Art

Eloquent frames

One of Sunil Linus De' works on display at Durbar Hall Art Gallery  

Sunil Linus De describes each of his paintings eloquently—the technique he has used, the combinations of light and shadow, the quality of paper and the challenges of working with watercolour. The works, however, don’t seem to need Sunil’s careful articulation to back them up. They speak for themselves—staggering visions of green fields and rainy days, sea shores and villages, markets and rainforests—glorifying the seductive charm of watercolour.

The scenes are simple, but the craft and skill that have gone into it are hard to miss. One of his paintings, for instance, shows a group of fishermen in a boat. The sea forms a frothy blue backdrop and each wavelet has been painted to precision. Another is a portrait of a farmer on a field, his bullock muddy and the fields freshly ploughed. “There has to be life in each frame… otherwise the painting does not communicate,” says Sunil.

It is the third part of his ‘Living Room’ series. The first two were conducted in Kottayam, Sunil’s hometown. Most of the works are recreations of some of his fondest memories, he says. Though Sunil has been painting ever since he was a child, his busy schedule as the creative director of Linus De advertising company kept him away from his passion for a long time. “I did not touch the brush for about nine years,” he says. He came back to painting and in a span of two years, conducted three solo shows. This is the first of Sunil’s exhibitions in Kochi. “The art scene in the city is vibrant. People are more aware and the appreciation, too, flows.” Sunil has a set of dedicated followers on Facebook. Some, who have seen his works on FB, have come to catch the show.

The ‘Living Room’ series has about 130 paintings, all of which have a special place in his heart, he says. A graduate in advertising from the Raja Ravi Varma College of Fine Arts, Mavelikkara, Sunil believes in the unique power of watercolour. “It is difficult to work with watercolour. One wrong stroke and nothing can be done,” he says. Several of the works at the gallery bear the “sold out” tag. “I have had a request to recreate one painting,” he says. The painting, which depicts a girl wearing a bright orange skirt and blue blouse standing with her back to the canvas, is one of the two acrylic works at the show. Her languid pose and the striking colours together leave a lasting impression on the viewer. “It is not possible to recreate the painting. It does not follow a pattern. Sometimes, it may turn out better, some times, not so good,” he says.

Sunil does not use canvas. He prefers an Italian paper, Fabriano, which “is perfect for watercolour”. It enhances the poetic effect of the painting, he says.

The exhibition is on at Durbar Hall Art Gallery till August 26.


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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 8:43:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/art/eloquent-frames/article3807478.ece

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