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Transcendent Landscapes by Uma Kelkar
Transcendent Landscapes by Uma Kelkar

Sat, Feb 10


Colibri Gallery

Transcendent Landscapes by Uma Kelkar

Watercolor paintings depicting the beauty of contemporary life

Time & Location

Feb 10, 2024, 5:00 PM – Mar 16, 2024, 5:00 PM

Colibri Gallery, 17505 Monterey Hwy, Morgan Hill, CA 95037, USA

About the Event

Transcendent Landscapes 

On view through Saturday, March 16, 2024. 

Art Statement:

My mind and schedule are busy and paper provides an escape route, hence some of the busiest locations find a spot in this collection. When I am overwhelmed, I first retreat through the beauty in the scenes I see, then I recreate the escape on paper. I am not always looking for beauty but it creeps up on me. For example, the painting Breakfast at Tiffany's is from a moment in Manchester, UK when I looked up from my breakfast plate and the light all around the room was just right - painting the scene before my eyes from warm to cool. What years of painting has taught me is to understand when beauty strikes me, to slow down, take in the scene, and retain it. Every painting is really a story. One drafts it in pencil, but while it's being created the inspiration behind the scene is at the forefront of my mind. How I describe the scene in my head decides how I paint - if there are soft clouds, the strokes are soft, if there is a jagged skyline that is receding, the strokes are jagged with lighter values.

I paint regularly from photos and on-site as both provide different skills. Plein-air forces quick decisions and the only way to practice this is to paint outside more. Operating conditions of this are smell, sweat, pests and wind that are, thankfully, not replicated in a studio. Painting in studio removes the allegiance to a scene and allows further compositional experimentation. While being in the studio is safe and allows experimentation, it takes away your practice of showmanship. Painting among people looking over your shoulder is a spectator sport and that too requires practice for doing it with aplomb.

A painting is a mixture of inspiration and my mindset. I can by myself on the paper - angry, playful, curious or delighted - as I hold my brush with confidence. It is my hope that the viewer feels this trade. In addition, I want the viewer to stitch together a story from the scene - a painting is interactive if there is something left to interpret.

The common thread that runs through his work is the fact that almost every painting challenged my understanding or skills. The painting of a green hill was painted when I couldn't master greens, the painting of the makk was made when I couldn't find joys in malls. I gain pleasure in facing my shortcomings and seeing if there's a playing field beyond the immediate hurdle. This behavior is addictive. If you have not painted, I implore you to pick up the brush - it's a never ending pursuit that brings joy, satisfaction, and tears but best of all, it corrals a community ( birds of feather) around me - you are now part of this community.

- Uma Kelkar


Uma is an engineer-artist who has made the Bay Area home since 1999. She is a watercolor painter and urban sketcher who also sketches in ink, gouache, and on the iPad. She has taught at Urban Sketchers International Symposia (2017, 2018, 2019, 2024) and is author of Urban Sketching book for the iPad. She strongly believes in cross-pollination and borrowing ideas from various fields to improve sketching. She has exhibited globally with 35+ awards and shows, taught 45+ workshops, authored 2 books, contributed to 6+ books and led 25+ lectures and demos worldwide. She holds signature memberships from CWA, NWS and CSPWC. As a community builder, she has engaged in local watercolor societies as well as international ones. She led Strategy for International Urban Sketchers as an Executive Board member. When Uma is not teaching or creating art, she is Founder-CEO of, an AI startup that focuses on keeping humans in the creative loop, supercharging them and not replacing them. Before her own startup, she had a 20 year semiconductor design career largely in high-speed communication chips. She holds Master of Science (EE) from Stanford University and Bachelor of Engineering from Pune University, India. You can follow her on instagram @umapaints. She is also popular for her hashtag, #ipaintlikeanengineer

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