Dining with the Sultan: The Fine Art of Feasting at LACMA (along with its companion exhibition Dining with the Sultan at Charles White Elementary School) explores food traditions in the Islamic world. On view are objects used to prepare, cook, and serve meals, as well as paintings, manuscripts, clothing and the incredible Damascus reception room from the 18th-century that you can actually walk into.
Make sure to check out the miniature paintings. Each tells a story with a lot of details. To make your own painting, you can start by using any paper you have. I used an oversized index card, some watercolors and a few markers and pens.
First, make a border. You can use a ruler or freehand it like I did.
Next decorate your border with design motifs, words, or a story. I kept it simple.
Figure out what you will draw in the main part of the paper. Oranges in December remind me of the holidays, so I’m going to go with that. Draw whatever you are thinking about now!
Here’s a trick when using watercolor paints: use a tiny bit of water on your brush, then swirl the brush in the paint palette in circles. Count to 20 or until you have more paint on your brush than water. That way your colors will look nice and jewel-like. And who doesn’t like jewels?
Now start painting!
You get to make your artwork in a way that makes sense to you. After I painted my oranges, I worked on the border. Maybe you will want to finish your entire painting. Maybe you don’t like borders. The only rules here are the ones that you make up!
If you noticed in the first photograph that I had a gold pen with my supplies, then you have a sharp eye! I wanted to make a nice shiny gold background for my oranges. But guess what? The gold pen was dried up. Luckily the silver pen still worked, so I made a silver background instead. Guess what again? I love it!
Just as I was thinking about how much I love the silver marker, I realized that the border looked too plain. So I added more to it. I used a regular black pen that you might use for writing in a notebook, and drew some designs right over the red watercolor paint.
I used that same pen to add some details on the oranges, and some colored pens to accentuate the border designs.
After I looked at my painting from a distance, I added some finishing touches and let it dry on the table.
Every time I go to LACMA, I get ideas for my own art. What kind of ideas do you get when you spend the day at LACMA?
If you share your artwork on social media, tag us at @lacma! We love seeing your art!