“Art has the power to transform, to illuminate, to educate, inspire and motivate” – Harvey Fierstein

(But if art has no effect on a person then either the artist has failed to ‘Create’ or the person has failed to ‘Discover’)

Fine Art begins…….

My childhood drawing teacher was a role model of simplicity. Long curly hairs, plain Bengali kurta who seldom speaks. Our classes held on the carpet in his two-room rented house. The front room was only for classes, with his family limited to the other room. His watercolor paintings were put on the ground on all four sides of the wall. All his paintings were only on Lord Krishna’s life with no other type of artwork around.

As a kid, I was an attention seeker. I was not satisfied with my drawing ability, since my friends won prizes using poster color or modern artworks that looked attractive. Master taught me only watercolors that too with cheap color and paper, he never insisted to buy expensive materials. At the start of each painting he used to say “Draw anything and then paint it”. He closely monitored our progress without speaking, I can hardly remember any instructions given by him. Sometimes he holds our hands to teach brush strokes, at other times he takes our paintings and uses our watercolor to define shade and we are supposed to look and learn. His reaction was always neutral whether our painting was beautiful or we messed up everything. Once master was very happy and excited when I won 3rd prize in a drawing competition that too with oil pastels. Master knew how to train kids, ‘no theory’ but only patiently observing us create something we love. Of course, it is tough to teach art(visual or performing) to a kid than an adult. I simply attended the classes regularly and finished my 3rd-year certificate.

Master left me alone in this world of mirage and went to the heavenly adobe of Krishna in his thirties during my schooling. I think Master was Krishna Himself who held my hand during watercolor brush strokes. God will definitely manifest before a person in some form during one’s lifetime, it’s up to the person to recognize HIM. 

(Master has not failed to ‘Create’, it’s the student who has failed to ‘Discover’. At present when I have again started playing with colors, I realized that watercolor is the most difficult medium to master since it is transparent and water takes its own route. But once it is tamed, a masterpiece can be created with very little effort)

……..22 Years with no Fine Art!……..

Life suddenly became too busy during teenage for achieving material pursuits SET by society. No time for art, all time spent for achieving something which was ASSUMED to give happiness in future as per OTHERS. Social achievements/awards are like FAKE things that give happiness for a short period. During my career, I started searching for something which would give everlasting satisfaction. I indulged in all types of activities that gave great satisfaction to others. I started to learn sports, bodybuilding, music, musical instruments, nature, traveling, trekking, photography, poetry, robotics, electronic circuits, programming, model aircraft, woodworking, etc. The list is endless, each of which lasted for few months to few years with only a few continuing to date. Although I enjoyed doing it all with experienced friends and tutors but my soul was still searching. Slowly all those activities took a backseat due to other priorities and duties after marriage. One day I remembered my art teacher while reading a book by Swamiji ‘The Last Gambit’

(Master’s message was simple-‘Life has a Purpose’ and he had discovered it too early in his life. His paintings were not for commercial or public amusement but to spread some greater message to the society as seen in Fine Arts till 19th century)

…..Back to the Easel

Recently I started to resume some childhood hobbies. I invested my time and effort to practice but failed to learn even the basics. One day I came across few watercolor paintings by my close friend and became nostalgic. I started to search watercolor tutorials and materials online. I purchased few artist quality items to try out first. I understood the instructions easily and was able to paint the basics perfectly. I started reading some insightful articles on watercolor, one of the poem which inspired me to write this post is HERE. Now I am able to see a watercolor painting and visualize the layers and brush strokes. For now, I just want to play with watercolors for few months before painting anything. I commit to painting often and spread my master’s message through visual form…….

God has gifted each of us with one unique ability/nature to make this world a better place to live. But the problem is that God has not revealed it to us. We have to realize it during our lifetime. We can only realize it when we give up the desires that others follow and listen to our inner voice which is GOD Himself.

(Thanks for reading. I got emotional writing this post as I had to remember the exact events from childhood. The illustration in the featured image is created by me based on the writing. My next post is in continuation………..Title-‘Life is a Color Wheel’)

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Pankaj Kumar Gharai

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