Golden borders emboss clouds alive
Sun lets rays seep through clear sky
Paint brush spills water on the floor
Oh there’s a natural splendour
Unlike the original
The painting still looks magnificent….
Feeling of Blue
“Monday Blues”. Every Monday someone or the other, without fail sends a message on “Monday Blues”. That’s exactly the time when I am thinking “it’s just another day”.
A search for “Monday Blues” returned to describe it “as a set of negative emotions that many people get at the beginning of the workweek”. Interestingly, the blue seems to be a contribution from “a type of music made popular by African Americans.”
“The ‘blues music’ deals with rather sad themes, and as a result leaves the listener feeling sad. This is the reason why the expressions ‘to have the blues’ and ‘feeling blue’ mean feeling sad or depressed.” (The Hindu, Education Plus, May 2006)
I could not help but think about blue, the primary colour; the colour of the sky and the sea; a shade associated with spirituality, peace and serenity.
My emotional connect with blue goes back to the day I stood before the paintings by renowned painter, Nicholas Roerich.
The various shades of blue spread over the canvas had a rhythmic pattern, and the painting appeared to blend the real and the divine. Of course, Roerich’s spiritual bend of mind reflected in his works. Yet, that may be just one of the reasons for the use of blue.
Though my knowledge in studying a “painting” has been limited, the artwork before me had captivated my thoughts with the blue. And I realised the beauty of its depth as unfathomable.
Apparently, the colour blue is said to have a positive effect on our mind and body. “It invokes rest and can cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming and exude feelings of tranquillity”. However, too much of blue can create negative feelings, melancholy and sadness among others.
Probably, Monday blues has nothing to do with the colour blue. It may be just a feeling of disconnect at the thought of getting back into the routine. Or it may be a reason for someone finding it difficult to report to a job that s/he does not enjoy.
Whether it is “Monday Blues” or “Feeling Blue”, the fascinating blue is a colour that induces and inspires. And Monday is just another day.
Artist Payal Khandwala has a nice way of expressing her subjects with lines. By Deeya Nayar-Nambiar
“Lines are perhaps the most integral component of form and structure. It is this framework with which the artist visualises a drawing, sculpture or painting. In their purest form, lines come together to plot a narrative; in a non-figurative work they form the building blocks for the subsequent abstraction,” explains Payal Khandwala, a contemporary artist who has carved a niche for herself with her drawings and oil on canvas.
Payal moves her hands with ease whether it is a sketch or a painting and the lines and hues in her work make you think and decode the hidden symbolism. Payal does create an abstract visual language. In fact she constructs a physical reality for a unique intangible moment that is open to interpretation. According to her, “The mark an artist chooses to make ultimately set him apart from another; it is with this vocabulary that he will create a vision that is unique.”
Payal emphasises that when she is painting she tries to distance herself from symbolism altogether, but she does not try to make them narratives. Most of her work is abstract and she makes use of elements like colour, texture, organisation, and sometimes order and geometry.
When she works with the human figure, she tries to keep it uncomplicated. “If it is the face that inspires me, then that is all I include. I don’t like to put in a social, political or gender context into my work,” she explains. But what inspires Payal as an artist? Very thoughtfully she puts it to “many things” – urban landscape, cities like Mumbai and New York where she spent her formative years, textiles, old peeling walls, colours, textures, human forms that surround us.
But Payal is a loyalist when it comes to her colours. She says her palette is an integral part of her painting vocabulary and the slight shift of colours – glazing and making it vibrate to create a visual sensation – is central to her work. In fact she feels that controlling colours allows each painting to have its own mood.
Payal is an art and textile designer from SNDT in Mumbai and holds an honours degree in fine arts and illustration from Parsons School of Design in New York. She also got a diploma from Metafora, an international workshop for contemporary art in Barcelona. To some extent a background in textile design continues to influence Payal’s work. “I’m very receptive to vegetable dyes and Indian textiles that have such a rich and varied history. I tend to retain what inspires me and it forms part of my visual memory bank,” she says.
Payal also likes to experiment in order to break from the monotony of grayscale with dash of colour here and there in figures, adding elements of fun and humour to them. This gives a relief to her work as she tries to develop themes she is not comfortable with. This is evident from the way she has interpreted the Kamasutra in a playful sort of way, keeping the scale of the drawings small true to the miniatures but flooding it with colour.
Talking about her drawings she says, “The subject often determines this choice of line. Gestures, contours, movement have the power to change lines. The medium and scale allow spontaneity and chance and gives the map texture and weight.”
Similarly, her oil on canvas is intrinsic to cultural influences. “Without adhering to the strict formalism of tradition, the work strives to explore a new vocabulary to communicate the emotion behind an experience and to replace what recognisable symbols ordinarily represent.”
Of course, drawing and painting needs both patience and perseverance since no idea can be captured in a day’s time. And beyond that? “I’m just happy to continue doing what I’m…I try not to make many plans. This way I don’t have to break them,” she signs off.
Published in btw, Chitralekha Group
Knowing Me, Knowing You
Annu Matthew uses her photography skills and digital imaging to preserve her Indianness in a faraway land with a different culture.