Her pictures stand out for their curious themes and as the artist explains the long process of creating the etchings, the curiosity turns to admiration. One might call them painstaking but not Babitha Kadannappally who prefers etching to other mediums of painting and expressions simply for the long winding process, which she enjoys to the core. It gives out distinct results and they are more powerful, she feels.
Put on display at the Lalithakala Akademi art gallery at Thiruvangad are 15 etchings and 10 drawings by Ms. Kadannappally. The wrinkled hands of an old lady cradling an egg, a flower and a moth in a charcoal drawing series are intense with the lines on the palm dark and clear. The yellow tinge on one of them was given with a tea wash and the connotations for the creased hands are varied, of protection or of experience, she says. It is this thorough approach for colours and other characteristics which drew her to printmaking which the artist pursued till Masters at Central University, Hyderabad.
Covering a zinc plate with wax, delivering rough strikes on it with the drawing tool which peels away the wax, dipping it in nitric acid, cleaning the plate and smearing letterpress ink on the engraved portion and then taking the imprint on a print paper, the process takes not less than a month for an etched picture. Stark contrast of dull colours with a bright one as in the case of the egg yolk , the copper tint of the moth or the flower petals in the etched pictures render them that unusual feel.
The artist says that the many objects in her pictures are memories from her childhood.
A majority of them are nature-centric, with butterflies, flowers and foliages, still having an instant connect with some contemporary themes.
The etching works with aquatint gives the picture a darker shade while the mezzotint turns it lighter, explains Ms. Kadannappally who works as a Fine Arts teacher at Raja Ravi Varma College of Fine Arts, Mavelikara.