Don’t have anything to express…

Village at Evening


” I have always been trying to get some unique style in my paintings, you know … ” he said.

” Then your paintings don’t have anything to express… ” I thought.

One should not think about style. He should think what he wants to see on canvas. What he sees, viewer will also see the same.

You know…



She is middle aged. I met her in a function. Someone introduced her to me. He told her that I am a professional artist and do paintings beautifully.

Immediately she said ” Oh! My kid who is nine years old does beautiful paintings. He is very talented you know … ”

I smiled and politely moved away from her.

I never understood why people talk always like this! Even when you are talking about greatness of Leonardo da Vinci, these people immediately start talking about how talented their three year old kid!

You know, my wife is a very good artist

Orange, Blue and White

He is a top executive in a multinational company, middle aged.

One day he came to me with his wife, to enrol her in my art classes. In general view she would be considered as a good looking lady.

He started to talk about her, her abilities, her qualities, her skills … ! The way he was looking at her, talking about her, tells us how much he was fascinated by her.

Finally he said, ” You know she is a very good artist. ”

She smiled at him at the praise.

After a short pause I asked him ” If she is that much good … then what’s the need for her to join in my art classes? ”

They didn’t teach her how to paint


I met her in one of my friend’s house. She told me that she is an artist. She did few paintings also. Now she is not finding time to paint.

I listened silently.

She invited me to her house to see her paintings. For courtesy sake I said ” Sure. ” 

Later I forgot about it.

Suddenly, One day she came to me, and told me that she wants to attend painting classes again.

She told me what happened to her in previous art school. ‘ She went there to learn. They offered her a package . In that package, they will help her to finish three oil paintings. For that she had to pay six hundred dollars that includes material. She could choose one still life, one landscape and one figure work ; sizes should not cross 24×18 inches. She felt a lot of joy. For six hundred dollars she would get three oil paintings. She would also hang them in her house and be able to do painting later. She was excited.

She paid happily. She finished three paintings with their help and she hanged them in her house. She thought that she could paint on her own.

But the joy was short lived.

From that minute problems started for her.

Whoever comes to her house used to appreciate her paintings and they asked her to do few paintings for them. She enjoyed their appreciation and requests for her work.

One fine morning  she started to work. Within a hour she was in a depression.

The reason … she was not able to paint. Slowly, reality dawned on her.  That… ‘ in her art classes they did everything. They didn’t teach her how to paint. So she could not paint on her own.’

Once she understood the reality, she stopped to paint.

From that day, she began to say to the friends and relatives that she could not find time to paint.

But her interest in painting meant she knew no peace. Someone told her that I teach in a truthful way.  So she came to me.

  After listening to her, I said, ” As a student you won’t get finished paintings in learning period, you will only learn how to paint. Once you learn how to paint, you will be able to finish paintings on your own. You can hang them in your house or exhibit them in a gallery. Till that day forget about taking finished paintings to your house. Is it okay for you? ”

She said it’s  okay and joined.

Few months later, one day she came to me with an invitation that she is going to exhibit her paintings in a gallery.

After that I heard, she never stopped to paint and didn’t complain that she is unable to find time to paint.


Light from the Sky


One day a young lady came to me.

” I wan to learn Modern art. ”

She asked me.

” What do you mean by Modern art? ” I asked her.

” … modern art … modern art … ” she didn’t know what to say.

Simply she was bewildered.

I waited for her reply.

After few moments of confusion, she came out with an answer. ” Modern art is … something, artist expresses in a free manner, which does not need to follow any rules. ”

” Which rules are you talking about? ” I asked her, trying to know what’s in her mind.

” We don’t need to bother about drawing, we don’t need to worry about strict painting methods. Just we paint the way we like. ”

I didn’t talk anything immediately. I was silent for some time, then I asked her, ” Who said to you modern art is like that? ”

” … many said. ”a little bit of hesitancy in her voice.

” It’s a wrong notion, ” I tried to explain her in a sympathetic tone. ”whatever happened in  art in the period of 1860 to 1970, related to experimenting with different materials, ideas was called Modern art. So many isms and styles were there. Every artist understood the rules. You could not call them as rules, call them as ‘ Language of art’. Take for example Picasso, do you think he didn’t apply the rules in his works? He applied it in every work of his. Not only he, other artist’s also did the same, whether they are Abstract art, Fauvism, Futurism, Expressionism, Suprematism or Surrealism, whatever they are, those artists followed language of art, which you called ‘ Rules. ‘So if you want to learn modern art, first you learn language of art. Then whatever way you want to express your emotions, you go with it. ”

Again a few minutes silence,

She asked me, ” I have understood what you said is true but … I am confused. Then why are they saying that you can learn modern art without bothering about any rules? ”

  I smiled at her, and said… ” Ignorance. ”

How do they run an art school !?


With Mother

She is running an art gallery since twenty years. I knew her. In last fifteen years we met only two times.

Recently she called me.

I was surprised by her call because i am not a gallery artist and she would not call anyone without a purpose.

For few minutes, we talked formally, then she told me why she called.

See … now a days gallery business is not good. Even to meet monthly expenditure is becoming difficult. So … ” she paused one moment and continued ” … I am planning to run art classes. They will recover some expenditure, so I need your help. ”

I became little bit hesitant, then asked her, ” What kind of help it is ? ”

” I want some syllabus to teach. See … you are the most experienced, that’s why I require your help to structure the courses.”

Last I knew she was not an artist, but maybe she learned since then, who knows. I asked her with some curiosity, ” who is going to teach? ”

” The artists, who are exhibiting their works in my gallery, they will teach. ”

” Why don’t you ask them to design the courses? ”

She hesitated for a minute and said, ” I don’t think they are good enough for that. ”

I was shocked by her words. ‘One who is going to start an art school doesn’t know how the courses has to be structured and she does not believe in the ability of artists whom she is going to assign to teach the classes. Then how will she run an art school!? ‘

When they are doing that, why not you?


  One day two old women came to me. Both were in their early sixties.

  They told me that they want to learn painting.

  I told them ” it’s O.K. But you shouldn’t start painting directly, first learn drawing. ”

  They were surprised and one of them asked me, ” Why don’t we start painting directly? ”

  I told her, ” Without learning drawing, you could not paint.

  ” Why? ” she asked me with a confused voice.

  ”Painting is an act. You are doing painting means, you are painting something. That something might be an object like a bowl, or it’s a fruit or a figure. To paint these, you have to understand their structures. That means their shapes, dimensions, edges, textures, values … all those things you must know. Without understanding them, what are you going to paint? ” I took one second and continued again ” … learning drawing means learning to see the world as an artist. This is called as ‘ Artist’s way of seeing ‘. It is called as … Drawing. Now, I hope you understood why you have to learn drawing before entering into painting.”

  Few moments of silence between us.

  After that she broke that silence by asking me a question. ” Till this day we went to at least ten schools to learn painting. Everywhere they readily accepted to start teaching painting directly. When they are doing that, why not you? ”

  I told her calmly, ” Because I Truly want to teach you painting. ”

Self proclaimed artist



Recently I met one young woman just by an accident. Usually I would not meet many people because rarely I attend events. She told me that she had studied  ‘six weeks art appreciation course’ in London and is now writing reviews on artists’ work.

I listened and left.

Occasionally I read her reviews in news papers. She used some words repeatedly like … aesthetic sense, emotional side, expressiveness, color combinations in every review. In her reviews I never find words like … Line, Shape, Space, Form, Value, Pattern, Rhythm, Balance …!

I wondered what she had learned in art appreciation course in London.

Time was passing.

Again I heard about her.

She started an art gallery. In press releases, she had stated that she is trying to help upcoming artists.

I felt it is a nice thing.

But after few months I heard that artists who exhibited their paintings in her gallery were complaining that she is not paying money properly from their painting sales. Even then artists were going to her gallery to show their work. She was prospering year by year.

Suddenly I heard another interesting news.

That is … ‘ She, herself became a self proclaimed artist and is exhibiting her solo show in her gallery.’

Some notes on Pattern and Texture

V T Mumbai

  A small or large unit of shape or color repetition is Pattern. We can see these patterns on Architectural buildings, Persian Carpets, Decorative ornaments and temple structures. 

  When we do our art work understanding these patterns and using them in a right manner will help us to create powerful visuals. Vincent Van Gogh used these patterns combined with implied textures very powerfully in his paintings.


  What is ‘Implied Texture’ ? 

  There are two kinds of Textures. Tactile and Implied.

  Tactile is the actual texture which is existing physically. Implied texture is what we are creating in our work. The roughness of the tree trunk is tactile texture. The rough surface of the carpet and the smooth surface of an orange are tactile textures. Some are rough and some are soft. We feel them not only by sight but also with touch…

  When it comes to painting we only feel them by sight not by touch. Artists create that illusion of textural feeling through Implied approach.

  Textures are very important to create visual sensations. They will tell us the nature of objects. To capture the illusion of depth on picture plane they play a vital role.

Some notes on Line, Shape, Size, Proportion and Movement

Garden restaurent

 Here I am not going for theoretical discussions or definitions, rather I would like to give simple clarifications.

 We all knew what is Line.

 When we were children, we used to draw vertical and horizontal lines in our exercise book to put our writing in order.

 As children, even though we didn’t know what is drawing, we used to draw pictures with pencil. These lines are not vertical or horizontal rather more they are curves. To draw a head, to draw a tree or to draw an animal we have to use mostly curved lines. Children draw mountains with diagonal lines.


  These are the lines used in art with little bit refinement as we grow.

  Vertical and horizontal lines show order and stability along with calmness. Curved lines will bring beauty. Beauty lies in curves. Female form is more beautiful than its male counterpart, because it has more curves. Diagonal lines express energy and dynamic movement. Remaining all the lines will be created by these three varied lines.

   So lines can be used in many ways. Art students have to understand the functioning of different lines.

  Some lines thick, thin, sharp, blunt, zigzagging, wave like, curved and many more varied lines we use and create depends upon our purpose.

  What is this purpose? It is what we want to tell… what we want to express.

  This expression can be anything from creating beauty to ugliness, pain to pleasure, passion to detachedness….whatever it may be … the line will be a powerful tool to express them.


  It is not just expression, Line will be used to capture the shapes, sizes, and their proportions.

  In nature we won’t see lines. We see only shapes. The trees, houses, clouds, animals and people …all are shapes. But they are having edges. Because of these edges their shapes, sizes and proportions will be decided. We call these edges as boundaries. These boundaries will be marked with lines.

  Here the lines can be used as measuring scale. This measuring scale will decide the sizes of shapes and their proportions.

  Without the help of measuring scale of line we won’t capture three dimensional illusion of space on our two dimensional picture space.


  Another important function of the line is …Movement.

It will make our eye to move from one place to another place. It will push us to see the whole scene, if it is in visual order. All great artists used this visual order in their work to push the viewer, to see their work as a whole. This visual order is …Composition and design.

Finally one thing we all have to remember…Line is only a tool to create a structure. So we have to understand the structure with its character. Then the ‘ line ‘ will be useful to us with its power.


  Form, Space, Pattern and Texture

  Form is three dimensional.  It requires some space to exist. In real world we see varied forms existing in actual space. Sculptors, Architects use this real space to create forms. They are three dimensional.  We can see them from different angles.

But when it come to the art, artist has only two dimensional picture plane. By using design principles he has to create three dimensional illusion on that two dimensional picture plane. To create this illusion he has to use elements of art and principles of design.


    Once again I am telling, I am not interested to go to detail descriptions of these  elements. What I am explaining here is simplification of their functions. Art students has to put intensive labour hours to practice to understand them.


  When form occupied certain space, we call that space is positive space. Whatever space is not occupied by forms on the picture plane that is negative space. These positive and negative spaces are very powerful tools to understand and measure the size and proportion of the shapes.

   Taking these shapes, creating volume and making them as forms, placing them in spatial arrangement is a part of creating depth of picture space.