Naren Vaiude and his wife Namita display their art at the Whispering Stones gallery

Naren Vaiude graduated top of his class from the JJ School of Art in 1962. He was immediately offered a job in Air India and when a jubilant Naren went to give his Professor the good news, the latter was not pleased at all. He wanted his student to join JJ as a teacher there. Naren did, and taught there for 10 years.

And it was there that he met his future wife in one of his students, Namita.

The artist husband and wife are displaying some of their work at the Whispering Stones gallery, off Trichy Road. While Naren’s paintings make up the lion’s share, Namita too has a few beautiful metal paintings of her own to offer.

From figurative to abstract

Naren and Namita live in England and Naren is at present painting abstracts. He began as a figurative artist, (his earlier works are also on display), but somewhere along the way felt the need to express himself through abstract landscapes.

He has painted the beautiful countryside of England, Scotland and Wales. Autumn is captured in bold orange and ochre, and the gentler spring, in shades of green. Then there is the silver and purple of stormy skies (Naren says he is at his most painterly when it rains!). Naren says the stories in his painting are for the viewers to glean. “I do not like to state everything in my work,” says Naren as he points to a ‘hint of a fence’ in one of his paintings. They may be abstract in style, but it is not difficult to make out a pier at sunset, the reflection of the setting sun in a water body, trees at night, a melting glacier…. There are no feeble colours. Thick and vigorous streaks of yellows, purples, indigoes and greens, layer upon layer, make up his images. “I never dilute my colours,” he says.

The beautiful venue of Whispering Stones with its bare white walls and red-oxide flooring is a perfect foil for his dramatic paintings. Naren points to two paintings, curiously similar, yet different. They were done at different times of the day.

The Masters

Naren speaks with awe about French Impressionist Claude Monet’s ‘Rouen Cathedral series’ that he painted at different times of the day and year. Naren says he will never forget his visit to Giverney where Monet lived and painted so many of his masterpieces.

Namita’s favourite is Rembrandt and she recollects how her first visit to Rijksmuseum in Amstradam, to see The Night Watch ended in tears for her. She had gone there just for a day, but she had picked that one day of the week when the museum was shut to visitors! But she went back to see her favourite artist’s work.

Namita’s art is very different from that of Naren. While his works are inspired by English landscapes, hers is drawn from Indian mythology that she describes as gift wrapping. Underneath the stories and characters is a wealth of meaning, she says. Namita does metal painting that she describes as a lot of physical work. She has to prepare her work surface with acid and bleach, etch, chisel, lacquer and more before they are finished. Her paintings of Radha and Krishna are beautiful, in jeweled tones and with minute detailing.

She recalls a mammoth commission she had where she had to make 300 paintings in a year for a client in Singapore. She says all that year she could not have slept more than two hours a day!

Unlike Naren, Namita is not a full- time artist. “But, she is my truest critic,” says Naren. “Sometimes he sulks if I criticise, but then he realises I am almost always right,” she laughs.

Namita and Naren have been on an extended tour of India and have included Coimbatore in their itinerary because of a dear friend they have in the city. They have exhibited across India and have travelled extensively in Rajasthan. Naren says he is inspired to paint Indian landscapes. He plans to start a series once he gets back to the U.K.

Namita and Naren Vaiude’s exhibition is open today and tomorrow between 10.35 a.m. and 8 p.m. at Whispering Stones, 1 BRCF, Rajalakshmi Mills Road (Perks Arch Road) Off Trichy Road. Coimbatore 641015. For details call: 0422-2574280/ 98430-14490.