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Splash of vibrant hues


You will find a variety of natural paintings with a classical touch at this painting expo

AS A spectator when you enter this exhibition of paintings, each painting looks different from different angles. Take for instance the portrait of a woman with a lamp at the entrance. From one corner it's just the shining eyes of a woman; from the other corner it's only the glowing lamp.

"It's an interpretation of Raja Ravi Varma's paintings and that explains its uniqueness," say the couple Ravishankar and Ajitha Ravishakar. Painters by profession, they have exhibited their collection at the Coimbatore Bridge Association hall on Mani High School campus.

Master's strokes

Mention Raja Ravi Varma and immediately the name conjures a vision of an artist who had revolutionised Indian Art. "He has transformed the simplest vignettes from life into masterpieces of breath-taking beauty. His paintings took Indian Art to a new pinnacle giving to the admiring world a collection of inspirational paintings," Ajitha says.

So, what you get to see is an interpretation of Raja Ravi Verma's paintings with a touch of innovation. Like in the case of the lady with a lamp portrait, she sports the costume of a Travancore woman. In the original `There comes papa' painting, there's just a mother and son and a dog eagerly awaiting the papa's arrival.

Innovation dominates

"The homely atmosphere and the traditional costume in the painting is our innovation," she adds. These paintings (most of them done in `oil in canvas') are reasonably sized so as to deck the walls of modern apartments in style. Individual works like landscapes and decorative acrylic paintings are also exhibited. In acrylic painting the entire process of painting in the conventional sense is inverted with the artist seeing from beyond the `canvas'. "Sketches or an artist's final strokes are painted first on acrylic sheet glass in the reverse process," Ajitha explains. Other popular paintings on display are `Lord Krishna and Balaram', `Vishwamitra and Menaka' and ` Krishna and Yasodha'.

"We have also created interpretations of European painters such as Salvador Dali, Van Gogh and Charlot Bernad," Ravishankar says. Their interpreted paintings of Hansa-Damayanti (lady with a swan) and Shakuntala removing a thorn from her foot (both are Raja Ravi Varma's paintings) were sold out for Rs.24 lakhs at the auctions in London.

Abstract works

Oil paintings portraying the life of a gypsy, the sorrow in the eyes of the children and their way of life are also on display. Other exhibits include paintings of galloping horses done in watercolours and abstract works. Abstract work is done with quick strokes of the brush to create impressive landscapes. Such works combine figures and abstract forms in an interesting manner to create a sense of mystery in each concept. The couple have experimented abstract concepts such as a typical cloudy and partly rainy day in a village, the moonlight and wild animals near a pond and more. "In such paintings, a knife is used instead of a painting brush to get a rough finish," she adds.

How is the response in Coimbatore? " Awareness has to be created among school students and college goers here in a big way to bring more crowds," the couple add. There also plans to form `Palette people 2004', an organisation to link artists in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The paintings are priced between Rs.2, 500 and Rs.25, 000. The expo is open from 10.30 a.m to 8.30 p.m till August 31. For details contact: 3248585

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