An exercise on Gurupura banks inspires residents, children to take up brush

The morning sun’s rays are gentle, like the Gurupura that empties out into the sea nearby. Boats, tied on wooden poles driven into the river bed, sway gently, and the usually bustling ship-building dock on the other side of the river bears a silent testimony to a lazy Sunday morning.

This is the canvas that inspired a transition “back to roots” for 12 artists from the group, Karavali Chitrakala Chavadi, who made their way to the banks of River Phalguni (Gurupura). Squatting amid refuse strewn along the banks, with easels and paintbrushes in hand, the artists depicted their own ode to nature.

“Whether it is modern art or surrealism or realistic paintings, as artists, whatever we take, we take from nature,” says Sharath Holla, president of the group. He explained that before graduating to the dour confines of a studio or a room, an artist practised by painting nature at the spot.

The artists from the Chavadi were given three hours — between 8.30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. — to come up with paintings that will be used for exhibitions.

Using watercolours — which, due to their easy control of colours, are the best for quick paintings, he says — bent coconut trees, a small fishing boat, and red tiled-roofed houses of the banks come alive in his painting.

“Apart from helping us retain our touch, this exercise also spreads the love for art. Many residents and children have seen us paint and express a desire to join. Some have said they had given up painting, and this will hopefully inspire them to take it up again,” he says.

Nearby, Puneet Shetty, a photographer by profession, uses acrylic colours to bring out a floating boat in near-realistic form; while, Ganesh Somayyaji, Secretary of the group, uses watercolours to depict the expansive Gurupura in a little more than an hour. “The mangrove plantations we see were planted a few years ago. The islands that are there now, may not be there in a few years. This is a way of capturing that to memory,” says Mr. Somayyaji.

While he and two other artists chose a secluded spot behind Sovereign Tile Factory at Bokkapatna, the others headed towards Sulthan Batheri. Having found a spot under a tree, art teachers Muralidhar Achar and Sudhir Kumar turn their back from the lush casurina groves in Bengre and instead focus their attentions on a large boat getting a facelift in the sand.

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