Practice, perspective, positivity–creative highlights from the ‘Waves of Colours’ exhibition by Vasantha Arts
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 640 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
In this photo essay, we capture some of the pictorial highlights and artistic insights. See also our coverage of the earlier exhibitions Chitra Santhe, Moghi’s Tales, Team Yuva Collective, Aadipaaya, and Print India Biennale.
“Art can be anything, really. To try to define it would be restricting and limiting,” explains Bengaluru-based artist Reet Baheti, in a chat with YourStory.
“To me, art is therapy. It's a form of self-expression–a language without words. Art is not only your worldview or what you create, but a way of life,” she adds.
She began recreating famous works and photographs before developing her own style. “I would describe it as emotional, realistic, and thought-provoking,” Reet says. Her works are influenced by colour theory and anatomical studies.
“Whenever a new concept strikes me, I immediately record it. I then try to sketch it out in various ways, experimenting in my sketchbook,” she describes. She also draws inspiration from Pinterest before bringing the idea to life on canvas.
Her work later gravitated towards the theme of healing, self-love, and mental health awareness. She defines success also in terms of being able to heal the soul of others.
“I want to convey the message of hope and the beauty of life. My passion is to help others who are struggling mentally to explore themselves and find freedom in expressing who they are,” Reet describes.
“I personally don't think failures exist in the world of art but yes, sometimes the artwork doesn't come out the way we imagine it would, and that can be disheartening,” she observes.
“The only way to learn and move forward is by practicing, and evolving your own perspective and style,” she adds.
Reet has taken on a 500-day portrait challenge. “I sketch a portrait each day in under an hour, to improve my portrait-sketching skills over a period of 500 days,” she says.
She is currently on Day 60 of the challenge. “I can definitely see some improvement, and would like to encourage other artists to take up something similar. It’s really helpful and insightful,” she affirms.
Reet has been an artist for five years. “I have lost count of how many pieces I have created,” she says. She has been mentored by two teachers, in addition to being self-taught.
“I usually spend about 40-50 hours on each piece, since I’m a very detail-oriented person and pour all my emotions into my artworks,” she enthuses. “Since I’m only 14 years old, I haven't had much exposure publicly, but I aspire to do so in the future,” she says.
Last year, she started an acrylic portrait painting series, titled Hope, Light and Love at the End of the Tunnel. “It is based on the concept of healing from trauma. I’m also working on another oil painting depicting nature and I try to capture its healing energy,” Reet adds.
Her works are priced at around Rs 8,000. “My experience at the exhibition was absolutely fantastic. It gave me a fresh perspective and was really inspiring! I had a lot of fun meeting and talking to other art enthusiasts,” she recalls.
“The feedback from the amazing visitors was truly fulfilling. I have got a ton of new ideas from talking to them, and can't wait to get those ideas to life,” Reet adds.
The pandemic impacted artists in various ways. “The pandemic actually had a really positive impact on my artworks. Prior to it, I focused too much on the technical aspects. But ever since the pandemic hit, I was forced to face my feelings,” she recalls.
“Creating art naturally became my outlet and coping mechanism. Art really helped me express my thoughts very freely. I much prefer creating art instead of talking to others, because a canvas doesn't judge,” Reet explains.
She advises audiences to keep an open mind while approaching and viewing artworks. “Some might appeal to you, others won’t – and that’s completely fine! Beauty is subjective and everyone has a different perspective,” she observes.
“A lot of people sometimes get intimidated while viewing art, especially abstract art. They are afraid that they won’t understand the ‘true meaning’ of the piece – when in reality the interpretation depends wholly on the viewers and their feelings,” Reet says.
She also offers tips for aspiring artists. “Just have fun with it! Practice daily and always keep experimenting. There's no ‘right way’ or ‘cheating’ or ‘failure’. Art is art,” she explains.
Artists should make sure that the art they create is true to them and expresses themselves. “Good art is something that clearly expresses what the artist is thinking. Art is quite fun, especially for those who are honest with themselves,” Reet signs off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to apply your creativity?
Smita Sachin Pawar
(All exhibition photographs were taken by Madanmohan Rao on location at the exhibition.)