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Indian landscapes in Chinese-style brushwork

Artist Nandita Bhattacharya uses Chinese rice paper, watercolours and Chinese brush strokes to paint Indian landscapes.

art and culture Updated: Apr 08, 2018 16:01 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Chinese painting,Landscapes,India Habitat Centre
A Chinese watercolour painting by artist Nandita Bhattacharya.

Water bodies, trees, boats, flowers, and other elements of Indian landscapes are set to acquire a new meaning in an exhibition Emotions In Colour, which will showcase watercolour paintings by artist Nandita Bhattacharya. And her canvas for these artworks? Chinese rice paper using Chinese watercolours, and Chinese-style brushwork.

“Chinese painting is stroke-based. If I want to paint a coconut tree, I will require a different kind of brush stroke than the stroke required to paint a rose flower. Also, since I use thin Chinese watercolour to paint, I have to paint every petal in a single stroke,” says Bhattacharya, whose 12” by 24” works will be exhibited along with artworks by Kolkata-based artists Ananda Gopal Roy and Swati Roy.

One of the artworks by Nandita Bhattacharya, which will be displayed at the exhibition in Delhi.

Bhattacharya, who uses this technique of art to explore the various moods of Indian rural landscapes at different times of the day and in different seasons, learnt this style at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore. “Chinese painters constantly update themselves. My teachers still visit China to learn new painting techniques, and I visit them to update myself. If I have to paint an Indian Mogra flower, I try to create it using my own style, and then get it approved by my teacher,” she says.

The beauty of Chinese-style paintings is attained after overcoming challenges, which include gaining expertise in painting on rice paper. “Rice paper is very thin and delicate. It has a tendency to tear up easily. Also, Chinese painting is freestyle. So, I don’t do a sketch. I paint directly. And even if I try to draw it first with a pen or a pencil, it will be impossible to hide those lines with colours, because the thin Chinese watercolours will make the pencil lines more prominent,” adds Bhattacharya.

Wonder how the colours merge beautifully on the rice paper vis a vis canvas? “The Chinese watercolours are minerals extracted from the mountains in China. They are tiny pieces of rocks that are scrubbed with water to produce colours used to paint.”

CATCH IT LIVE
  • What: Emotions In Colour
  • Where: Open Palm Court, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road
  • When: April 11 to 14
  • Timing: 10am to 8pm
  • Nearest Metro Station: Jor Bagh on Yellow Line

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First Published: Apr 08, 2018 16:00 IST