For Dr Sreekar Balasundaram, a cardiothoracic surgeon, art is a form of relaxation. With more than 350 paintings under this belt, he has displayed his work in six public art exhibitions.
Sreekar also holds a diploma in fine arts. He notes that he kept his interest in arts alive, over the years amidst his busy doctor schedule.
He has based 150 of his 350 paintings on Lord Ganesha. “I started painting portraits of Lord Ganesha during my post graduation days in Belgaum. The celebrations and the overall environment there was my inspiration,” he says.
Sreekar’s paintings depict Lord Ganesha in many creative ways. Ganesha Chaturthi celebration in North Karnataka spark ideas for him.
He notes that a painting can take 15 minutes to two weeks to complete. “It all depends on what I am painting and how my interest is in that subject,” he adds.
Talking about his colour preferences, he says that he likes to use earthy colours like shades of red, yellow and brown. Sreekar also shares that he is comfortable working with oil, acrylic and watercolours.
The one thing the doctor doesn’t like painting is landscapes.
According to him, capturing landscapes is the work of a photographer. He feels that a painter should not work to make his painting look like a photograph and vice versa. “Take each of them for what they are,” he adds. The self-taught artist also has big plans after his retirement. He intends to mimic one of artist Ravi Varma’s oil paintings.
Also a poet, Sreekar reveals that he visualises his poems through painting.
“I write Kannada poems based on my life experiences. So, whenever I write a poem, I paint a picture to go along with it.”
Talking about the feedback from his family and friends, he says, “Though they knew that I was interested in arts, they were surprised to see me have my own public art exhibitions, given my demanding profession.” Sreekar had a story to share about not publishing his works online.
“I saw my paintings being sold on another website. Since I don’t even know how safe the watermarks are, I never took the chance of posting my works online,” he says.
The doctor also feels the younger generation’s declining interest in arts. “Nothing excites the children anymore because of lack of focus and the kind of distractions they are subjected to,” he notes.
He signs off by adding that kids should take interest and live in the moment rather than being hooked on to phones all the time.