Friday, 18 January 2019

A 100 Shades Of Green

One of the questions artists are often faced with is “what to paint”? A blank canvas is a point of endless possibilities, a medium to a number of destinations. How does one decide which is the best choice at a given moment?

It is believed that the best kind of art is personal. Paint about your life, they said. Paint about what makes you you. Your journey, your story. Your dark nights of the soul. And I've been doing that intermittently over the years now, mostly as a form of catharsis, and it isn't always pretty. In fact, the work can often be grim, sombre, depressing. Does the world really need that kind of art, I asked myself. That would just keep us more rooted to the same. So instead of painting what’s wrong with life and the world around me, I decided to focus on something else that is personal, too. The source of my strength, my light, my eternal joy...Nature. I have been doing so since 2007. 

Even ten minutes spent in nature lifts up one's spirits, as anyone can attest. And while I am always interested in landscapes in general, I find it is paying attention to the details, getting up close to the flora around, that can be a very enriching, healing experience.

Around the same time that I started these paintings, (coincidentally?) I came across a prayer, or affirmation, on an online portal called Prosveta that appealed to me very much, “Thank you. I love you. I’m in harmony with you. Help me accomplish the will of God.” I started repeating this to myself whenever I would go on my walks in the garden. After a while it felt like the trees and plants around, and the spirits in them, could hear me, feel me. And even as I felt the subtle changes in my mental makeup from repeating this affirmation, I found myself more and more drawn to depicting nature and the idea of living in harmony with nature in my art.

At first, my representations were realistic, photo-realistic even. Gradually I started moving away from that, to making them more conceptual.

Over a period of time, leading to the present, as I moved away from painting from my head to painting and creating from my intuition, instinctively, allowing myself to be lead by the process, instead of trying to control it, my “representations” of nature have became more abstract, attempting to capture the essence of it all in a simplistic, direct, personal way.

Be it the glorious palette of colours, the myriad shapes, the abundant art attempts to serve as a joyous reminder of how blessed we are to enjoy the bounteous creations of the source that supports us all.

Can art be a source of light? Of goodness? Of joy? I hope mine is. It definitely is a source of joy to me,  as I find the very act of painting and drawing very grounding, healing, even empowering. The process brings me to the "Now", and no matter what the product, or how well it is received by others, I'm happy to keep on at it. Because art is soul food.

A gentle reminder for those interested, some of the art work from the latest series will be on view from February 16 to 28, 2019, at The Gallery, Hotel Ambassador Pallas, Chennai. 

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