Sachin Jaltare finds himself in the throes of change as he explores the world of abstracts.

The residential colony is an oasis of calm, away from the noise and dust of the Begumpet main road. Nestled in the colony, artist Sachin Jaltare’s studio is awash with colour. Tubes of paint and brushes lie on a low table on which spots of dried paint have formed their own abstract patterns.

Several paintings of different sizes are placed against the walls of the studio, awaiting Jaltare’s finishing touches. Among these are also the paintings he showcased in Bangalore in January as part of his series ‘Tales of Infinity’. “It’s been three years since I exhibited in Hyderabad,” he says. He is working on a new series for the city.

Tales of Infinity, as he describes it, is a “dance of form and formless” merging characteristics of both figurative and abstract paintings. His art shifted from figurative to abstract as he began exploring topics related to spirituality. “The more I started thinking about Shiva, spirituality and symbolism I found myself moving towards abstracts,” he says.

The interest in spirituality was a result of reading, which in turn led to more painting on related topics. “It is so vast you cannot stop after painting one series; there’s so much to explore,” says Jaltare. He felt figurative paintings were limiting. “Abstracts take you to a higher level of thought process and explore what wouldn’t have been possible otherwise,” he adds.

In technique and vision, Jaltare differs from those artists who paint episodes from mythology. “My intention is not to narrate a story. My paintings reflect my thoughts on spirituality,” he says. “There’s expressionism in my work, which I’d like to explore further, maybe through sculptures at a later date. My style is drawing oriented, which I am trying to merge with abstracts.”

Sachin Jaltare graduated in applied arts and was a topper from Nagpur University. Hailing from a small town in Maharashtra, he couldn’t afford higher education and found himself a job as an illustrator at an ad agency in Hyderabad soon after graduation in 1991. “My father worked as a signboard painter. Even though I got admission into an engineering college, he encouraged me to take up painting. While studying applied arts, my heart was in painting,” recalls Jaltare. His father didn’t let the responsibility of being an elder son weigh on him, leaving Jaltare ample room to hone his skills and eke out a career.

“Those were hard days,” he says. As a bachelor, he struggled to pay his rent. “Back then, Hyderabad had only one art gallery — Surya Art Gallery. For four to five years, I worked as an illustrator. Then I took a risk, quit my job and did some freelance work as an illustrator and used all my spare time to paint,” he says. Support came from artist Sanjay Ashtaputre. “He was the one who urged me not to be bound by a full-time job,” says Jaltare. Encouragement also came from senior artists in the city. “Those coming to Hyderabad are lucky because there’s always support from senior artists. I learnt so much observing and listening to Laxma Goud and Vaikuntam,” says Jaltare. As a young artist, inspiration and influence came from many masters — Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh for his expressionism, Michelangelo, Da Vinci and, closer home, M.F. Husain, S.H. Raza and Gaitonde.

Jaltare’s first exhibition was in 2000. “Yes, it took a long time,” he smiles. His paintings on birds were displayed as part of an exhibition hosted by Birdwatchers Society of Andhra Pradesh at Kalabhavan. “All my paintings were sold, prices beginning at Rs. 1500. That motivated me to do more,” he says.

He looks back at some of his early works with pride as well as embarrassment. “If you don’t notice your shortcomings, there is no room for progress,” he reasons.

He says he feels a tinge of sadness when he sees some of his best works sold and being taken away. “But I feel happy thinking the painting will be enjoyed by someone else. My wife, too, says I should have kept some of the paintings with me.” He says his strength comes from his wife and son. “My son, 17, isn’t inclined towards painting though I feel he has it in him to become one. He is pursuing music.”

Jaltare has participated in group shows in Singapore and Dubai and, in the near future, hopes to do a solo show in Europe.