Lives in the shadows

PAINTING WITH water-colour is considered more difficult than with oil. For the simple reason that the shade, mixed with water, can't be easily repeated again once the paint dries. In other words, the artist has to be fast. Among those who have effectively dealt with this medium is Kate Bedell, the Irish-born artist who has just finished her show, "Indian Summer" in Bangalore. Some of her works will continue to be displayed at Sumukha Gallery in Wilson Garden. She has also used mixed media, and assembled collages.

About the latest and second exhibition here, Kate says: "Indian Summer encapsulates my impressions and experiences of India. I have painted some simple scenes of everyday life. I have also explored the rich colours and textures in a loose impressionistic style of women in colourful saris and created some abstract pieces."

"When painting Indian women, I want to capture more than just an image. I am aware of a haunting feeling lingering in the air around them; their saris seem to float around their bodies. I wanted to capture this by using the watercolour `wet-in-wet', so that the edges of rich colours bleed together leaving the borders undefined. Sometimes my eyes are met by piercing stares over partly coloured faces, which make me uneasy, as do the faces of fully veiled women whose clothes are like a shroud.

It seems as if they are living their lives in the shadows. As a westerner, I find this a little eerie and feel that it has crept into my work," she remembers.

Kate finds the medium of water-colour lending itself well to creating atmosphere and capturing "that ethereal quality that surrounds India". In contrast to the vibrant figures, she also included some still-life paintings in her show. Like in "Blue Bowl and Lotus Buds", the gorgeous pink of the buds reminding her of "how slowly India yields her secrets".

Kate Bedell

Kate Bedell  

Since living here, Kate has become interested in working in abstract using collage and mixed water media to explore the many textures in the old weathered walls and buildings.

By Satyamurty K.

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