Milind is a self-taught painter, having developed his skills “hanging around” the artist G.S. Shenoy. “That’s how I learnt, by doing work and showing it to him. It’s from him that I imbibed this quality that if you don’t work you never know what is going to come out of a particular idea.”
After a few initial shows, Milind took a break from painting in 1983.By then he quit his job at a bank to start a successful colour-copying business working with advertising companies.
“I just didn’t feel like painting at that time and only when I started again, I understood why. My children were growing up, I was just married. I couldn’t have two wives so I decided that I would get back to it when I had to,” he recalls.
“After a while I started feeling I’m not cut out for business. I knew my eye for colour is good, I could run the business competently but I started feeling that I’m cut out to do art. And when I looked into my computer, I saw that I was doing small works even then. That’s when I started painting again.”
These small works include “digital monoprints” which he made by colour-copying leaves. He seriously went back to painting only in 1998 after Akumal Ramachander (famous for his discovery of Harold Shapinsky, the abstract expressionist painter), serendipitously discovered his work and helped him create and exhibit a new series of paintings.
“He is behind my coming back. Today, we may not see eye to eye, we may have ideological differences, but we are good friends,” he reveals.
“I started discovering the joy of work and I continued working. There was one show after another and by the fifth show I was convinced I was born to do this. I didn’t have to do anything else.”
It was in this period that he began painting the “Earthscapes” series of watercolour landscapes, which he continues to paint.
“It was different from whatever others painted for the simple reason that I had not seen any paintings, I had not gone to shows, I had no linkage with artists. And that’s how this whole series developed,” says Milind who considers himself a “simple landscape painter”.
He recalls how the artist K.M. Adimoolam identified him as a colourist. “He asked me to work with pure colours, instead of confining myself to landscapes.
I told him that since he was in the field for many decades, people would buy whatever he paints. But if I start painting what I liked, I may not be able to feed my family.
Still I was doing what liked doing, and I was doing it honestly. So I told him not to push me from my path though I might be a colourist.”
But today, Milind whole-heartedly agrees with Adimoolam (he passed away in 2008). “My paintings are all about colour and celebration and how colour resonates in different surfaces and mediums.”
I knew my eye for colour is good, I could run the business competently but I started feeling that I’m cut out
to do art.