Monday, November 7, 2011

Nib Painting - "The Pen is Mightier than the Sword"

It so doesn’t happen quite often, that you pause by to admire or appreciate the worth of “trivial” things, such as a pen, in life. Right from the time I learnt to clasp a pen and scribble some nonfigurative forms on walls, to the present times where I write for reputed concerns and leading magazines, I hardly cherished the “power of pen”. Perhaps, I remotely aspired to be neither Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai (for those of you wondering who the hell are they, they are top-notch journalists in India), who utilized the might of the pen to enlighten several dreams, ambitions and thoughts and re-write the destiny of many, nor to follow the footsteps of J.K.Rowling and Chetan Bhaghat, who leveraged this powerful tool to unleash their power of imagination and emerge as trend setters, thereby earning laurels and conquering millions of hearts through their series of books and publications.
While I was too busy in love with my paintbrush, experimenting different strokes and styles of paintings, the breakthrough innovation that came my way was “nib painting”, where I learnt the nuances of using a “pen differently”. Painting is the art in which colors and lines make the visual impression and it is interesting to note that besides a paintbrush, objects like nibs, knives, spatula and even twigs can also be used to accomplish this. All that nib painting required was to apply the mixture of oil colors in right consistency – white and pink for the buds, yellow and orange for the flowers, shades of green and florescent for the leaves and stalks, on the black felt cloth (on which the design was traced previously), prefixed to a wooden board, following which two different kinds of pen nibs were put into use to complete the painting. The one with a round tip was pressed against the surface to form the petals as seen in the buds and the stalks and the other nib with a pointed tip was used to score evenly on the paint to form the intricate lines on the leaves and the flowers. Once dried, the design resembles a neatly knit embroidery work due to the distinct impression of the nibs on the thick oil paints with the uniform black spaces in between. And, needless to say, this “pen”ultimate artistic creation of mine, inked my cerebral folds to comprehend that “the pen is mightier than the sword” not only because it confers wisdom but also because it underlines beauty.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

6 Leelas of Lord Ganesha

Hailing from the Royal clan of "Nattukotai Chettiyars", popularly known as the "Nagarathars" and being native of the ever famous place called "Pillaiyarpatti" (for which Lord Ganesha has been a little extra kind to me, I suppose), I can effortlessly comprehend the attributes of Lord Ganesha to the “Lord of all Beginnings”, “Remover of Obstacles”, “Lord of Letters and Learnings” and of course the “Lord of Intellect and Wisdom”. As far as my virtual acquaintances are concerned, Pillaiyar Nonbu is a signature festival of our community, when mom makes delicacies like "paal paniyaram", "kandharappam", "kozhukattai" and "paayasam" (besides the historical significance and rationale behind the festival) and needless to say, the very inception of all family rituals and ceremonies is by invoking the blessings of the All-pervasive Lord Ganesha. And how can I forget the “unifying” festival of Ganesh Chathurthi, wherein colorful terracotta idols of Lord Ganesha, decked up with flower garlands and fancy umbrellas are taken in procession to be immersed into the sea, filling the air with slogans and praises, shouting “Ganapathi Bappa Moriya” (apart from the fact, that it is a National Holiday in the calendar!) .
My artistic career and accomplishments are no exception, as they also began with a magnificent portrait of Lord Ganesha in the form of Tanjore Art (kindly refer to my first post on Tanjore Paintings) and from there on till date, it has been a successful journey with rewarding experiences. This new artifact, “6 Leelas of Lord Ganesha” is a tribute to all artistic creations, as it is way beyond the over done pencil sketches, traditional paintings, modern art, fusion art, thread work, craft objects and even three dimensional show pieces.
The fact that Lord Ganesha is revered as a patron of art, by virtue of his iconographic elements, can be exemplified by the contemporary representations of his heroic and mischievous deeds, dancing and dramatic scenes or carvings on appealing shapes and symbols. This creation, “6 Leelas of Lord Ganesha” is inimitable, wherein Lord Ganesha is depicted as a musical maestro, exhibiting his versatility by playing 6 different musical instruments, like violin, mridangam, nadaswaram, veena, tabla and tamboora in 6 different incarnations, all captured in a single panorama. The antique lamps, golden bells, scintillating mirrors, embossed pillars with welcoming women deities on either sides, bowl of laddus (his desired offering as Prasad) and his vahana, the rat, all intensify the celebration and complete the paraphernalia.
Certainly, it demanded hours of work and pain-staking efforts, as every minute or mighty object (right from the ornaments to the crown, trunk, belly, hands, instruments, laddus, lamps, bells, women deities, rat, etc,) present in the 36*36 inches huge board, was molded out of ceramic powder (manually), pasted intact and painted with five different coatings of black, gold, bronze, copper and rust , in the order, to bring into existence , the antique creation, “6 Leelas of Lord Ganesha”, as featured in the photograph.
And once again, Lord Ganesha has been kind enough, for having blessed me with the patience, power and perseverance to craft such a supreme artifact in all its splendor and awe,revitalizing the saying, "All that begins well, ends well".
P.S. It has been almost a year, since I posted last & at this juncture, I certainly feel happy and worthy of both, the wait and the work!