On Following Rules – From The Painter’s Heart

( I wrote this article few years ago to one of my American artist friend Celeste, On Following Rules. Here I am sharing it with all of you.)

Hello Celeste,

I am writing this to share my feelings with you to give an understanding about my thinking… on following Rules.

Celeste, Rules… They must be learned but we should use them as a part of our understanding.

Imagine, how is it possible for a person to drive a car consciously watching breaks, accelerator, gears steering and streets? Do you think anybody can drive that way? I don’t think so. It looks odd. I feel the same to follow the rules of any thing, whether its a composition or something else.

Country Side        Artist:Magunta Dayakar

Observe … those artist’s work, who follow rules rigidly as if though written on the stone, see their work… to me they look tight, artificial. And you see so much hard work in there. This is the most worst thing. An artist work has to be seen effortless. Natural. The viewer should not feel that they are seeing a painting, which has been done with lot of hard work, instead of that they should feel, it is a very simple work, artist has done it in a effortless way. If a viewer feels that way then that is the best work.

If you use any rules strictly without spontaneity the work will lose its beauty. Spontaneity comes from Understanding. I have understood this.

Following any rule blindly will obstruct your growth. Imitators will do that. One person will find the road. All the people walk on that. History will talk about the person who found the road, but not about who are walking on that. So instead of blindly following the rules we have to understand the essence of them. Because Understanding is different from knowing Rules.

For example, Understanding will make you to know the things about the road. How it is built, where it started, where it ends …like this. Then you began to explore about the possibilities to travel beyond that road. This is the power of Understanding.

Every bit of knowledge will help us if we use it in a right way. But that bit of knowledge must remain as a part of our understanding. You call this bit of knowledge as … Rule.

If you stick to rules what’s going to happen? Imagine! Most probably …today we would not have been communicating with each other through Net. We would have been living in Stone age.

That’s what would happen to us if we stick only to rules with out making them as a part of our understanding.

I had practiced painting before learning any rules and principles. Once I came to know about these rules and principles all I did was make little bit of adjustments in my work. This way you will become natural. Not only in painting, in any field it will work. First be a good runner. Then do adjustments here and there where ever you feel they are required. Spontaneity comes out of this approach. How many people understand this Celeste?

No wonder…why we won’t see many creators in this world in any time! All we are seeing is ‘People of Intellect.’

Intellectualness, Intelligence, Creativity are three different things. Intellectualness is nothing but storing information. Intelligence is using that information to do a work properly. Intellectualness, Intelligence are part of Creativity. Intellectualness and Intelligence are search tools in Creativity.
Imagine.. Where intellectualness stands in the process of Creativity? Sticking only to intellectualness is nothing but following Rules blindly. Then how do you become a Creator?

That’s why I am against confining only to Rules.

Celeste, You understood me clearly. I feel it is very important to be creative than using the information strictly. Computers can store lot of information but they could not create any thing. Some people believe that if they have a good information, they are the authority on the said subject. This is very sad.

I know some of the intellectuals. They will give you ready made answer for everything. But…they are not able to rise any questions. Think Celeste, A person, who could not rise questions about whatever he has to do…How do you expect that he can become a creator?

Some super computers also know every thing or most of the things related to whatever they were fed. But they could not create any thing on their own. They need a software to respond. Most of the intellectuals are also like that.

What is the use of the words when they are not able to show the path? Instead of showing the path these intellectuals will frustrate you with their words, of course… if you are weak. I have seen a lot of such people. They hate the people who want to stand alone in the crowd. They will put every effort to drag you into the crowd. That is their way of life.

Celeste, another important thing, what we need to think about is… from where these rules came?

If some body works beautifully, analysis will start on his work to find the reasons for why its looking good?

From that analysis, rules will be made. Ordinary people follow them. They are the crowd. The person who is used to living in the crowd could not survive as an individual. Creators are individuals.

What those creators will do? They study those beautiful works. They will absorb the reasons for their beauty. Then they will enter their own world to seek questions. Those questions are their life lines. They are their compositions. They are their Harmony, Unity. They are every thing to them. To understand this truth we need an open mind.

But this world is not like that. This world is full of intellectual people, who are like the Encyclopedia Britannica. The best Encyclopedias sell for a few hundred dollars. But can you imagine… for how much Vangogh painting can be sold? ..millions of dollars! That is creativity. Creativity is spontaneous.

Rules or principles whatever it is they must be understood. They should not obstruct our journey. If it’s necessary every rule should be thrown into the air. Bring some new rules out of that air … out of that emptiness. This is the way creators can survive. Understanding this philosophy is a very difficult thing.

I do paintings this way. I do write books this way.

Celeste, there are people who can understand us. We can survive, because we are always learning. We don’t need to be accepted by everybody. We are not seeking any acceptance also. But there are people with big heart, they will support us, if our cause is genuine. So our philosophy will be continuing our journey.

Before concluding this I will narrate a small story…

A frog is living in a well. One day another frog fell into that well accidentally. The old frog in the well asked the new frog.

“ From where you came?”

“ I came from the sea.” the new frog replied.

The old frog asked curiously..” From the Sea !? …How big is it?”

“ Very big”

The old frog jumped a little distance across the well and asked “..Is it this big?”

“ No! Its bigger.”

Again the old frog jumped some more distance in the well and asked “..This much?”

“ No…its very very big ” Replied the new frog.

This time old frog lost its patience completely. It jumped to the edge of the well and asked with anger..

” Is that this much big?”

This time the new frog did not give reply. It understood about the old frog.

‘From long time that old frog was living in that well. It is seeing every thing only through that well . It is seeing a limited space in the sky. So every thing it thinks through that perspective only.’

When the new frog understood this truth it did not speak any words. Most of the people are like this Celeste. They are ‘ Frogs in the Well ‘

Same way there are people who are living in the sea. We need the society with this kind of people. It is everyone’s duty to built that kind of society.

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