I made 125 paintings this year, and that made me happy. It was a tough challenge I had taken. Last year challenge of 50 artworks in a year is just not comparable. Here is the best of them.
However, it is a different story how it happened and how I learnt to paint.
It was the end of 2015. I was unwilling to go down the usual road of failed resolutions. Believing that what gets measured gets done and where one sees impact, I was on a lookout for something cool. I was exposed to lot of 30 and 100-day challenges like ‘100-day of no added sugar’, ‘10,000-steps a day’, ’30 days of no drinking’ or was it 100-days. In last three years, I initiated and completed ’50 book challenge’ and ’50 art challenge’ in a year.
Now, this is how it happened. My wife Neha, Son Parteek and daughter Preetica presented me with SAMSUNG NOTE5 on my birthday 28th December. A date that I proudly share with Dhirubhai Ambani, King Birendra of Nepal, Pat Rafter and Ratan Tata.
I started playing with functions and inbuilt programmes. I opened the ‘S-NOTE’ and was exposed to the stylus and a different world of painting.
I am not a trained painter but a good enough doodler. I have experimented with sketching, painting, collage and every form where one could play with colour. However, this was a completely new medium. Here was a set of pens, pencils and brushes one could pick at convenience. You could pick just the right shade and brush width. There was no fear of colour spill. And one could undo few strokes. The last point was something really helpful.
To learn one had to experiment and practice. It was a question of believing everything was possible. To really do it, it needed me to put some rules in place.
I decided to do one-painting a day. I managed that while in transit or at home. It There was a stage I became too addicted to the charm of painting and seeing things taking safe. Even with family while discussing I would find time to complete a bit more of the painting. Additionally, there was appreciation from family providing instant gratification.
Initially nothing seemed to work out
I experimented with the use of the calligraphy pen. I graduated to use of the high lighter.
I started giving 1 or 2 hours of undivided attention to my painting. It did affect my reading habit and maybe my eyesight, which I need to get checked. And I moved to attempt black and white work.
I did some paintings of people I met. I experimented in giving expressions to the visuals and concepts I was getting exposed to. ‘Close the peep-hole’ painting, I used in my blog. There is Me and wife on our anniversary, The Indian Coffee house in Sadar Bazar, Jabalpur and people I have met.
Experimentation led to creation of a series. THE RARE VIEW. It is painting from not the usual face. The people and places are identified by what they show. It could be an event, accesseries, hair style or any thing that is deeply associated with it. I am sure Martin Lindstorm would have approved of it.
So, we have Rama with a broken bow, the Bartanwali, Kali with the heads, APJ Abdul Kalam with his hairstyle and dress, The Indigo air hostess and so on. Christ on the cross, Abhimanyu and Bhisma Pitamaha from Mahabharata and the Muralidhar Krishna.
I was doing these paintings and was never happy with the output. There was this desire to make something really good that I would be proud to show. I experimented with vignettes, and few really nice works emerged including the painting of Prateek kayaking in Canada. All of these were done with memory and no available references.
I wanted to do the 100 paintings in 100 days and knew that if I ever fail to cope with the count, it will be a downhill road. I will never be able to catch with the required rate. So, it was always better to be ahead of the rate. On few days, I made more than one painting. In February and March I was ahead by four paintings. This was a nice cushion, so I could take the risk of not painting one of the days.
I was now observing my surrounding. I was evaluating if they make a good painting. This is the period which gave me absolute pleasure of making paintings that I find were the best of the lot.
Last but not the least, towards the fag end of the challenge, I went back to drawing ‘ZEN TANGLES. I did 125 paintings in 135 days. The last two detailed ZEN TANGLES collectively taking 10 days.
I have more of control on the stylus and am able to use colours a lot better. I have adjusted for refraction. The stylus does not colour the space you think it would. You need to account for the screen and the screen guard between the stylus tip and the surface being coloured. I now know how much to compensate for it. I am able to control the high lighter and have decent enough control of the calligraphy pen.
Having finished the challenge, I am on for the next one, to write a minimum of 1000 words a day.
Digital Prints of these are available.
Connect with me and on request these can be converted into your phone covers.
Sanjeev Kotnala with 28 years of corporate experience is the founder of Intradia World; a Brand, Marketing & Management Advisory. His focus area includes Ideation and Innovation; he also conducts specialized workshops like IDEAHarvest, Liberate and InNoWait. For soft skill training, he follows SHIFT (Specific High-Intensity Frequent training), a process of continuous training with frequent shorter sessions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org tweet @s_kotnala web: www.intradia.in www.sanjeevkotnala.com.