Teenagers Jishnnu and Vishnu display their paintings at the Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery

Thirteen-year-old artist B. Vishnu dislikes birds. “I don’t paint them,” he says, shaking his head. “They peck. They are not attractive.” His brother B. Jishnnu cannot contain his laughter. “That’s because he got bitten by our pet parrot Mittu two years ago!” he says. Jishnnu specialises in painting birds. The brothers from Thiruvananthapuram have displayed their art works at Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery as part of the Vivid Palette series.

There are beautiful landscapes, birds, portraits…but what makes each of the 71 paintings special is the unassuming nature of the artists. “I don’t like that painting,” says Jishnnu matter-of-factly, pointing to one of his works. “I did it a long time ago. My parents like it though.”

Jishnnu says that he is never satisfied with his finished work. “But I can never reproduce the paintings I did in the past,” he adds. A water rail with one foot raised, a woodpecker pecking away, colourful sunbirds perched on a branch…Jishnnu is at his best when be paints birds. “I like observing them. I regularly go on bird-watching expeditions,” he says. The 15-year-old has used mobile phone recharge coupons to add texture to many of his art works.

The little imperfections

His brother has attempted the same technique. But Vishnu’s speciality are free-hand sketches. His sketch of a bungalow, titled ‘Haunted House’, has amazing details. “It’s one of my favourites,” he says. A crayon sketch he did when he was a toddler, a pen sketch of a house-boat, a water-colour painting of a scene from the countryside… Vishnu’s paintings stand out for their simplicity and their little imperfections.

Jishnnu holds his mural painting, done on cloth, close to his heart. The painting is a stunning piece of art. “I once came across the picture of a pine tree in my geography textbook,” he says. He has never seen that tree, but it stands in clumps by a lake in one of his paintings. Jishnnu likes to travel; a lot of his paintings are inspired by the scenes he admired from his window seat.

The kids have so far participated in 14 exhibitions and have won several awards. “They like to do things their way,” says their mother Susi Jean. She explains how Jishnnu, especially, hates to imitate the work of another artist. “He would ask, ‘Wouldn’t that amount to copying?’”

The exhibition will be on till November 27, from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. at Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery, Avanashi Road. For details, call 0422-2574110.