How do they run an art school !? … (From The Painter’s Heart)

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

Orange, Blue and White  Artist:Magunta Dayakar

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!? ‘

(Excerpt from my book …Everyday Experiences of a Struggling Artist)

If You Love Your Work … It will Lead to Failure

We have been seeing so many artists who are 
struggling with their paintings. Always they are 
having doubts about their work. They look nervous. 
They are seeking opinions from others about how 
their paintings look like.
If other person says ‘it’s good.’ then the artist get excited. If they point out some flaws in painting, he will get frustrated. Eventually he will be in depression.
This artist loves his paintings deeply. Otherwise he won’t be in depression and frustration. What kind of love this is? Is it helpful to anybody?

Why this is happening? 
‘It’s love ’ 
Loving the work can lead to failures. depressions and frustrations.  Again…Why?
Love causes Fear. Love leads you to reasonless actions. A man without reason, a man full of fear, how can he achieve any thing?

Water  Artist:Magunta Dayakar

We love people close to us.  Whomever we love, whatever mistakes they do, we will ignore their mistakes. If some thing happens to them because of their misdeeds, we will try to protect them. Because we are loving them. In the name of love we became blind. How can a blind person know the right path?
That’s why if somebody says that they love their work, it is idiocy. How can you expect an idiot to become a creator? Idiots can become successful. Success is relative. It’s sheerly temporary. Any moment failure can happen.
Vincent Vangogh was not successful in his life time in terms of money. But whatever he created became a great treasure to the world of art. In my view, his life is a great book to the creators.
It will tell you how a human being can achieve the greatest things even in misery. That is the greatness.
I don’t think he loved his work. If he loved his work, we would not be talking about him today. He would have been a failure like so many artists who used to paint throughout their life time and achieve nothing.
He started to learn painting in his late twenties, he died in his late thirties. During that period also, he did not paint for nearly 3- 4 years. Is it not amazing? The man who found a place in the history of art, about whom this world talks after Monalisa, that man, the great Vincent did paintings for a very very short time in his life. But in the end he became great. How he achieved it?
  It is by ignoring the society. It is the key. You are struggling and you want to be accepted by society. Why should you bother about society? How do they know what you did is right or wrong? Who are they to judge you? You have to be your own judge. You know your limits. You know your goals. Then what is the point asking somebody to judge your ability. It’s meaningless.
They will judge you through their perceptions, or to their taste, or through their experiences. When you are depending on somebody to know about you, eventually it leads to frustration. Because they say things what they feel is right. 
That’s why I think all great people never bothered to care others opinion about their work. That’s what I have understood today, in this moment, when I am typing this. A great truth revealed … what all those great people did for their achievement!
It is ‘Understanding’
Understanding is different from love.

Love is mindlessness. Understanding is mindfulness.

A great difference between these two.

Imagine. Two people love each other. One day they got married. After some time they began to quarrel with each other. They hate each other. They may go for divorce or they may live together reluctantly depending upon the cultural background of society. Why this is happening? They loved each other before marriage. After marriage they hate each other.

Why this change? What is the cause for this? Lack of ‘Understanding. ‘ That is the problem.

Nobody denies their love for each other before they become a couple. Yes! It’s love. All ready I say…’Love is Blind’

They want each other. For what? Is it not for physical desires? Because of that desires, they showed so much concern for each other. That so much concern is nothing but fear. The fear of loosing other one. Because of this fear they listened to each other. A little bit of understanding, of course..unknowingly.

Later, once they become a couple, their desires are fulfilled. There is no magnetism between them. No mystery of unfulfilled desires. Now they stop listening to each other. There is no concern for other one. That’s why doubts will start about each other. Eventually it leads to a psychological breakdown.

Love is the reason for this. Instead of love if they understood each other, things would have been different. Same thing happening to the artists also….

They are not understanding what they are doing. They are in passion. They are in love with their work. They think becoming a painter means money, fame, pleasure, greatness. That’s why they want to be painters quickly. Short cuts. Create your own paintings. Do life drawing. Do plein air. Do studio paintings. Find the galleries, which will sell your paintings. Go online.

There are potential buyers. Acquire style. Style will sell. Learn composition. Know rhythm. Find design. Learn color, light… So many things…All these preachings or tips whatever you call it tell you, ‘How to get success’.

So they start to love their work because it’s the one which can fulfil their dreams. But their love leads to fear, insecurity and finally heart break.

That’s why so many artists become desperate in their careers. Always doubts about their ability. Still they are unable to leave art, because they are in love with it.

What they need is … not love. Understanding. Awareness of what they are doing. Then they will know where they are. What they are.

Tail Piece:

Nobody will tell you what you are or what you need to do.

You should be aware of those things. Then you are able to move from one step to another. Because of that understanding, you will be able to examine the path where you are moving. You know it fully. For such a person even failure is movement to him. Its awareness. Its understanding.

When you are doing work without bothering about the end results you don’t have any fear. There is nothing you are going to lose. Because you are not expecting anything. That is understanding. That is awareness.

This understanding can make you a complete person. A complete person is above the success or failure.

Line, texture, shape, size, value, design, composition and other things in the language of art… learn them but not with love. Learn with awareness and understanding.

How to teach painting to adults?

How to teach Painting to adults? A very big question! How to learn painting? A very complex question! 

To know the answer to these questions, first we have to understand them. 
There are thousands of books available in the market. Many workshops also. A few correspondence courses too. All these things will say, they will make you best within no time. Really is it possible? Any art enthusiast can learn art through these things? Really are there any short cuts? Not only to painting, to any subject are there any short cuts? I don’t think so.

Two Boys                Artist:Magunta Dayakar

 Then what is the right way to learn or teach? It should be simple. After teaching students how to draw, teach them tonal values. Then they know how to create depth to any two dimensional thing. 

Once they know it, Ask them to paint with a single color along with with black and white. Let them use the brushes on their own. Here and there guide them how to handle them. Of course, very little help you have to do.

Mixing colors … Not a big thing. Show them how to mix and tell them how much medium they need to use. Now explain them, all they have to do is, use the brushes like a pencil.

What they did with pencil to create tonal values same they have to do with brushes. No more, No less. Then they start. In between explain them repeatedly how to understand value. Tell them how to lighten the value or how to darken it. Enough. They are able to create a painting with appropriate values. Of course in single color. So what? They did a painting successfully on their own. Along with maintaining values! Is it not great for a student?

In reality how many so called professional artists are able to maintain these values properly? O.K. Coming to the point ..For the student maintaining values in his first painting! Great! Value, which is the key to painting!

Anyway already they learned size, shape and their relations. Now they learned how to use values. That means they crossed a major step. With a little help they crossed a giant step. Every one of my students achieved this.
What is the next step?
 Let them use four or five colors. Ask them to mix the colors on their own for required tones. Explain the nature of things, which they are going to paint. Guide them how to study those things. Push them to work. Do not try to impose your work style on them. Have patience. Let them make  mistakes. Discuss about those mistakes. Again stress the importance of values. Then they will get used to painting.
More than doing painting, they will know how to proceed on to the canvas. This is the key.

By that time they will become confident. Make them do many paintings with different color combinations from the color wheel. Of course different subjects also. In this process students can involve in painting. There will be no confusion for them.

Small Pond  Artist:Magunta Dayakar

When they crossed this, you talk with them about Balance, Perspective. Make it simple. Do not confuse them with so many theories. If you talk theories they will get headache. Remember…They are not professionals like you. They want to enjoy the painting. You have to make them addict to painting, slowly like drugs. Otherwise they will run away from being a painter. Leave the hard part of the rules or technique for their future practice to become a professional. By the time they know what they should learn. Then why you are taking that responsibility?
You are not their employer to tell what they should do. Leave that part for their pleasure.

Once they understood about balance, perspective, brief them about composition and design. Leave the rhythm for their understanding. ‘Search’ is the key. Let them search for the the things. With the understanding what they achieved already, they will be able to find what they needed.

This is the way a student can learn art without much confusion. Of course there are many other ways. But I love this way. I succeeded in this way. My students got involved emotionally in learning painting, through this approach.

Because they are enjoying it, they do paintings like professionals. This inspiration, this confidence can make anybody an artist, if you show them the right path. Talk with them about life. Talk with them about human mind. For an artist it is important to understand the way life moves.

Learning art is not just doing some colorful paintings. It is understanding life. If you understand life you will be able to enjoy it, even in misery. You will help others to understand this great truth.

Becoming a true artist means becoming a selfless person. This modern world need those persons more than any time in the history.

Do you want to become a professional artist ? Then Learn these…..

Many art students who want to become professional artists enrol in some courses. Just enrolling and studying the courses won’t help them to become professional artists. Then What?

Read this snippet…

A student showed his landscape painting to one of the twentieth century great teachers and artist Frank DuMond for review.

After seeing that painting DuMond said ” The sky, the foreground, the middle ground, trees and everything came well but…” he paused for a moment.

That student looked at him anxiously.

After a moment DuMond said ” …but you have forgotten to add some cement to connect them to each other.” Paul Strisik, One of the popular American landscape painter quoted this incident in his book ‘Capturing Light in Oils’

What DuMond meant is …‘ individually every shape or part is good, but they lost the relation with each other, so the painting missed the harmony and unity.’
That would happen due to lack of composition skills.

Learning composition means coordinating many tools. If you know how to coordinate compositional tools then only you will become a professional artist.
For that you have to study six subjects. They are … Sketching, Value, Edges, Perspective, Color, Composition & Design.

A brief description about those six subjects.

This subject concerns ‘ Learning to See. ‘ That is Observation. Observation helps to understand Shapes, Spaces between Shapes and Spaces between Edges. Call these three as tools of the sketching.

We see everything in Light and Darks. These Light and Darks are the effects of Light, whether it is Sunlight or Artificial light. We will be able to create realistic illusions on canvas through creating light and darks. Relations between light and dark is Value.

Whatever we see in our visual world it appears in Color. What we paint on canvas is also Color. Art student has to understand everything about Color. Otherwise his color applications will be weak. His efforts to create realistic illusions on canvas will also be unconvincing.

This is the another important subject for the art student to learn. To construct realistic illusion on the two dimensional surface of canvas, student must know this. It is related to Size, Shape, Proportion, Value and Color.

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. Three dimensional illusion on two dimensional picture space also depends upon understanding of edges.

Composition & Design
Finally this is the soul of art. Line, Value, Edges, Perspective and Color everything is part of Composition & Design. If a picture appears beautiful, it means composition & design worked well in that picture. If picture appears dull and lifeless, it must be the reason of poor composition and design. That is the importance of Composition & Design.

To study these things, to acquire reasonable knowledge about these, it would take considerable time. So don’t be in a hurry. Start to learn. Enjoy the journey.

Creative instinct survives only in that way – From The Painter’s Heart

There is a wrong notion in many of the art students and art lovers that realistic artists are able to paint only realistic paintings, Abstract artists will be able to work only abstract paintings …

                 J. Boyi Reddy             Artist: Magunta Dayakar                 

Similar notions are that oil painters are capable of working only in oils, water colorists only in water color and that acrylic painters are good at painting only in acrylics,

                    Y.S.R        Artist:Magunta Dayakar                  

The same way, Portrait painters do only portraits, landscape artists work only landscapes, still life painters paint only still life…! This kind of opinion is false.

Restaurent                Artist:Magunta Dayakar

Art students once they are influenced by this kind of notion, then they will try to stick to one medium and one kind of subject. Then their artistic growth stops there. Art means creative. Artist means creative person. Creative person should always continue the search for new paths. Picasso is one such example. He was a painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright. He had started with realistic painting, then transforming into cubism and from there experimented with many styles….

Creative instinct survives only in that way.

             Cafe             Artist: Magunta Dayakar        

An artist who is trained in language of art can work with any medium, whether its oil, acrylics, water color or any other, and he can work on any subject …realistic, semi abstract or abstract painting. All he has to do is adapt for new paths. That is Creativity.

Garden Restaurant   Artist:Magunta Dayakar 

Artists doesn’t need to stick to any one subject or any one medium for their lifetime as if it is their ancestors property. If they try to work like that for whatever reasons they won’t enjoy the artistic pride.

Evening            Artist:Magunta Dayakar
Me and My Child   Artist:Magunta Dayakar    

 Here I have given examples of my paintings which are realistic, semi abstract and abstract in oils and acrylics. 

Most of the art students struggle a lot to choose a subject to paint…

Most of the art students struggle a lot to choose a 
subject to paint. Usually they think that if the 
subject is good, their painting will be beautiful.
It’s not true.

Countryside  Artist : Magunta Dayakar

If the subject is good, if their painting skills also will match with it, then definitely results will be good. But if their painting skills are not good enough, however good the subject is, it won’t save their work. Results will be disastrous.

Here I am giving one of my paintings ‘Countryside’ as an example.
Very ordinary subject.
A peasant standing under the trees in the countryside, looking at something which is not in picture space. Light is coming from behind the trees. I have structured this painting using the tools of Composition.

If you have good understanding about the elements of art, if you know how to play them with the principles of composition then your painting will be good whatever your subject is.

Who said, if you are a painter you have to sell paintings …. (From The Painter’s Heart Column)

”Are you promoting your work now!?” Some people 
who know me from a long time asked me with 
I was not surprised by their question. People who know me well would ask that question after seeing what I am doing now.

Since two months I have been writing continuously on my blog, posting on my face book page along with my paintings and started to interact with millions of people.

The people who knew me since decades never expect this kind of act from me, even in their wildest dreams. What they knew about me is that I am reluctant to market me and my work.

Sun Light                 Artist:Magunta Dayakar

Yes. They are right. I feel uneasy to go to the people to sell my work whether they are potential clients or galleries. I know what I am. Some things won’t suit me.

Of course, I sold whatever I painted till this day and at present I don’t have any paintings with me to sell. This happened just because people like my paintings so they bought all of my work.

People have a notion that, being a fine art artist, you have to sell your paintings, if you don’t sell you are a failure.

What a wrong notion! Selling paintings is not the only way to survive as a fine art artist. You could teach and paint for pleasure and … you can write books on it if you are truly that good. If you are not good, if you are a mediocre, you should face survival crisis. Not only in art, mediocrity faces crisis in every field, when economy is not positive.

Who said, if you are a painter you have to sell paintings as if it is the only way for an artist’s survival?

In truth, Painting is an act which enlightens our mind. The students who are coming to my class are experiencing that change in their minds after a few classes. But this enlightenment, relaxation and calmness would happen only if they achieve artistic growth, that means learning technical and creative skills. A good teacher will help students to achieve that.

Who is a good teacher?

The one who has a commanding skills on subject, who has the best communication skills, who is able to understand student’s absorbing levels and finally who is ready to share whatever he knows …is a good teacher. This kind of teacher will help the students to attain the enlightenment of being an artist.

When you are able to others to help achieve enlightenment through art … is there anything greater than that?

If you sell paintings, only you will earn money and fame but if you help others to experience pleasure and relaxation through your art, it would be more meaningful for being an artist.

So, I choose the later than former because it suits my nature.

Now at the age of sixty six, I have started to feel that I don’t have much time on my side, so better to spread my knowledge to more distant places than limiting to Hyderabad. The Facebook, the twenty first century’s wonderful innovation is helping me to continue my journey.

What is the Character of a Creator? – (From The Painter’s Heart)

‘ What is the Character of a Creator? ‘… many people are asking me this question.

What is character?

Sometimes we appreciate greatness of some people. We admire them. We try to follow them. We will make them as our heroes.

Why we admire them like that?

Because they had some qualities, traits, which made them as heroes, legends and all time greats.

Character means having these qualities, traits. A person has character means he is selfless, ready to sacrifice to achieve his dreams, ready to lose anything to reach his destination.

That is character.

A Small Pond                 Artist : Magunta Dayakar

After learning basic principles of art or any other subject, one should go with applications. That means execution. Knowing is different from doing. When you start doing things they won’t happen as you planned. They go haywire.

Then depression starts. You may be reluctant to continue. Here most of the learners would stop their attempts to experiment and stop their struggle. That means they are not having the character required to be a true artist.

A person who has character never turns back, whatever happens. He is like a warrior. A true warrior never thinks about death, he thinks only about how to conquer the enemy.

To me every artist is a warrior.

A Small Streak of Water  Artist:Magunta Dayakar

Warriors and artists are alike. Otherwise how do they become famous? How will they be admired? But to be a warrior how are they trained? They learn strategies of war, they practice and understand fighting skills.

To become an artist we need to understand the character of a warrior. We should try to become like that. In history only Warriors and Artists will be remembered more than anyone . Perhaps the reason is, they are the creators and they are also the destroyers. By conquering other kingdoms warriors will create new states. To achieve this they will destroy the existing states where as artists will lose themselves in the process of creation. That is the greatness of the artist.

To create a new world on two dimensional canvas they are ready to destroy so many canvases. In this process so much suffering, pain and agony they have to experience. Great things never come to you cheaply. The entire world, irrespective of races, countries talk about Leonardo da Vinci’s Monalisa. Why?

Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Lenin, Abraham Lincoln and Gandhi, Einstein and many greats…. Monalisa is always more in the news than them. Why? Think about it! You may find the answer.

The answer is … It is the character of all time great Leonardo da Vinci. History says ‘ The world had not seen such a extraordinary genius till this day.’

People love that kind of character, they admire those who have that character. Not only warriors, or artists, If anybody wants to become the best they must have character.

Character demands continuous learning, courage to sacrifice, and risk taking. We can ask ourselves sincerely …’ how many artists are having this character?

Continuous learning will help you to get this character. We should continue our learning till our last breath if we want to achieve the Character of a Creator.

(Excerpt from my book …’ If You Love Your Work It Will Lead To Failure?’)

Visual Imagination…what is it?

Every artist however skilled he is, always gets 
doubts on Composition and Design at least once in a 
while, if not every day. The nature of the subject is 
like that. If it’s easy to understand, we won’t be 
talking about it. 

Boats                        Artist : Magunta Dayakar

One of my students asked me….  
 ” Sir. You are saying Composition is more difficult than Design! Why?”

” It is all a play on a picture space. To play we have to use a tool. That is Composition. If design is a plan, composition is the tool to execute that plan playing with the elements of art. I told you already, applications are always more difficult than planning.

You see… here we have few elements. With that we have to create a scene. A scene is a space. That space is empty until you put some shapes. Those shapes have to be turned into forms using light. We see that light through colors.
Think… all these are applications. To make the space pleasant, you have to use these applications with lot of tools. These tools we call as principles. Principles are the tools you have to use to work on something. If you want to be the best in composition you have to know about these principles. ”

” What are these principles? ”

” Variety, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Balance, Emphasis, Pattern and Rhythm. These principles interact with elements. They choose the variety of shapes, values, colors … and will turn all elements into one family. That should be harmonious. This leads to unity. Achieving this unity means that you are successful in your applications. That means Composition.”

 ” I am a bit confused Sir, please tell me some more about these principles .I am not able to understand them, they always confuse me. For example ‘ Variety ‘ as a word there is no confusion. Everybody knows the meaning of it. Same with Contrast, Repetition, Balance and others. But the problem is we do not know how to use it in work.”

” Dear young lady, this is the problem more or less every art student usually suffers. They try to apply these principles without understanding them. There they fail. Usually what happens? First they learn about them. Then they will get excited because they think they knew some secrets of painting. They become confident that they are able to apply design and composition in their work. Then they will start. Suddenly some problem will happen which they didn’t expect. They become frustrated. Confused. Then they lose their confidence. ”

 ”Yes! Exactly it’s happening to me. Why?” She asked me.

 ”Answer is very simple and complex.”

She is looking at me questioningly.

 ”….visual Imagination.” I answered.

She was in silence for a few moments. Coming out of that silence she asked me.
”I don’t get it sir!”

I explained to her, ”First you have to imagine what you want to paint on your canvas. You have to see the anatomy of the particular picture in your mind. Then only you have to start work with your tools. Things will turn in your favour.”

”Anatomy of the picture!?”

” Yes. Anatomy of the picture. That means whatever you want to show the viewer in your finished painting, you have to see the basic structure of it in your in your mind’s eye. This is called Visual Imagination. When you are able to get this visual imagination, then your tools will follow. That is the coordination between mind, eye, hand and tools. Every Artist requires these visual imagination skills when it comes to applications on picture space or any actual space.

(Excerpt from my book ‘ What am I missing in my Painting)

Many people are asking me …’ what is the language of art?’ – From The Painter’s Heart Column

Many people are asking me …’ what is the language 
of art?’
It’s not possible for me to answer everyone 

individually. Here I am explaining about it.
‘Every subject has its own language. For example if you want to learn English, you should start with alphabets, words, sentences, grammar and like that. Once you study these things well, then you are able to structure a sentence to communicate whatever you want to say. Making sentences into a paragraph, from paragraphs to pages, to write you need a lot of practice and a lot of reading. After that writing making it readable is the next step. The one who makes his writing readable will become a popular writer, his writing would be called as popular writing. Example … Popular Novels or Fiction.

End of The Day                Artist : Magunta Dayakar

Art also has its own language … Line, Shape, Space, Form, Value , Color, Composition and many more are there in the language of art. If someone wants to become a professional artist, they must study these things at least to a certain extent. These same things apply in all visual art related fields.

I have written an article on my blog, titled as ‘ Does every artist and art student have to learn the language of art? ‘ Read it to get some understanding.
It’s impossible to explain about the language of art in a few articles. It goes on with more intricacies about it. I would like to write about it as long as possible. It’s also a learning for me. I am not thinking that I am helping others by writing about it. It’s helping myself. I am learning more by writing about it.

Whatever I am writing through “From The Painter’s Heart’ and ‘ Painting Secrets Columns’ is about the language of art and creative thinking.

Read these columns, slowly with time you will be able to understand it. That is the way I learned, the same I am suggesting to anyone who wants to learn.

Tail Piece
I read John Carlson’s “Guide To Landscape Painting” 20 years ago. When I read it I didn’t understand much even though I was a professional writer and had a habit of reading a lot of books. After repeated reading I had started to understand it.

Later I read twentieth century prominent American plein air painter Paul Strisik words about Carlson’s book …

” I read Carlson’s book hundred times, then only I have understood it.” This is what he said.

Understanding the language of art is not difficult but it requires continuous effort and analytical thinking.