Got an email from an old friend today, my ‘bestest’ mate in art school! Had sent her photographs of my new works… even though she has now become an accessory designer and is not into mainstream painting, I still update her with my works and I appreciate her honest opinions! Both of us went to art exhibitions together, supported each other throughout our stint in JJ, had difference of opinions at times (!), encouraged each other to strive for the best! I remember going to the Jehangir Art Gallery together and after seeing the exhibitions, would go to our favourite ‘bhel puri’ guy, and then hang about near Colaba Causeway or sit near the Gateway of India. Bose Krishnamachari once had an installation show at the Max Mueller Bhavan, near Jehangir… installation of all his favourite books and films- Mariesha and I spent the whole day in the room reading books and watching films! 🙂
Now when I was in JJ, I hated working in acrylic colours, I found the medium very plastic and lifeless and stuck to watercolours and oil colours. I painted a lot in watercolours before I joined JJ… love the freshness and the transparency in them. And oils? Where do I start? There’s something about oils- the fineness, the grace, a stroke of them on my canvas takes me to another level… a lot of my works during art school and up till now have been in oils. And then one day when I was in an art shop (Owen Clark in Ilford), I saw a set of acrylics and decided there was no harm buying them regardless of the fact whether I touch them or not and maybe some day I could try! The tubes were gathering dust for a long time and one day taking pity on them, I decided to go ahead and use them! My first painting in acrylics was ‘Where have the flowers gone?’ I was a little confused at first with it’s application but slowly and steadily got a little hang of it, built layers on layers… the result seemed okay but I wasn’t greatly impressed! I didn’t touch them for a long time… the only thing that impressed me that unlike oils they didn’t take ages to dry and there was no smell of linseed oil in my room since acrylics are water based!! (though I have now heard there are oil colours today which are water based(huh?) and no oil is required for binding so no smell).
So maybe because of it’s quick drying time I started using them more… initally with the background of ‘Silent Memories’, with charcoal… then a full painting with no other medium to support, in ‘Caravan’. Finally in ‘No windmills in the mind’ I realized unlike the “plastic” effect I thought they had, with the right application they could be so fluid and can strike a right balance between watercolours and oils- 2 mediums that I love! And now all my recent works have been in acrylics, like the images with this post and the posts below. Ofcourse my love for oils will never diminish but as of today, I’m loving it and plan to make more works with them!
So thank you Dr. Otto Rohm who invented the the acrylic resin somewhere in the late 1940s, early 1950s- my works and myself are indebted to you! And thank you to my dear friend Mariesha, seeing you work in acrylics made me curious about the medium! 🙂