Q. Everyone comments that your paintings are magical…
A. Sure. Painting itself is magic. If I don’t achieve it there is no sense in being an artist.
Q. I am curious to know about that magic.
A. Every art form has that magic. You call it … drama. It means exaggerating the elements but at the same time you should not overdo it. If you overdo it, viewers feel its’ artificial. People won’t like anything artificial. This is the reason for failure of so many artists’ work.
Q. Suppose, if they don’t overdo it, if they work as realistically as possible…
A. That’s another danger.
Q. Danger! How?
A. You said …’ As realistically as possible…’
Q. Yes …
A. The real danger lies there. When an artist paints the figure, landscape or some other thing as realistically as possible, then it won’t have any magic.
Q. Why? Especially, when the artist painted as realistically as possible …?
A. Realistic? Who cares? People are seeing it every moment from morning to night. Then what’s the point for them to see the same things on artists’ canvas? Why they have to respond to it? What they need is some magic or drama, whatever name you call it.
Q. But…people are praising with surprise when they see some paintings which look like a photograph…
A. Sure. But observe those people … they are praising them for artist’s craft rather than his creative skills. Best skills of craft will generate surprise but the response ends there. If you work with creative skills that will lead to magic. That magic will not only surprise the viewer but will also make them joyful. The feeling of surprise intertwined with joy will stay in their hearts for a long time. This is what artists have to achieve in their work. I call this experience … magic.
Q. Understood. But how to achieve that magic?
A. When you make an ordinary thing extraordinary the magic will come. The transition should be believable.
A. We are talking about transforming ordinary thing into extraordinary. Before finding an answer for it, first things first we have to define what is ordinary, what is extraordinary?
Q. I don’t think it’s a problem to find an answer for that. Everyone knows what is ordinary, what is extraordinary. For example… we call an average looking young girl ordinary, a girl with most beautiful looks as extraordinary.
A. That is the way most of the people think. But it’s not the truth. Truth is different from what we know. Just imagine… Put that ordinary girl in expensive dress, shape her face with beautician tools, finally place her in a cosmopolitan group… surely she will look good, same way put that extraordinary beautiful girl among a crowd of slum dwellers in pale, dirty clothes along with some greasy dust on her face and body…imagine, how she appears. She may look ok. So… what we have to understand from this?
Q. Explain to me.
A. When it comes to physical things, there are no ordinary and extraordinary things existing in this world. Everything shines or loses by its surrounding atmosphere. Because of this fact, Nineteenth century French romantic painter Eugène Delacroix said “Give me some mud, I will make of it the skin of Venus, if you leave to me the choice of the surroundings.”
Here he emphasized the words … Surroundings. Because of these surroundings ordinary things become beautiful, beautiful things will turn as ordinary. All the things depends upon surroundings. When you paint a picture, if you want to create a magic in that picture surroundings are more important. They are one of the key elements to create magic in painting.
Q. Only choosing right surroundings can create magic in painting?
A. No. I told you already it’s one of the key elements which helps to create magic in painting.
Q. So, there are other things …
A. Yes. Surely, there are other things which are needed to create magic or beauty in paintings…
Q. Can you explain about them…
A. Sure. With Pleasure.
Q. Just a moment. Now you used a word …‘ With Pleasure ‘ Is there any significance for that word?
A. Yes. When you are explaining the soul of anything to others you will enjoy it. Or you will be enlightened yourself. You are explaining to others means you are learning. That’s why true artists and teachers won’t kept any secrets with them, they will reveal everything they know. That’s their way of learning. Continuous learning will make them masters.
Q. O.K. Coming to the subjects, what are those other things which helps make a painting magical?
A. Value, Color and Composition.
Q. I know Color, I heard about Composition. I think it is playing a key role in every art form in music, in writing … everywhere. I don’t know how it works but I know about its existence. But what about this … Value? I never heard of it.
A. It’s the one of the most important elements needed to create beauty in painting. The outcome of painting depends on it.
Q. Interesting. Usually everyone thinks color is the most important thing to do painting well. Now you are saying there are some other things apart from color.
A. It’s a fact. There are many other things which will play a crucial role to make a painting beautiful. Value … is the hero of that play.
Q. Hero…! You are speaking a different language. You are bringing heroes into your painting approaches!
A. Nothing to be surprised about. When painting itself is a drama, there must be a hero. Without a hero drama won’t survive.
Q. I am interested to know about your hero … I mean ‘ Value’
A. Value is one of the key elements in picture making. In other way we can call it as light and dark. It’s a gradation between highest light and extreme dark. You call them Greys. The interesting thing is all these greys are very important when you are using color. Reason … Every color has a specific value in grey scale. As an artist, you have to see color as a value not as a color. This is the most important thing to do a successful painting. There is one saying, that… ‘Value is more important than color. If your value is right your color also will be right.’ Before impressionists all paintings were dominated by ‘Value’. Since impressionists era Color started to dominate value. Now, again, Value started to establish it’s heroic role along with color.
Q. Color as a Value …? It’s confusing me. Will you explain more about it?
A. It’s difficult to explain in a few lines. It has to be explained with visuals along with detailed explanation. Not only Color … Composition is also like that. These things must be studied from different sources like books, teachers and whatever way is possible.
Q. Apart from Color and Composition, are there any other things to study?
A. Yes. There are many. But all those things are parts of these three. Art students must study them if they want to create beautiful paintings.