From Feeling To Painting 

Saturday, May 29, 2010 5:28:00 PM

-R. S. Bisht

Every significant event which shook me and every experience which enlarged my thoughts, led me to introspection and assimilation of my inner feelings but which can be only question of sadhna. I know it for a fact that sense perception is an intense personal matter and in order to cultivate it, one has to strive really hard. One should have a simple clear heart, should try to understand life, society and the vastness of nature. Deeper than that is that acute discrimination, which the artist should possess to know what the elements he has to select and what elements he has to reject. This is a long journey from many subjects ultimately to an act of creation. A newness in every painting, a definite new element, to conceive something original, and then to create, is possible only after a very hard discipline, study, practice and sadhna.

Starting from a subject, to come over to an intense feeling, and from intense feeling to a painting, is a long creative journey. In order to understand and to give expression, every painter has to bas e himself on the ground he is born, the culture he inherits, his own temperament, his own perceptions and his understanding of craft. To grow and to live with one’s inheritance and to adapt to the changing values of society, is a process of education which gave me the feeling of constant search to accomplish something different from verbal communication, one which enlightens my feelings and sharpens my individuality.

In this timeless existence I found joy and a feeling of fulfilment, and slowly but surely, I was inclined to take painting and thereby to attain fulfilment of the objectives I have already mentioned. I worked hard in the direction, with full vitality and dedication. All the objects, elements or ideas, which contain something new, gave a strange attraction of beauty with a force around it and I tried to do something newer. I did my best to gather whatever I found desirable. To attain the purpose, I travelled within the country and outside it and tried to understand deeply the various cultural and social aspects of life. The basic thing that forms a man is the thought process from the infinite to the beautiful, from the beautiful to the infinite—all these became a matter of happiness for me and I tried to understand this constant and eternal movement.

Every significant event which shook me and every experience which enlarged my thoughts, led me to introspection and assimilation of my inner feelings but which can be only question of Sadhna. I know it for a fact that sense perception is an intense personal matter and in order to cultivate it, one has to strive really hard. One should have a simple clear heart, should try to understand life, society and the vastness of nature. Deeper than that is that acute discrimination, which the artist should possess to know what the elements he has to select and what elements he has to reject. This is a long journey from many subjects ultimately to an act of creation. A newness in every painting, a definite new element, to conceive something original, and then to create, is possible only after a very hard discipline, study, practice and Sadhna.

I have been engaged for the last few years in creating some paintings which I term as ‘Series of Blue’. I was born in Lansdowne, a beautiful hill resort situation at a height of 6,000 feet. On its north are majestic Himalya ranges and on its south the plains of Uttar Pradesh. Here nature wears new garments every moment. For all twelve months, the Himalyas are dressed up in different colours and the predominant colour is of course blue, and which, in some form or the other, permeates the whole atmosphere. This had a great impact on me. From the beginning of my earlier art education, I tried to proceed with the eyes of a painter, studied the various ways, painted it and the blue colour of the Himalyas becomes an integral part of my life. In order to paint these blue series, I have travelled in these parts of the Himalyas for the last many years and have tried to imbibe the deep spirit behind it. Sometimes I travelled, by a motor car, sometimes I flew on plane and sometimes I tried to reach many hill tops or traverse low valleys; miles on foot. I stayed in that atmosphere; I actually breathed it. The new colours of the changing season, the new forms, and resultant ideas and the contemplations that were generated in their midst—all these inspired me to paint, providing me new constructions, new frames, and all these produced in the deeper feelings.

Sometimes I was prompted to sketch in pencil or in colour, I took some notes and I came back to my studio full with those feelings and I confronted the canvas. A large number of days were spent just in sheer thought and then suddenly something which had a possibility swayed my life like a volcanic eruption and then the joys of colour and that too with the various shades of the blue and compulsion to choose or to leave—a natural tension and the ultimate success in selection. Spreading the selected colour on the plate and spreading turpentine oil in large cups fully dissolving the colours and after proper preparation, would come the conception of a painting with its planning in terms of space and then the first stroke of the selected colour on the white canvas and then quickly the second and the process of bringing about the frame spreads. Some forms emerge and forms start taking shape—sometimes looking up from the near, sometimes from a distance and then judging it from all aspects and ultimately trying to arrive to some conclusion.

Then I think over whether the net result is what I desired or somewhere near it or something far more sensitive, far more forceful in the direction of what I had thought. Then I try to understand its possibilities and employ all the crafts at my command and continue the process of painting. If the thing turns out different, I restart with full confidence, to create first the structure of the painting. After a successful effort, I start filling up colours; sometimes with broad brushes and sometimes with small ones, fully understanding its various interconnections and creating a texture, which has all the dramatic quality of that painting. If the feeling and the idea do not get through, I make the canvas lie flat on the floor and spray the colours—the colours of my liking – with full discipline I shake and tilt up and down, right and left – the canvas in such a manner that it brings the desired effect and pick up the form which I so desired and then start looking minutely at the demands of the painting and the forms that have newly emerged and develop it. Accordingly, if it appeals, I leave colours to dry. With the detached view, I look at the painting and after some interval I again have a second look and if I find the creation is not as I had desired, I try locate the reasons, think over the new changes, in terms of form, colour or texture. But all the time I assure myself that whatever process I am undergoing, may become a good basis for the painting and in this process I do not regret the amount of time spent in it.

After I have made a successful attempt I leave all the colours to dry and wait for the situation till I may feel, that the painting invites me to do more work in that direction. During all this, the inspiration is so powerful that one feels like working uninterrupted till the painting itself does not ask for a halt. A painting, under the process of completion, is a situation when one starts feeling that further work on it is not asked for. Then a stroke that is further applied, is fully measured, in terms of the quantity of colour choice picked up on the brush, the intensity of the stroke; sometimes a very faint application, sometimes vigorous one and even varying or texture one has to decide how thick or broken would be the lines. Hereafter the painting is put on the easel and it is put to further study in an effort to link it with the basic creative feeling. This process goes on for a long time. One returns to painting with a freshness and different mental state. If it needed some work, it is done in conformity with the basic feeling. Obviously in the process, it gives sometime a sense of deeper satisfaction, sometime an element of dissatisfaction and again the process of rethinking starts. In the end, one realises that further work is not needed in the painting.

To understand and to think with the heart and soul involved in painting is its subsequent process because at that point, the painting is its subsequent process because at that point, the painting reaches its consummation, but all the while there is sometimes feeling of some danger but at the same time of resolution. Then suddenly realisation starts that the painting is still incomplete and gradually all its discrepancies are removed and the whole painting flashes up and finally a situation starts when the brush stops and the painting begins to live.

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