We went together to her room. We stood at the door. I didn’t have to step inside to see it. It was right there in front of the door. She opened the window so that the sun rays fell over it. She wanted me to have a good look. I had a good look. I kept looking. Her gaze kept shifting. She was waiting for me to say something. I said something.
‘I see it’s still a work in progress. How much time did it take’? I asked without looking at her.
‘Oh, so it looks like I have done it in haste, does it’?
‘No, no. I didn’t mean that’. I actually didn’t mean that.
‘What I meant to say was that ten days of effort shows here. I can never work for such a long period. But that’s me. Anyway, let me ask you something more. Where is the source of light? Is the light falling on these ladies from outside or from inside the room? Or is the light falling from all the sides’?
She had a look at it as if she was seeing it for the very first time. She thought for a while and then responded.
‘I think the source of light should be somewhere inside the room. Yes, the light is falling directly on them from the front’.
I was sure she wasn’t too sure about what she had just said. I knew what I wanted to say now.
‘So you say the source is inside the room. Yes, if you look at them, the ladies, that’s all you would say. That’s what anyone would say. But look at the stairs. They tell a different story, don’t they’?
She looked at the stairs. The told a different story. I continued.
‘You have painted them really nice. They look very real. They have depth. But look at them – obviously the light is falling from somewhere up above outside this doorway, isn’t it? These two girls look too two-dimensional when you compare them to these steps leading up the doorway. They lack depth. They lack depth because the light that is lighting up the steps has disappeared suddenly before striking these girls.
‘Usually its an easy task to have one source of light and then create contrasts in your subjects. That gives depth to everything on the canvas automatically – just the way it is doing here to the steps. It’s rather difficult to paint something where there are many sources of light. It’s difficult because then you cannot easily have one side of the face dark and the other glowing. You need to be pretty good to be able to make something look beautiful even without this contrasting trick. So may be you would like to stick to doing what you have done with the stairs. Add contrast to these ladies’.
She was pleased. She was happy that I actually cared to give such a useful input. Soon I left.
I finally carried off Misre’s bag to his grandma’s place. The bag had been lying here in my room ever since I came back from Chennai. I was greeted with Rajo Sankranti special petha. Misre’s granma’s house is ever ready with Oriya cuisines and they seem to like me a lot. They never forget that I am an artist. Everyone in that house likes artists a lot. They are all grown up and old people. I wonder how their opinion would change if someone made them see Shitoons. Misre’s aunt paints and all that. It was she who showed me her latest painting. And I, on my part, well blabbered. 😛 She bought all I said anyway.
Roald Dahl. 762 pages. 48 short stories. Two weeks. It’s over finally. I think the second half of the omnibus was not half as good as the first half minus the war stories. The book that I picked up today from Oxford where I spent hours sipping coffee (alone – tsk, tsk) is a non-fiction called Indian Identity by an old man Sudhir Kakar. This guy was a Mechanical Engineer who then spent five years studying economics till he finally realized that he was created to study and teach psychology – that is what he does these days. I liked the first 22 pages of his personal introduction and I liked the theme of the book – psychoanalysis of Indians and their habits. So I might as well like reading it all. A three day extended weekend comes to an end (yes today was a holiday here in Orissa) and I think I am all set for the week to follow.
Before I end. Happy Rajo Sankranti too all those who celebrate it. A few rain-drops flirted yesterday. But no real monsoon downpour so far. I think someone keeps forgetting that the feet should not be made to touch the ground until tomorrow. 😛