Sketches with knives

Sketches with knives

Unique hobbies

Sketches with knives

A maxillofacial surgeon by profession, Vybhavi B Prasad paints beautiful landscapes and crafts as a hobby. She says that art fulfills her spiritual senses while being a doctor satisfies her intellectual needs. And without both of them working in harmony, she feels like she is blind in one eye.

She enjoys various styles of painting. When she was young, her art teacher taught her how to paint with a knife. She also brought special knives from USA for Vybhavi, as they weren’t available here so that she could sharpen her art skills. Apart from knife painting, Vybhavi is also adept at 3D oil painting, a technique where more paint is used on the canvas to increase the texture and elevation.

“People ask me why I’m not an artist by profession and I always say the same thing — if I don’t have both, art and medicine, in my life I stagnate,” she explains. Vybhavi began painting when she was 5 years old, and though she took a hiatus in between, she never lost her love for colourful brush strokes.

It was her mother who spotted her daughter’s flair for the arts. “When she noticed this, she encouraged me to get some training. My family and friends have been very supportive throughout,” says Vybhavi. And since she also had a wild and roaring imagination, it only made everything simpler. But she had to discontinue her art classes for a few years. “I changed schools in between, when I was 10, and until I was 12, I couldn’t attend classes. But that didn’t stop me from painting at home.”

Even when she started college and had a hectic schedule, she found time to paint. “It’s a stress buster for me,” she says. All her vacations were spent learning the nuances of brush strokes and colouring shades. She started with a Rajasthani style of painting and moved on to oil paintings, acrylic paintings, Tanjore murals, charcoal sketches, knife paintings, reverse oil paintings and more. And she used mediums like canvas, clay, paper and glass.

Whenever she wants to take a break from the fine arts, she switches to crafting by sewing soft toys, designing jewellery and more. A talented person, she also considers dancing and singing as her hobbies but nothing beats art. “I can do justice to it,” she says.

While she tries her hand at everything and looks forward to learning new techniques all the time, she has her favourite — oil on canvas. “Oil paints are very fluid and give me more room to make a painting more realistic. Acrylic is my second favourite. But it also depends on my mood; sometimes I enjoy sketching more.” Explaining her drawing style, she says, “Irrespective of the technique I use, I like to keep things simple; I don’t like abstract paintings. I believe art is meant to give you pleasure and not confuse you, which is why I pick uncomplicated themes like nature, sunsets and things we see in our daily lives.”

There aren’t many in the city who practice knife paintings but Vybhavi gives it a try. “Knife painting is similar to oil on canvas but you use a lot more paint to give it a texture. There are special knives just for this. If I’m drawing a horse, I’ll need a longer blade, while something like a flower requires a shorter blade. With these knives, I can give the painting different edges,” she explains. Reverse oil painting and coffee painting aren’t her forte but she doesn’t keep away from anything. Texturing her art works is a signature style of Vybhavi’s; even her oil paintings have extra paint dabbed on them to give them a 3-dimensional effect. “I consciously do this to give a painting an elevation.” Ask her if she is inspired by anyone and she’ll, without hesitation, say ‘no’. “I’m not someone who has studied art or art history. But I do like the painters of the Victorian age.” A closer look at her paintings, however, gives you a more Impressionist feeling.

(Vybhavi B Prasad can be contacted on