Tuesday, June 06, 2006

An Ex-Coward's Art

Here are two of my paintings.

I never painted till late into my life. It all changed thanks to a chance encounter.

I owe it to one Theobaldo Bertello, an Italian working for a German company, who I met on business. Being his host in Mysore, I took him to the nearby forest reserves Bandipur on a holiday. I was discussing art with him and he asked me if I painted. I said no. He asked me why? I gave him some vague answers. He poked me in the chest near the heart with his index finger and told me "You are a coward, that is why you do not paint. You are afraid of what people say if it is not good. Who cares man, if you want to paint you paint. To hell with what the world thinks about it!"

That led to my seriously trying to paint.

My wife, who bought me different kinds of art materials to experiment with and even presented me with an easel, supported me in my pursuit. Left alone, I would never have bought one. It made a huge difference to my paintings.

I still love it when people say that one of my paintings is good. While painting, I still think of what a viewer might say. It no longer matters though. But, if there are errors, if my skill is not good enough, so be it. It is MY painting. The act of painting leaves me exhausted, but exhilarated. Everything else is a bonus. I even enjoy cleaning the brushes after painting. (I read detailed instructions about how to do that even before I met Theobaldo. It remained with me and came in handy when I did start painting)

I am writing this to thank Theobaldo and in his honour and with the fervent hope that his message reaches many more 'cowards' and makes them do what they have always wanted to do but never worked up the courage to do it.
I was about to post this when it occurred to me that a certain other Theo helped a painter to pursue his calling and the rest, as they say, is history!!!!


  1. Simply beautiful! And to think that you started late!
    Hmmm, whenever I look at one of Monet's water lillies, I wish I had painted them. Perhaps I should just pick up a brush and paint and try! Thanks!

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  3. Great !!!
    Looking forward to more paintings from you.

  4. Great !!!
    Looking forward to more paintings.

  5. Anonymous9:10 pm

    Just a comment about "dark and handsome" in Mills & Boons books. I hate to bust the bubble but in the west, "dark and handsome" is a glorification of a white person with black hair and dark eyes!!.

  6. Hey Anil, no matter what other 'Cowards' say, the two paintings you put up are too good. May you paint many more like these while i go and try not being a 'coward' :-)

  7. Lovely post, Anil! Inspiring for all 'cowards' out there... and there are many! And it's SO easy to stop being one, simply by picking up a pencil/brush and start scribbling! The problem is with the so-called ego and its so-called image, and how others perceive these works of art. A child is the best inspiration in these matters: less ego = more fun, creativity and arty adventures!

    I remember reading ‘Letters to Theo’ many many years ago, much before I was into anything remotely art-related. And it was simply fascinating and inspiring in many ways! The passionate journey of an artistic genius and misfit, I think, struck a chord somewhere.

    Thanks for sharing! :o)