“I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.” – William Blake
It is said that a child’s first and foremost contact with the world is through its mother. Our higher life purpose can be found by recognizing what our parents accomplished and where they left off. We form our major ideas by observing the first teachers. Parental energy is the creator of our goals and reveals what has heart and what holds meaning for us..
My mother used to run a preparatory and kindergarten school appropriately called as Mother’s Touch. I have vivid memories of her making lesson plans and enjoyable activities for children. She even designed student learning aids for her school. I have grown up in a family of creative people. Seeds of creativity were sown when my maternal grandmother did a diploma in sewing and embroidery in 1957. She used to make and embroider accessories like handbags. She desired to learn to paint. Since she could not paint, she used to render the botanicals with thread. Her embroidered pieces were not short of painting. My mother is a fashion designer now and runs a boutique; my talents in designing seemed natural. I have inherited my sense of color, childlike joy, curiosity, and sense of adventure from her.
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” – Plutarch
There are two kinds of mentors, firstly in-person and secondly who are no longer alive. Books are hidden treasures from which one can learn from mentors who lived years or centuries ago. When I was contemplating a career change, Leonardo Da Vinci inspired me to value both right brain and left brain strengths. After reading a biography of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali Indian polymath, I learned that one can learn to paint at the age of sixty. Besides sharing a unibrow, Frida Kahlo’s journey from medicine to painting also resonated with me. I decided to rediscover myself, my aspirations and my dreams.
“Style is overrated—it’s merely one’s habit of drawing based on personal experiences. Everyone has a unique style because everyone has a unique life.” – Chris Buzelli
When I was struggling to find an individual artistic voice, reading these words by Chris Buzelli’s was very synchronous. That’s when I turned a corner. Instead of trying to follow trends, I started looking within to form my art vocabulary. I had the pleasure of attending his guest lecture at my alma mater (I was so riveted by his talk that I forgot to photographically document his visit).
“People without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.” -Marcus Garvey
Like every artist my artistic journey has also been existential and a journey of self-discovery. My work draws on both traditional Indian miniature paintings and contemporary themes. The simplicity of opaque watercolor and stylised form, the austerity and, above all, the three-quarter profile of the face with angular face and peculiar bulging of almond-shaped eyes and projection of the chin.
I look at a lot of illustrators who are in the picture book world. I love the off-kilter gauche paintings of Maira Kalman. I’m awed by her ability to capture joy and melancholy in everyday life. I look at Chris Van Alsberg a good deal—I love the magical realism of his work. Norman Rockwell’s idealistic narrative also inspires me. I am also inspired by British Illustrator and naturalist Beatrix Potter. She was a path-breaking woman of Victorian times. She defied the rules set by the society and became earning her living by writing and illustrating children’s books. She is known for her imaginative children’s illustrations and natural history illustrations. Like her, I love the medium of watercolors and using botanicals in my illustrations whenever I can.
“I must have flowers, always, and always.” – Claude Monet
I apparently look at Monet a good deal—I love the way he captures nature and people together in a painting. I admire Morandi’s sensibility, tonal subtlety and color purple. Odilon Redon’s visions, butterflies, and centaurs are magical. Vuillard‘s interiors and patterns are sumptuous. I am less influenced by any one particular artist’s technique and more with periods and themes such as symbolism and nature with emphasis on ideas, emotions, feelings, subjectivity rather than realism
Picture Credits- All the images of artworks by various painters and illustrators are sourced from the internet under creative commons