and distinguishable

DeeDee Hunt, Hunt & Gather Gallery owner

Subject Matter: Urban and Natural Harmony

Lost in Color combines expressive flowers from the natural world with line-drawn buildings of urban environments, capturing the essence of cities and their coexistence with nature. Each painting is anchored to a specific city from my past, somewhere across the globe that I’ve worked, lived or travelled. There’s a story behind each painting. I share an insight into these alongside my paintings as they are exhibited.

'Over the Bridge', original artwork by San Francisco Bay Area-based contemporary British Indian female artist, Malti B Lee, created in acrylic on stretched canvas of orange California poppies and English lavender against an abstract purple and orange background with a detailed line drawing of the Mathematical Bridge and Queens' College, University of Cambridge, England
Over the Bridge

My time living in Cambridge was filled with magic, learning and friendship. I spent many years living in Queens’ College, running across this very bridge as I went to lectures, labs, dinners and everything in between. From the early mornings as the sun rose when I’d be going to the boathouse, to the late evenings when I’d be heading out with friends, the Mathematical Bridge would be there – for the start and end of each day.

This piece acknowledges the rich experiences across my life; from to the view over Queens’ College, a nod to my 4 years at the University of Cambridge, to the English lavender, a nod to my family home in England, and the orange poppies, a nod to my present in California.

Techniques: Brushstrokes of Growth and Exploration

For me, satisfaction and fulfilment come from continued learning. Artistic growth and exploration underpin my creative processes. Each painting in this collection is built in distinct stages that employ different techniques and engage different parts of my creative brain

  1. Building up the abstract background: Employing bold and vivid colors, I move paint around the canvas with brushes and palette knives to build up the visual foundations for the subsequent layers
  2. Drawing in architectural details: Architectural elements are meticulously rendered with precise lines using white acrylic paint markers. I look to capture the unique character of each urban structure focusing on capturing the perspective and intricate details
  3. Painting in flowers: Infusing the artwork with energy and vitality, I paint oversized flowers in different styles, sometimes expressive, sometimes more representational; each flower is created in a burst of colour and emotion, an invitation to immerse yourself in these works
The creative process behind my ‘Lost in Colour’ paintings

Lost in Color: A Collection, An Exhibition

In a world where there is so much noise, I hope that Lost in Color creates the space to transport you to a moment somewhere else. As you navigate the vivid colors, intricate details, and personal narratives within this collection, may you find yourself captivated by the stories embedded in the brushstrokes. Lost in the city. Lost in nature. Lost in Color.

Lost in Color is on view May 2 – 30, 2023 at the Lindsay Dirkx Brown Art Gallery in San Ramon, CA, featuring 50+ paintings, minis and studies from my latest collection. Learn more about the exhibition.

What inspires your own creative practices? I would love to hear more in the comments.

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