While most professional artists rarely use bright and dark shades in watercolours, often switching to acrylic early in their career, watercolour remains Mr. Punalur’s favourite.

A painting on a 16-foot canvas is hard to miss, especially when it depicts the life of Christ from birth to Resurrection. And the palette, much wider than usual, adds its bit to turn the canvas into an arresting spectacle.

At the Museum auditorium in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday, people were drawn to this untitled work of Varghese Punalur.

“Colours need no restrictions, but one should understand how not to let one overshadow another. That is the rule I follow in my paintings,” Mr. Punalur said.

Thirty-five of his works, both watercolour and acrylic, are on display at the auditorium. His works are colourful and appealing and yet contemplative. In particular is the life of Christ, which took almost a month, inspired by the glass paintings that adorn many churches he had visited.

In a work depicting the traditional sport of “Maramadi,” carelessly dropped brushstrokes make the water splash, the revelry brought alive. In another, a scene from Kumaran Asan’s Chandalabikshuki, much thought has gone into the selection of the colour scheme.

While most professional artists rarely use bright and dark shades in watercolours, often switching to acrylic early in their career, watercolour remains Mr. Punalur’s favourite.

“Artists do not take watercolour seriously, and we say it is mostly used by children,” he said. But his creativity oozes out in the aqueous medium, using it to portray nature and city life.

The artist, a graduate from the College of Fine Arts in the city, believes that it is necessary to understand the basics and rules of painting, as in the case of any other art form, to enjoy the artistic freedom and bring out creativity.

Art can be learnt, he said, but innovations come only through constant improvisation. For that to happen, self-learning and -appraisal of talent come in handy. Institutional studies play no part in it, but as an artist, people expect you to contribute and there is a constant struggle to achieve that.