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Home Cover Features Filling in Happiness

Filling in Happiness

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Filling in Happiness

India has produced great artists like Raja Ravi Varma, Jamini Roy, M F Husain, S H Reza and Tyeb Mehta to name a few, who have dabbled in various mediums of Art. Even in the City of Nawabs, there are stalwarts like Laxma Goud, Laxman Aelay, Surya Prakash and Thota Vaikunta, who have put Telangana art on the world map. Today, as you walk down the Hussain Sagar Road, there are some artists who do live sketches and come vacations, many students also adults take up painting as a hobby. In Art, there are different kinds of mediums - colour pencils, pastels, oils, acrylics, ink and charcoal where brushes, knives or sponges can be used to fill in colours. Added to this there are different styles of art – Madhubani, Kalighat, Kangra, Rajput, Mughal, Samikshavad, Tanjore, Warli, Kerala mural painting among many others.  Whatever is the Art Medium or Style, enjoy filling in the colours on the Canvas magnificently.

The first gift one gets as a child is a box of crayons and Colouring Book or a Magic Painting Book - you just add water and the hidden colours emerge lighting up a child’s face. Or if your handwriting is bad, you are told to do colouring and stick to your line, in short ensuring that you don’t step out from the circle while colouring, which teaches us concentration and patience. I am sure many of us would have undergone this as a child and the same would be happening with this generation of kids too.

Filling in Happiness

A lay man may not know that there are different kinds of mediums and Styles in Art. One of the most popular art mediums used across the world is Oil Paints or Acrylic, Water Colour, Black ink, Pencil, Charcoal, Coffee Essence, Mixed Media, to name a  few. Some of the styles of painting  –  Chinese, Tang Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, Shan shui, Ink and wash painting, Hua Niao, Zhe School, Wu School, Contemporary, Japanese, Yamato-e, Rimpa School, Emakimono, Kano School, Shijo School, Super Flat, Korean, Islamic, Persian miniature, Mughal miniature, Ottoman miniature, in the Indian there are - Oriya School, Bengal School, Kangra, Madhubani, Mysore, Rajput, Mughal, Samikshavad, Tanjore, Warli, Kerala mural painting among many others.

What’s that one name that comes to you, when you think of a contemporary Indian artist - M F Husain, who began his humble journey as a painter, but went on to win international laurels for the country. Among some of the proud Indian names include Raja Ravi Verma, Jamini Roy, Amrita Shergill, Tyeb Mehta to name a few. In apna Hyderabad, the popular names include Thota Vaikuntam, Laxman Aelay, Laxma Goud and Surya Prakash to name a few.

In the world, the names that ring a bell include Michael Angelo and Pablo Picasso. Picasso, a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright, is considered as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. The Spanish artist is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, co-inventor of collage, and wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Picasso’s work is often categorised into periods.

Considered to be the greatest living artist during his lifetime, despite making inroads into many disciplines, Michael Angelo took up such a high order of work that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with his rival and fellow artist, Leonardo da Vinci. He sculpted two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, before he turned 30. Angelo was often called Il Divino. Many artists have tried to imitate Michael Angelo’s impassioned and highly personal style.

In lay terms, Painting is applying paint, pigment, colour or other medium to a surface with a brush and other materials like knives, sponges, combs, brushes and others. Painting is a form of expression and it can be done on surfaces like walls, paper, canvas, wood, glass, lacquer, clay, leaf, copper and concrete. Other materials like sand, clay, paper, plaster, gold leaf, and objects can be used in a painting for visual appeal.

Stepping into the Siri Institute of Painting, located in Himayat Nagar, one was greeted with many students engrossed in art on a busy afternoon. The young children were busy using pencil and pastel colours to enthuse colour into their drawings. Some were on the easel, giving finishing touches to their works, while the others were sketching and drawing. Instructors were there to help them.

Swamy, Director, said that a person can start off in any medium of art. “Each medium has its own advantages and is often suitable to various types of painting. Most artists begin with one medium and after experimenting with others, settle in their choice of medium. Most professionals use the acrylic, oil painting, mixed media – where materials like sand and wood are used in the art work.”

Swamy said that it would be ideal for an artist to begin with the basics of drawing rather than straight away get into painting. “Drawing will create perfection and help in putting it on paper, the visualisation in mind,” he said. Swamy feels that if one sincerely practices with some tips, everyone can draw. “A good grasp of the basic techniques of drawing will help in many mediums as well as pencil, charcoal, pastels or pen and ink,” he said.  The director said that Charcoal medium helps in shading and structuring outlines and this shading will give the painting more depth.

Filling in Happiness

“Working with Pastels can also be fun and different results can be achieved if used with other mediums. On the other hand, one can graduate to Water colours as they dry quickly and can be done on paper and if unhappy trash it and make a fresh one,” he said.

According to the director, painting with Acrylics can be fun but for an artist to get used with this medium takes time. He states that Acrylic paints are water-soluble and they dry quickly. He advises that Acrylics should be used to one’s advantage and it shows up if it is used to create abstract works. One can paint Acrylics on to many surfaces including the canvas or board. “Use of Oil paints can be a little difficult, if the artist is not perfect in using thinners and other paraphernalia,” he said.

Personally, the director, who won a painting competition, at the Republic Day parade in 1988, as a NCC cadet was given a job, in the NCC Directorate, Hyderabad, as clerk, but with passion for painting, he quit that and enrolled at the College of Fine Arts Hyderabad for BFA. “Ages ago when colour photography had not invaded the country in such large numbers, the elite thought it as a privilege to get artists to paint their portraits. Sometimes, it was live painting too,” Swamy said.

The director began his artistic journey with portraits, and started the Siri Institute in the early 1990s. His school is open to children from five years. “Age is sno matter to join. Till date, thousands of students have learnt from here, and many of them have taken it up as a profession,” he shared. His wife Siva Kumari too is an artist and runs a Siri branch at Banjara Hills.

Swamy said that just like the alumni of a university and college, their students too have formed an organisation, Siri Artists’ Welfare Association, which regularly holds exhibitions and takes students to places like Ajanta and Ellora and Warangal for live painting. “Recently, Siri Institute of Paintings & Siri Artists’ Welfare Association held ‘The Mystic Musings in Stone’, an exhibition of murals and paintings of Khajuraho Temple Sculptures at Muse Art Gallery in January – February 2017.

“A group of artists thought it fit to pay a befitting tribute to these sculptors, by replicating, the wonderful sculptures for the view of art lovers, and bring out an exhibition of murals and paintings,” Swamy said.

Filling in Happiness

He clarifies that Tanjore Painting, Fabric Painting, Glass Painting and Etching fall under craft category.  “To complete one Tanjore painting, it takes nearly a month depending on the size and intricacies. It needs lot of patience and many women are interested in this,” he said. Swamy said that even Telangana paintings have their beauty. “They can be distinguished by the vibrant colours and big Bindi and turmeric. In Andhra Pradesh too, the Kalamkari from Srikalahasti has its own distinctive style,” he said.

If you have been to the Hussain Sagar or Indira Park in the evenings, you can catch many artists trying to sketch people live. “If you have practiced your lines well, a sketch will take not more than half an hour,” he said.  The director advises that an artist must practice with concentration and deep involvement to make a success of his career. “Painting is an expression that lets out your emotions. It is one form of meditation. Fine Arts will always be there. Culture is always caught on the canvas for preservation and posterity,” he said.

One Centre in the heart of the city that regularly conducts different kinds of art workshops, Our Sacred Space, ignites the young and old alike. In recent times, they have held workshops on Tanjore Painting, Pencil and Charcoal, Coffee Essence, Kalighat, Madhubani, Pata Chitra, sketching among many others.

Trishna Pattnaik, Mumbai-based artist has conducted a series of workshops at Our Sacred Space. “Charcoal is a wild counterpart: it’s bold, daring and dramatic. It’s much darker than any pencil and has richness, making drawing with charcoal a completely unique experience,” she said. Trishna said that drawing pencils are often considered to be sturdy, reliable and precise. “Every pencil artist has their own way of doing things. The workshop showcased some methods of working with drawing pencils and charcoal,” she said. Using these methods the budding artists could recreate abstract, floral, landscape and even portraits.

The word Kali brings into mind the land of Bengal, where Goddess Kali is worshipped. History states that Kalighat painting or Kalighat Pat originated in the 19th century Bengal, in the vicinity of Kalighat Kali Temple, Kolkata. Many visitors to the area would take back souvenirs after a visit to the Kali temple, and over the years, Kalighat paintings emerged as a distinct style of painting.

“From the depiction of Hindu gods, goddesses, and other mythological characters, the Kalighat paintings developed to reflect a variety of themes,” said the historian. Another style of art is ‘Pata Art’ By Patuas. In mana city, national awardee Ranjit Chitrakar has conducted workshops. History states that Pata is an ancient folk art, so ancient that it has been mentioned in the Puranas and other early literature. “This style of painting is similar to the cave paintings of Mohenjodaro, Harappa and Ajanta.”

Pata, an ancient folk art, is appreciated by art lovers all over the world for its effortless style of drawings, colours, lines and space usage. The world Pata derived from the Sanskrit word Patta means cloth. The painters are called Patuas. Patuas do not just paint, they also sing as they unfurl the painting scroll to show it to the audience. The songs are of wide variety ranging from traditional mythological tales and tribal rituals to stories based on modern Indian history and contemporary issues. Patuas generally use natural colours procured from trees, leaves, flowers and clays.

Filling in Happiness

Trishna Pattnaik, who has conducted Coffee Essence Workshop here, said that it is basically coffee painting. “Fabulous compositions can be made with just coffee and water. The intriguing factor in this art form is how a simple coffee concoction is used to derive different tones, get various patterns in place and finally it sums up into an art work,” she said. With coffee, artists can create anything beginning from abstracts, graphics, and landscapes to even figurines.

The other styles of painting are Madhubani, a tribal art form that is a free hand art with lot of scope for imagination and innovation. Gond Painting, primarily motifs and themes. The country has produced remarkably brilliant artists, and the art dates back to ancient times, which is visible even today in the cave paintings of Ajanta and Ellora. Indian painters have excelled their proficiency in religious and abstracts.

Some Popular Hyderabadi artists are:

Laxman Aelay: Laxman Aelay’s subject has been the life of people from his village and specific culturally of a village with men, women against the backdrop of their homes. He likes doing indeterminates and is now specialising in Hyperrealism.

Laxma Goud: Laxma Goud is a painter, printmaker and draughtsman. He works in variety of mediums including etching, gouache, pastel, sculpture, and glass painting. He is best known for his early drawings that depict rural environment.

Thota Vaikuntam: Thota Vaikuntam’s paintings capture simple lifestyle of villagers like paddy fields, toddy pots on shoulders of men, household chores, temple rituals etc. The women in his paintings have big bindi. His drawings range from stark charcoal on paper, transparent washes and pencil drawings.

Surya Prakash: Surya Prakash works mainly in oils and acrylic and is inspired by the French Impressionists. His works are in a number of individual and Institutional collections all over the world.

A Distinguishable painting from South

Tanjore Painting originally hails from a place in Tamil Nadu called Thanjavur. The Tanjore painting is distinguished by its famous gold coating. They are categorised by rich, flat and vivid colours, simple iconic composition, glittering gold foils overlaid on delicate but widespread gesso work and inlay of glass beads and pieces or very rarely precious and semi-precious gems.

Principally serving as religious icons, the subjects of most paintings are Hindu gods, goddesses, and saints. Episodes from Hindu Puranas and Sthala-puranas are visualised, sketched or traced and painted with the main figures in the central section of the picture. Tanjore works are executed on canvas pasted on a wooden support and framed. Generally vivid reds, deep greens, chalk white, turquoise blues and lavish use of gold (foil) and inset glass beads are used in these paintings.

I have been learning painting for the last two years. It is my passion to learn art. In these two years, I have learnt all mediums – Charcoal, Pencil, Water Colours, Acrylic and others. Whatever art works I have created I have given it to my teachers and people.

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