Wednesday, January 04, 2006

escaped artist

art continues to elude me to this day. my sister, like most other elder sisters who set the bar for the younger sibling, had a mini portfolio of her sketches and paintings by the time she was 11 or 12. whereas her art was a deliberate study in designs and colors, mine was more of the modern kind. i painted on cloth and for want of material my shorts and t-shirts would usually serve as canvas. the unidentifiable "dyes" that my play areas abounded in mixed chaotically on my clothes and imbued them with a unique fragrance that my sister's paintings never had. of course as most master painters, i too was much ahead of my time. my unappreciative mom with soap and water would quickly turn masterpiece into blank canvas only for me to start painting again.

as you've probably guessed, i was a school-fearing kid who studiously sat through the entire rigor a christian school imposed on one. i was lucky to be born with the skill to avoid direct eye contact with teachers and like many others experienced euphoria when fate chose to grant us a reprieve of a mere 40 minutes in the form of a sick teacher. drawing class was different. it was usually a riot whether the teacher was sick or not. i had this box of camel oil colors that came in really small tubes with tiny caps that looked like lilliputian toothpaste. most colors came out looking nothing like what the label indicated and the lemon yellow tube had a cap that was sealed to the tube. i discovered it was usable only after i ingeniously opened up the other end and promptly created "little drop of sun on white shirt". they had us draw strange things at that school. once we had to draw an angel fish , which to me was the simplest as it was white and all i had to do was trace an outline of the fish in black. that it turned out to look like the ghost of an octopus was well noted by my teacher who promptly issued a redraw. of course everything paled in comparison to the dreaded S.U.P.W where we were made to create paper roses and plaster of paris wall hangings. yup 8th standard boys making paper roses. have never really found out what was socially useful about that. after those 2 classes any art that was left in me, packed up its easels and moved on to artsier minds.

for some reason i really like architecture. before you jump to the conclusion it might've been rand's tale of roark that caused this turn, i'll step in and clarify that its more of an art vandelay kind of a thing. and by extension i like any art that captures architecture. i was recently touring the web on a search engine when i came upon these 2 guys who toured india a long time ago and captured some beautiful images on canvas. several ancient structures posed as subjects for these fellas and one in particular was to my liking. so here you go, for your patience in reading so far : some free art.

and if you do know of sketches and paintings of the ancient architectural kind, drop me a line will ya ? i'll thank you with all my art :)


lenscrafter said...

art class was such a joyous occasion .. spent painting such celebrated works as 'white glass of milk' - water color on canvas.

Anonymous said...

William @ Daniell has painted a
picture of the papanasam falls
in tirunelvelli district. What is striking is that nothing much has changed in the area. I have been there in my teenage years(30 years ago). They were in the news few years back when some of there works were auctioned off.
There was a private library in the
College road area (where I used to work) which had a number of British era books which were easy to access with lot of information on art and architecture. This library was part of a Government office compound. I remember seeing the 'Care'(some food program) office there in the same complex. It is sad that many of the British era buildings will be gone forever for these are secular architecture and the concept of historic preservation is not in our blood.
Senate house in university of Madras is a great place to visit.
Chisholm the guy who designed it was also the founder of Madras school of Art (Egmore?) This is one building which has Hindu, Islamic and Christian elements in its design. There are Hindu figures in the stone column capitals, and the iron work in railings are distinctly Islamic.
(geometric kind) I had the good fortune to see some blueprints of of that building.
People are not going to miss something that they don't care about. When I first came to this country I noticed that even small towns had mueseums, showcasing their History.
There was a recent article about a Map Dealer who was caught red handed in Yale University trying to walk away with some old maps. I guess there is good money in these things in this country.
I can relate to what you say about the 'mini tooth paste' type paint tubes. Windsor and Newton was only heard about and it was a great pleasure to buy their products when I came to this country. In those days Perumal Chetty in the Paris Corner area was the place to buy art related stuff and the store had a very strange ambience. Everything was kept in locked glass cases and they didn't have a great selection either.
The school library had books on water color paintings with a lot of text and few plates of black and white paintings.
When I had the time there were no resources and today with all the resources in this country there is no time to paint.

catcharun said...

lens : i remember anjaneylu's sessions well.. also remember lazing around in his class

sam : i've seen that's quite nice. i am not sure about the state of buildings in chennai now but any building that is in use tends to be preserved. the ripon building and the IG's office for example .i am sure the attitude of preservation does exist as much in the minds of people in india as it does here. its just that a building has to sustain itself to a certain extent.
i get my dose of chennai trivia via chenthil : you might want to take a gander at it.thanks a lot for your insights.

Anonymous said...

instead of the the usual sarcastic, brutally hurting remarks, let me for once actually acknowledge that it was well written.

i was blessed with a more un-rounded education, of course english was not part of it either, we were groomed to become men in out SUPW class, not that i am implying something else with you Christian education. We played with fuses, hammers and things that can hurt you good, unlike the occasional paper cuts you had. Well I know how tough paper cuts can be, but dude I am talking about some good old electrical shocks here.

Anyway I did look at the guy's page in a little more detail, machan looks like another desi wannabe, i met on in bread co the other day, boodha frankin, sala desh gaya tha...

anyway more later, nice post, this has helped me better understand "your current" relatioship...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the lead to Chenthil's Blog. His blog led me to another blog by Ashok and he had some interesting British era photographs.
Preserving buildings will make economic sense. The French have made a living out of preserving their art and architecture for centuries.
Politicians and business people seem less aware of the importance of preservation and go for immediate gains. Case in point - The proposal to demolish Queen Mary's College to give way for some other use. I remember the Moore Market fire and Spencer Fire as well.
A generation growing up with meaningful art education from an early age will produce adult politicians and business people sensitive about protecting their heritage.
Here in USA their is a national registar of historic places. Government as well as corporate sponsors help maintain these places.
For those who say art education has no practical value to the students, studies in psychology point out that skills learned in one field is applied in other fields. (Buzzword-creativity, right brain thinking) Granted that everyone is not going to be a Monet, the fundamentals they learn will stay with them forever.

The paintings of William & Daniell belong to India. They are not worth as much to the West as a Monet. A corporate entity can buy and bring these paintings back to India. Collecting art, in the long run will prove to be a very wise investment. I can think of many ideas to market these paintings!

Thanks again for the lead!

catcharun said...

anon : rolling over and playing dead is not your role..bring on the sarcasm..that's the only reason i still tolerate you
as to your supw, was it a sir or madam that taught you..that determines what one learns..also my condolences to the poor guys who ended up with the girls in your SUPW class who were obviously "groomed to become men"...heh heh
good pun abt my "current relationship"...seems like you've picked up some english after tying the knot

Sam : as much as i sympathise with the plight of art preservation, there are a lot of issues that fight each other for the scarce resrouces. lets just hope none of them lose out.