Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Happily Ever After..

-->Dear Diary,
Some experiences are truly life changing. They are a breath of fresh air, sometimes exactly what you need at that very point of time. They leave you with a fresh perspective, new ideas and a different view towards life altogether.
As proud as I may sound, I am sure I have been lucky enough to experience one of them. Starting from the day I penned down my dream, I was in love with it. I had never imagined that my post graduation could give me an opportunity to actually discover myself! (Till then, it was just Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for me). And to be very honest, however composed I was at the crust, a part of me was waiting so impatiently for the results of the first round to be declared. And of course I was ecstatic, unaware of the exhilaration and a strange sense of satisfaction that I would be experiencing in a few months time.
And that’s that.
It has been an inexplicable journey.
A lot of people have asked me why I chose Spain. (Especially my mum, I think her happiest moment was when my flight landed at Delhi). To be very honest, I think till now, I was never able to give her a convincing answer. Her argument “if you want to learn art, you can do it here as well” seemed logical even then.  For me, Spain had a structured painting holiday, which seemed nearly perfect coupled with a rich art history. A new place, new people: something that I had been yearning for.
 And maybe it was perfect.
 Spain was more than what I could have asked for. Sometimes, the very small things in life end up being really big. And it is these small instances which leave an indelible mark. So right from simply talking to my group mates, lending a perspective to each painting and adding my own views to being a part of the process of making a painting (whether it was mine, or somebody else’s), to simply standing back and appreciating art in silence. It may seem trivial, but it wasn’t. At all.
I think it was important for me to do this. To just take the plunge. To go to a new country and not worry about how it would work out. To just say ‘yes’ to each day and take it as it comes.
And I am glad I did it.
And the best part? The change.
Each day, even as I walk around my campus, it seems entirely different. Not the way I used to look at it earlier. It’s about noticing the trees along the road, especially the ones without leaves with their intertwined branches, standing upright merrily against the dark sky. It’s about those pink flowers in the pot along the circle, against the sunlight. It’s about the path, leading to the ‘Top of the World’. There are paintings waiting to happen, waiting to be made.
And that is what lends a fresh perspective. Discovering my surroundings and my space. To being mesmerized by the simplest of things. To thinking beyond the humdrum of my daily routine and lending some time for just being myself. And yes Mom, I don’t need to go to a different continent for that. I just need to be me. And Spain was for me to realize that :)  
As I look back, each thing Caroline said makes perfect sense. One of them, that I explicitly remember is, “I am not here to teach you painting, I am here to make you a painter”.
I am happy to have learnt acrylics, the techniques and the strokes. I am happy to have learnt about composition and structure. But more than that, I am ecstatic to have learnt about things that she truly wanted me to understand, which can’t be taught. Things which bring me closer to being a painter.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Day 4: The pursuit of Happyness!

Humans. We are a rather funny species.  

Just 4 days into the holiday, and the lump in the throat, the sinking feeling of nostalgia that we are very all familiar with, had already started to set in. 10am : walking along the winding streets, painting at the studio was something I was thoroughly enjoying. And I almost didn’t want to leave.

And thus began Day 4.
Devoted to High Speed Painting! 

Yes, I too hadn’t heard of this type before. It seemed simple actually. The aim was to paint anything, just about anything in 20 minutes flat. After quite some time, there was a deadline to adhere to, and as nerdy as I may sound, I kind of liked it.
Well, it wasn’t actually so simple. Atleast not for me.
It’s hard to simply let go, to lose control (Of course, alcohol helps). To paint without a thought. To not worry about smoothening the edges, about perfecting ‘that’ tree and the tinge of cobalt blue in the sky. To just paint. And let it all happen by itself. I actually also learnt how important it is to stand back, look at your masterpiece and intuitively paint.   
And so I did.
In the next 20 minutes, each one of us showed an infinite amount of energy and passion. It was amazing. It almost seemed like it was all coming back. My 18 year old love affair had just reached its peak.
When Caroline looked at my painting, she looked elated and said “now that’s an Aman!”. If I ask myself, what my happiest moment in Spain was, it was this. I was finally close to developing my own style of painting, a style which defined me. I couldn’t stop smiling!

 I remember thinking how I was going to really ‘fit in’ my group on Day zero (:P, No, it wasn’t an MBA-ish Day Zero). By the fourth day, I couldn’t have been happier. Interacting with all my groupmates, spending time with them at Goyo’s and the Tapas Bar (the best cafĂ© I have been to till date) and discussing almost anything and everything under the sun, was pure delight. And I believe it was that common passion for art, which really bound us.

I was also starting to realize how well structured Caroline’s program had been and what an amazing teacher she is. She somehow managed to teach us the very basics: of lines, composition and tones. And yet, she gave us complete freedom to paint, to express and to rather develop our own style.

A lot of people have asked me what painting means to me. Whether it’s just a hobby, do I love the magic it creates, is it to achieve inner peace and would I really pursue it and become a painter (some kinder ones even asked me whether I’d like to put up an exhibition someday).
Honestly, I really don’t know.
All I can say is that it makes me happy. And I’d keep doing it as long as it does.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Day 3 : Being (A)live.

Dear Diary
Today was almost like getting up in the hostel. (Ofcourse, not entirely). I dragged myself out of (a softer) bed as late as possible, tired and groggy, and reached the studio just in time!
I really don’t know why, but after two extremely fulfilling days, I somehow didn’t enter the studio with the same enthusiasm that I had the previous days. Painting, as simple as it may seem, can be extremely draining, mentally and physically.
Well, anyway, as I entered, Alex was getting our easels ready. We were going to be painting outdoors today! A Live painting! Woah. I can’t deny I had a mix of emotions. It seemed interesting, fun but tough. And more than that, I thought, “why today? I am so not going to get this right”.
We went to a park. The aim was to learn tonal values.
To my surprise, before Caroline began, she said “if anyone of you is feeling tired, or homesick, or just not particularly happy, its normal. It usually happens on Day 3 or 4”
And so we began.

Believe it or not, but painting outdoors can be a tricky process. I guess the key lies in keeping it simple. Choosing a certain number of elements from the scene and working on it.

More than just learning about tones, I think a change in perspective came about after this day. Caroline’s program was true to its word, it actually brings out the artist in you. It’s when you start noticing not just one green, but the shades of green, the hues of yellows, the sunlight falling on the leaves lending its own charm, the beauty of the drooping lilies, and the temptation to paint all of that in one!
And that is where the beauty lies. In each one’s interpretation. In each one’s thought.

I remember when I was asked in Godrej LOUD about my passion for painting and how it all came about.. I had shared a childhood story with them wherein I actually used to come up with my best sketches and paintings when I used to be in the worst possible mood!  

I probably did it again.
I also probably figured out the reason behind it. Painting is about taking risks. (No, I am not eccentric). It is. It’s about exploring and experimenting, whether it’s with the colours, or with the brush strokes.
It’s when you take command of the brush, of each and every movement that you create, when the strokes become bold, and when everything else around you is put on hold. That is what makes a masterpiece.
And maybe, that’s what I did unconsciously that day. And I did get it right!