Metrolife: Cocktail on canvas

Shantha uses a variety of techniques, like decoupage and clay work, on canvas.

Shantha Prabhu is learning how to walk the tightrope between motherhood and passion. The new mother is juggling her baby boy’s sleep patterns with her artistic pursuits and loving every minute of it too.

“I have no background in art, except for going for drawing classes in childhood, that too at my mother’s insistence. I did engineering after that and worked for two years in the IT industry before deciding to quit my job and take up arts as a profession,” she says.

Her first love is painting and she is proficient in all mediums like oil, acrylic, watercolour, colour pencils and more. However, she has also managed to bring her crafting skills to the canvas by mixing and matching different techniques.

“Many of my paintings have textured backgrounds, like a decoupaged one for example. One of my recent works had a textured portion along with 3D clay work as well as some glass painting.”

She has also forayed into the field of Tanjore paintings and is gaining appreciation for the same. “It is nothing but gold leaf decoupage. You emboss the entire design and then you decoupage gold leaf on to it. The actual technique of gold leaf decoupage is known as gilding all over the world, but it is actually the Tanjore and Mysore style of paintings that we have here.”

Shantha has also dabbled with coffee paintings, after stumbling across a coffee artist’s Facebook page by accident. “I started following the art form and tried it on my own. I have used different glues and mediums with coffee on canvas. I even tried using the decoction paint to give a watercolour effect.”

Her preference veers towards the traditional and she enjoys working on intricate patterns with an Indian flavour. Among her favourite works is a painting of the ‘Ashtalakshmi’ on glass and a Tanjore Krishna, which is also the profile picture of her Facebook page. 

Coming back to the technique of mixing mediums on canvas, Shantha says it is a trial and error method.

“You don’t know what goes well with what. It is not just about the colour palette, it is more about whether you can impose one medium on the other. It has to adhere to the base and the overall pattern. You work layer by layer; if it doesn’t work out, you have to start again from scratch.”

That hasn’t prevented the artist from experimenting though. “It is important to have fun and enjoy yourself. One shouldn’t be scared to experiment, art is just about expressing whatever is there in your mind,” she points out.

She is a Fevicryl specialist at present and works with Pidilite as a design consultant and a content expert. She has also been a part of design teams of Itsy Bitsy and conducts workshops frequently. She credits her mother with providing her with the initial impetus for taking to the arts while her husband has been a pillar of support after marriage.

She is now looking forward to organising her debut exhibition soon. 

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Metrolife: Cocktail on canvas

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