‘Reach into your soul and nurture things you may have forgotten’ - mountain painter Naina Maithani Kulkarni
PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In this pictorial essay, we showcase some of the art works by Naina Maithani Kulkarni at the Sublime Galleria in Bengaluru, titled ‘Mountain Musings.’
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‘Mountain Musings’ is a collection of abstract art works by Naina Maithani Kulkarni, a self-taught artist who spent her childhood in the mountains of Mussorie. Naina’s works are now displayed as part of art collections in Australia, Asia and Europe. “Mountain Musings is my childhood diary – a reflection that captured the different moods of the mighty mountains where I grew up,” she explains.
The paintings evoke images of foggy windswept ranges, and Naina has evolved her own impressionist textures and styles. Seeing the art works up close almost seems to reveal a third dimension of mountain ranges rising out of the paint, as seen in this photo essay.
“Be free. Reach into your soul and nurture things you may have forgotten,” Naina said to YourStory as advice to our readers, during the inauguration of her painting exhibition on Friday, June 2.
Many people love painting and other arts, but do not indulge in it enough. “Your day job can fill your tummy, but to fill your soul you need to do something more. Colours gave me that satisfaction. I felt there were lots of thoughts and emotions stored inside and by the means of painting I was able to release them,” explained Naina.
She cites Mark Rothko, SH Raza, and Ram Kumar as her favourite painters. After her wedding, her husband’s job took them to Hoi An, Vietnam, where she met her mentor, the abstract artist Tran Viet Son. “I could sense I found my Buddha when I saw him for the first time. Instantly, I asked him to teach me how to paint and in return he gave me his colours and canvas and the freedom to listen to my heart,” she recalls.
“The advice I would like to give aspiring artists is what I got from my guru and what my soul gave to me. When you paint you have to leave this world and go to your core. Pay attention to what your soul says and just paint freely without being afraid of the result,” advises Naina.
Becoming an artist has its own challenges, of course. “The challenge I feel here is that we give up too soon when we don’t get recognition. We must not forget our first lesson: that is, to paint. Just paint and remember it will take time to discover ourselves and then others will connect to us,” explains Naina.
She started off with thick brushes and acrylic paints, and then used knives and rubber rollers. “The lesson I am learning as an artist is how to find a way where I can satisfy my hunger for my subject and at the same time take care of the buyer’s needs. Sometimes both are very different,” she says.
“My artistic journey is just like our lives, it was unpredictable. But now, once released, it is my calling. I don’t think anything will stop me. Ten to fifteen years from now, you will still find me painting and listening to my soul and touching your soul through my works. May be this time around you will have to come and visit me in my small studio up in the mountains,” jokes Naina.
Today, technology such as the internet and social media are benefiting artists. “Connecting people with art is the only way we would be able to balance our mind and soul today,” says Naina. After six years of working with acrylic, she feels she needs to come out of her comfort zone and feel oil paints, as well as conduct workshops and do a small show in her hometown.
“Let’s connect our souls to the Mother Earth and feel the divinity. Feel the freedom and dream,” Naina signs off. Now what are your memories of your connection to nature, and how are you capturing them for posterity and creativity?
Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!