Sunday, August 13, 2006

Portait of the Statue

It is difficult to paint a portrait of the Statue of Liberty because Liberty is nearly expressionless. Try painting a portrait without the quirks of a human face. Sigh.

These days I paint a little. I do esoteric paintings now, of drums, guitars, people in action, and colors. But when I was little, like 13 years old, I mainly painted portraits. Of people who were far away, but seemed to be in the psyche of everyone around me, thanks to the Time magazine that frequently made its way to my town. About 14 years after I left my high school (KV, IIT, Kharagpur), I went back there for a nostalgic stroll and happened to see some of my watercolors on display, jaded, distant, devoid in my mind of the drama when I had executed them. The way I like to tell the story, I remember when I stopped doing portraits. I saw a New Yorker depiction of stylized figures laid out in a haphazard way on the great lawn of the Central Park, figures heading off wherever, the tilt of their heads as couples listened to each other, loners intently focused away from others, all going somewhere. It was the evening, and hinted at the complexity of people's lives, taken in its entirety, and I lost my fascination with obsessing over eyebrows.