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The wonders of watercolour

January 21 - 28 , 2020

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Gulf Weekly The wonders of watercolour

Artist Anil Kumar aims to help aspiring painters in the kingdom pick up the water-based medium through his book Wisdom of Watercolour.

The father-of-two, who is the art director of Paint & Palatte, Bahrain, is a renowned painter in the fields of landscape and watercolour. He studied the art forms at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and has been a mentor and coach for artists for several years, helping them achieve their fullest potential and strokes of success.

Anil, who has been an artist and teacher for more than 25 years, said: “Watercolour is a medium that can be as demanding and temperamental as those who choose to paint with it. But, it is a colourful and exciting medium all the same – well suited to describing the many moods of the subject, as well as those of the artist wielding the brush.”

Many artists around the world have chosen to paint with it because of its emotive beauty. It is no longer stigmatised as only a “sketch” medium and serious artists such as Anil are pushing the boundaries of what watercolour can be and what effects it can produce. In the hands of a Master it can thrill and captivate by showcasing energy and sheer boldness. It may appear simple in execution but it can take years to perfect and this quality often discourages artists to take up the medium.

Anil had the patience and passion to pick up the art form. He developed a unique method for emphasising the fluidity of transparent colour and uses this technique to reinforce his vision of natural rhythms.

“I was inspired to take up art in particular by my parents Ram Dayal Sharma and Phuleswari Devi,” said Anil. “And I got into it to promote self-esteem, to motivate, to raise aesthetic awareness and emotional expression as well as social harmony and appreciation of diversity. I felt I could do that through art.”

Over the years he developed as a Colour Field painter and mastered colour theory. The colours of his paintings feature an array of resplendent light and vivid colours. His themes range from abstract figures to surreal landscapes with exaggerated colour and glowing foliage.

As an abstract painter, he is deemed by other artists as an “optical illusionist whose art defies special limitations” and as “visual poetry bursting forth with relentless energetic expression”.  His practiced technique conveys a sense of immediacy and harmony and Anil feels that art is not a luxury but a necessity.

His fondness for art, in particular watercolours, encouraged him to publish his book in April 2019 which his son Kishan, a fine arts student at BHU, helped him with as well as one of his students. 

He said: “Watercolour can produce painting effects which no other medium can match. It took two years to publish this book. My son and my student helped me a lot. The book features all the techniques and disciplines used and needed introduced step by step.”

Anil’s dream for the future of Bahrain is to help bring the International Watercolour Society Festival to the kingdom. The International Watercolour Society (IWS), a non-profit organisation established in January 2012, gathers the largest and most diverse group of watercolour artists and art lovers alike. The objective of IWS is to promote the world’s oldest and most deeply rooted painting technique and it provides a platform for the continual development, learning and passing of the art of watercolour. The festival, which has been hosted in Spain, India, Turkey and soon to be in Nepal, helps raise awareness about watercolour painting by presenting to the world an array of watercolour art and artists. This event acts as interaction points for attending artists, collectors and academicians from various countries. 

Anil aims to make that dream a reality by staging a three-day workshop with Master Artist Amit Kapoor who is the president of IWS India and vice president of IWS Global.

 “I noticed in Bahrain that there aren’t many painters working with watercolours compared to other countries in which artists are constantly working with it,” Anil explained. “I decided to spread that style by curating the workshop and bringing in Amit who is a leading master of watercolour medium in India. I’d like to thank Paint & Palette owner and artist Karina Zubin for giving us her blessing to stage this initiative at the art school.”

Amit has received international honours for his paintings and any of his paintings are hanging on the walls of private and corporate collectors. He says that painting with watercolours is one of his greatest delights and he is addicted to it. He finds an ultimate bliss while painting and that it is like meditation for him as it captures the soul of the subject.

Artists wanting to start their watercolour journey with Anil do not have to wait till February 7, 8 and 9 to learn. They can join Anil every weekend on his explorations around the kingdom where he uses Bahrain as inspiration and practice to hone his skills.

Some of his paintings of Bahrain have already been published in his book. “Every weekend I go to different places in Bahrain to paint,” he said. “Some of my followers and students join me, observing what I do and get inspired to work directly with nature. I believe that nature is the real teacher for man.”

Anil’s book, priced at BD39, can be purchased from Amazon or from Paint & Palette, Bahrain.

To find out more about his book and about the class, contact him by emailing artbyanil@gmail.com

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