K. Kalavathy


What made my parents name me Kalavathy is anybody’s guess. That it accurately embodied my latent strength and desire was something nobody could then have foretold. While my days in school, had dragged wearily on I found my choice of Botany and Zoology for my B.Sc. begin to kindle my interest in academia – though not quite for traditional scholastic reasons. The biological sciences required sketching and drawing in the practical classes; skills that were not called for in the other subjects that I studied. There was no better way to indulge my craving for art.

When I landed my first job at the Taluk Office in Bangarpet, the craving to paint was compelling. But my workplace offered no opportunity. It was only when I returned from work, after dark that I could paint. Every painting had to be touched up later, during the holidays as it was only then that I could work during the day under conditions of natural light.

My work in various capacities in the State Government offices, and finally as a Tahsildar involved extensive travelling which though exhausting gave me the opportunity to study local landscapes and a cross section of people from all walks of life. During this period I began painting in oils on canvas. I painted land and seascapes, and birds; learning everything solely through books. Poring over the works of European Masters I gained insights into composition, style and the use of colour. I also toured selected museums in Europe to admire and learn the techniques of the masters. I attended a two months evening course at the ‘Ken School of Art’. I now found that my forte was portraiture. Post retirement I paint for at least six to seven hours every day. Even after applying over half a dozen thin layers of paint I often find that I have not achieved the desired result. Gradations of colour and tone at the expense of line are used by me to effect transitions.

Since 1992, my paintings have been exhibited in group exhibitions in Bangalore, some of the notable ones being those organized by the Lalith Kala Academy (1996), Srusti Art Gallery (2011) and the Bangalore Art Foundation (2012). This year I received recognition as a ‘Senior Artist’ by the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat and had paintings exhibited in the main gallery of the Parishat along with the other established artists.

My art works have appeared in various publications, an oil painting was featured in the 2011 calendar by the KSM Trust, Hampinagar, Bangalore while one on Gandhi was featured in the Calendar brought out by the Gandhi Bhavan and four of my oil paintings accompanied poems in the May and July issues of ‘Mayura’.

Though I have been approached by individuals and art dealers - The Adalia Art Gallery, Bangalore and Tipu Arts, Mumbai – for the purchase of my paintings , I have refrained from selling them. The only painting that was sold was sold against my wishes at the 1992 Kala Mela held at Ravindra Kala Kshetra. Every painting is organically linked to me, selling them would be tantamount to dismembering me. Some day I hope to exhibit my paintings in a gallery of my own. That would be final redemption for my parents foray into the nomenclatural realm.

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