Passing by In Hyderabad for a workshop, lazure artist Charles Andrade from Germany urges us to look beyond aesthetics. Sangeetha Devi Dundoo listens in
T he end product of an artistic work is stunning and glamorous but the process necessitates that you get your hands and feet dirty. At Sloka school, Aziz Nagar, a few volunteers that include school faculty and parents are busy with brush strokes under the watchful eyes of visiting German painter Charles Andrade. Charles won't settle for mediocrity. His palms, feet and shirt wet with paint and sweat, he guides them through the making of a mural using the lazure painting technique.
Andrade has taught the team to paint a few classrooms, transforming them into wow places to be in for the tiny tots. “Lazure is not about visual texture like commercial painting. It deals with atmospheric blushing of analogous colours across the wall. Analogous colours are colours next to each other in a colour grid. This mural, when complete, will have one vibrant colour atmospherically moving into another. You'll have yellow blushing into orange that blushes into red and so on,” Andrade explains to us.
He is here for a week-long workshop, training parent volunteers, art students from JNTU and Sloka faculty members. “The workshop is not for little children. Give me teens and I can work with them. Children are just happy playing with colours,” he smiles. The team looks forward to carrying forth lazure painting to other areas in the school.
The choice of colours has to do with psychology than mere aesthetics. “The colours for classrooms are not happenstance. Colour has four properties — hue, value (tint or tone), intensity (bright or dull) and temperature,” explains Andrade. “In Waldorf schools world over, children are taught to paint with six basic colours — two yellows, two reds and two blues. Everything about colour is contained in these four properties. Most decorative paint finishes don't deal with these properties. Lazure paintings give the wall a new dimension, which is almost spiritual,” he adds.
In the olden days of lazure painting in Europe, Andrade explains, the base paint was milk casein white and the glaze base, bees wax medium. Powdered plant pods were dissolved in the base to make colours, which turned out to be expensive. “Nowadays, commercial paints will suffice. I am using paints available in India for this workshop,” he says.
Andrade is a globetrotter who's been painting for 30 years and this is his first visit to India. He recounts visiting his wife's friend in Bangalore recently. “And incidentally I got hired to paint the interiors of a new Mexican restaurant in Bangalore,” he says with pride and adds as a parting shot, “Someone once asked me what my business plan was. I am an artist who likes to move like the wind. Lazure painting is not a business proposition for me.”