Sunday, December 6, 2009

Life on Mobius Strips , The painting is finished





Life is a theme of art from time immemorial. It will continue to be so in a foreseeable future. Life may be lived at multiple planes if we are imaginative. But what happens is, most people live it on a single plane, not being able to explore all those possibilities and wonder at all those marvels. It moves as if on a Mobius strip which has only one plane. The background of this painting is inspired by a Hubble photograph from NASA. It shows gas pillars in the Eagle Nebula. The pillars are several light years in length. It is capable of invoking a gasp of wonder from any reasonable, thinking human being.

This painting is titled "Life on Mobius Strips"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My paintings feature in the poetry magazine Kritya




The current issue of Kritya feature Biju's paintings related to the theme of nature. Read the magazine here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Meet my poet friend



A C Sreehari was a budding poet, once upon a time. Not anymore. I mean, he is almost a veteran already. He has talent and genius. To have a taste of some of his poems, go to DC Books and buy his collection. Or here you can have a taste.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An older simpler painting



This is one of my earlier paintings in which yellow dominates. Do you think it a bit jarring? me too.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lake Isle of Kuttanad painting... another shot

kuttanad landscape painting
Kuttanad is a beautiful granary of Kerala. The landscape is quite beautiful and serene. It is capable of inspiring the artist in you.
This painting is almost done. The size is 27X17 inches. It is done in acrylic on canvas. I posted the earlier stages but here is a perhaps better picture, except for the buckled canvas which was due to the wrong way I held the canvas.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Painting painterly paintings





William Bouguereau's paintings were ridiculed by some impressionists and modernists as having a licked finish. But the fact is that on closer inspection all art have some painterly touch to it. John Singer Sargent is one of the painters who is famous for his painterly style. But the fact is that he actually worked very hard to achieve the effect that he had painted the picture with great ease at one stroke. He scraped out and repainted many parts of his paintings. Look at one of the paintings of Bouguereau. Notice how the folds on the skirt are painted in a painterly way.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What is good or bad in art?




Discussions about which is good art and which is bad is basically meaningless. One man's good may be another one's bad. And such opinions are susceptible to change also. There cannot be any catechism for art.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

My next painting is titled 'Life on Mobius Strips'

Life can be lived on different planes. But unfortunately most of us live even unaware that we are living. It is lived on a single plane and that too pathetically. This thought gave rise to this painting... Inspiration is also derived from Hubble Telescope photographs. Picture of the painting will be added soon.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Action Painting, expressionism, Jackson Pollock... bla bla bla...



Jackson Pollock painted his masterpieces by dripping, and throwing paint on to a canvas. What did he paint like that... god knows. But his No.5 (some people thought that it was utter crap and preferred to call it No.2:-)) sold for $ 140.000.000 which would make it one of the most expensive paintings.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lake Isle of Kuttanad... Another painting is in progress..




Some people live in small island like pieces of land in Kuttanad, Kerala. It looks a serene setting to live in. Though I know that they have their own problems, that too, serious ones, it is apt for romanticizing. My next Kuttanad landscape is in the making. I have already done the background and the sky. Hope you like it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

To understand the value of time, you must read this...

Artist Robert Genn wrote this to me and I would like all of you to read this... and watch the video if your bandwidth allows..

Running out of time

July 24, 2009

Dear Biju,

Randy Pausch was a professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In September 2006 he learned he had pancreatic cancer. Feeling the need to spend as much time as possible with his family, Randy cleared his desk and moved his wife, Jai, and their three young children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe, to another state. Here, he rationalized, the children might be better able to receive the wisdom of their grandparents and begin a life without their dad.

A cheerful, optimistic and innately curious chap from the get-go, Randy seemed to accept his fate with more equanimity than his friends and colleagues gave him. As was the tradition with retiring faculty at CMU, he was asked to give a last lecture, a mixt of summing up and parting advice to any students or others who might be interested. Just as knowing when the date and time of the end of a vacation determines how one might take advantage of the last days, such a lecture might be particularly cogent. Four hundred people showed up. Videos were made. A book came out if it. Among other things, Randy gave some straightforward advice to anyone who might be running out of time.

Time must be explicitly managed, like money.
You can always change your plan, but only if you have one.
Break big tasks into small ones and put them on lists.
Ask yourself if you're spending time on the right stuff.
Develop a good filing system and stick with it.
Get yourself a speakerphone so your hands can stay busy.
Learn to delegate, and especially empower younger people.
Make occasional time for a genuine time out.

To those who heard Randy's reminders, and those who have read The Last Lecture in book form, it seems incredible that such straightforward suggestions can come from a terminally ill person. Running out of time, Randy's remaining days were joyful--not that he was going to receive some special dispensation, but he was empowered with the idea that people can be simple bridges to one another. Life itself will go on after we depart, and there will be others eager to keep the faith of trying to figure things out and pass on their findings. Our world is a moldable, improvable place.

Randy Pausch died on July 25, 2008. He was 47 years old.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think." (Randy Pausch)

Esoterica: Randy was upbeat and witty during his lecture, alternating between wisecracks and insights on computer science and engineering education. After doing a few push-ups on stage, he gave advice on building multi-disciplinary collaborations, working in groups and interacting with others, and offered inspirational life lessons. Speakers who followed up were in tears. CMU will celebrate Pausch's impact on the world with a raised pedestrian bridge to connect the new Computer Science Building and the Center for the Arts, symbolizing the way Pausch linked disciplines.

Watch the Last Lecture

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reflecting Kingfisher Painting Finished!!

Kerala painting

This painting is almost finished
Ref No: 49
Reflections of a Bird
27X13 inches
Acrylic on Canvas
For more information go to www.varnachitra.com

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Art as spontaneous expression ? (Nonsense!)


Recently on TV I came across an event in which different poets were reciting their poems in memory of a bygone poet. As part of it there was a recital along with which was a live demonstration of Artist Namboothiri. Artist Namboothiri is a great artist with lot of original talent. He is, shall I say, a genius. He was apparently translating to canvas the poem that was being recited. But most probably he came with a plan and he was executing it. All this prompted me to think whether this impromptu thing was possible.


My thinking is that painting involves a lot of technique and planning. There are artists like Jackson Pollock who throw paint on canvas. I am not a great fan of such expressionists. I believe in the conscious use of principles and techniques. I think that is true about all artistic expressions including poetry.

Wordsworth talks about 'emotions recollected in tranquility', not emotion expressed as is.

I remember my literature classes nearly fifteen years ago. The famous Victorian poet Tennyson's most famous poem is 'In Memoriam'. It is an elegy on the death of his college friend, Arthur Henry Hallam. Hallem died in 1833. In Memoriam was published only 1850. It took 17 years for Tennyson to perfect his emotion in the form of an artistic expression. By that time what must have happened to the original emotion is anybody's guess. The poem is written in a metre that is quite rare, which is now called the In Memoriam metre. It is deftly managed. It is an entirely different thing from impromptu emotional response. Artistic expression is often premeditated, planned and involving technical skill, I think.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak at St Berchmans Changanassery




Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak came to Changanassery and delivered C.A. Sheppard memorial lecture. I was invited by Mr P J Thomas who was behind bringing her to the college. It was a wonderful experience listening to her speaking about the relevance of humanities. I never thought that post modern theorists could speak with such clarity. Her occasional remark that she did not believe in the immortality of the soul raised a few ecclesiastical eyebrows, I could sense. I am a lover of modern theory in that it holds the view, there is nothing all good and nothing all bad, as Spivak said. I want to base my art on such a liberal view. Thanks PJT for inviting me for the lecture.

Monday, June 22, 2009

One of my earlier paintings




Dragonflies don't deserve such a bad name. I think they have no relation whatsoever with dragons. These beautiful creatures are excellent subjects for paintings by a nature lover. I plan to do more such paintings.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How great an artist God is!



My home in North Malabar is rich with flowers and butterflies. Probably some of the butterflies like this one will be immortalized in one of my future paintings.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My New painting is based on 'The Wasteland' by T S Eliot



This painting in progress is based on 'The Wasteland' by Eliot. Especially the first part of the poem, 'The Burial of the Dead'. The following lines present the key visual image;

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying "Stetson!
"You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!
"That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
"Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
"Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
"Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,
"Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!
"You! hypocrite lecteur! - mon semblable, - mon frere!"

Time place and cultures merge in my visual reading of 'The burial of the dead'. I plan to title the work as 'Unreal City'. Stetson from the Battle of Mylae talking to a soldier from the first world war is the compelling inspiration for this painting. This image drives home the important message that all war is one war, equally nonsensical. I plan to dehumanize Stetson and the World War I soldier.

Friday, May 22, 2009




Here is a larger floral painting
Size 14.5X24.5 inches without frame
On acid free handmade paper

Thursday, May 14, 2009




This is my latest floral painting. Acrylic on acid free paper
size 14x10 inches.
Hope you like this

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Get this painting absolutely free!!


Get this painting without spending a penny, except the postage. Visit
http://seekpaintings.com/detail_s/45.html
and click 'order now'
Fill the applicable columns only.
First come first served

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Art and different media.


I have noticed in some artists a tendency to glorify the media they are comfortable with, to the exclusion of all others. This is not bad at all. But when they condescendingly talk about other media (often indirectly or as a slip of tongue) it sounds irritating. Recently I heard a remark by an artist on television saying that watercolor is 'the' medium for artists and acrylic is a medium for all and sundry. A practicing artist knows that each medium has its own possibilities, peculiarities and challenges. Perhaps his contention is that acrylic is a new medium compared to watercolors. But a little bit of history will teach you that watercolor was a new medium during 1500s whereas oil paints were used from ancient Roman times. Until 1800s watercolors did not enjoy much of a consensus as a serious medium. There is no meaning in upholding or deriding a particular medium. Undoubtedly the medium of the present times of polymers is acrylics. It has the advantages of lightfastness and durability.

The above painting is not mine. It is a historical watercolor by Albrecht Dürer titled, "A Young Hare" done in 1502.

Another painting added to the gallery





This painting is a landscape. I am presently working on my readings of modern poets.

Sunday, January 11, 2009