Scientists tell us that life on Earth was possible only because it is at an ‘optimum’ distance from the Sun. This energy — a combination of light and heat — was behind the creation and sustenance of all flora and fauna on Earth. But it did not stop there. In my personal opinion, light played the most crucial part in our scientific quest and discoveries. Optics is the foundation of human civilisation. Only by light are we able to see the natural world and its treasures. We looked up at the source of daylight, viz., the Sun, and the innumerable stars dotting the night sky. We were curious, and tried to make sense of it all and have an explanation of it — first from mythological stories, then by logic and analysis. Who are we, where did we come from, who created these celestial and terrestrial objects? And what does it all mean?
The branch of Physics which deals with the study of light and various phenomena associated with it is called Optics. In Geometrical Optics (or Ray Optics) we assume that light travels in a straight line in the form of rays. This model is useful for studying the formation of images by lenses and mirrors. On the other hand, in Physical Optics (or Wave Optics) light is assumed to be a wave. Various phenomena such as interference, diffraction and polarization, which cannot be explained by Ray Optics, are studied under Wave Optics.
If you want to be successful in any form of art, you need to practise it regularly in order to hone up your skill. Otherwise, any gap in your practice would slide you back and erase whatever little progress you had made. This way you would find yourself forever beginning from scratch and never making any considerable progress. But easier said than done. If you are an artist, you would know that making a piece of art is easy when you are in mood or it is your hobby, but it loses its charm when you have to perform on demand. And here the demand is ‘regular practice’. Sometimes you do have the will and discipline to get up and sit at your working table, but have no idea where to start — what to draw and how to start with it. Note that here the first stroke is the most difficult step, for once you have overcome that hurdle, then the art would by itself pull you into it. Thereafter it becomes easy. But the first step — the artist’s block as it is called — is the most difficult phase. If you ask me, personally I do not consider it to be any issue. While sketching, I start drawing whatever object is lying in front of me.Continue reading
My mentor Prof. Amitabh Sengupta used to say, “Fine Arts is 60% observation and 40% skill. Or I’d rather go so far as to say that it is 80% observation and 20% skill”. He encouraged me to move away from the type of portraits that I had been making till then, and instead invest my skills into practising realism. At first it was difficult for me to break old habits. But the lockdown period last year offered me an opportunity to take a closer look at the objects around me, particularly those scattered around in my house. This sketch of the bathroom shower knob was the first drawing in realism that I made during lockdown last year.
Once I sent my drawings to a friend; she liked them and from then on she started asking regularly whether I have made any new art work or not. On the other hand, I am not able to produce artworks on a regular basis, however hard I try. So the next time this girl asked me for any new painting, I didn’t have anything to show. I was also afraid that she would start giving me sermons on the need of a more disciplined life and to be regular in art — all that stuff which I had heard several times from her and others. So in order to escape from rebuke, I searched my hard disk and sent the photograph of a very old painting which I had made long back. She replied, “Wow this is very nice work! I should say your painting skills have improved a lot! Great work!“ This was the first instance of fake appreciation for me. She was trying to tell me that I had made great progress in art but her facts were incorrect. I immediately understood that she was simply passing superficial comments and perfunctory appreciation.Continue reading
Once question keeps popping up in my mind every now and then. Let me put it in this way. Everyone of us is educated, enters into some profession and earns a living. The rest of life is spent working hard, earning money which soon transforms into accumulating wealth, and then it all ends when we are old or retired, or both. Whenever someone asks why we undertake so much hardship, our quick answer is — financial security, our family responsibility, and above all, happiness. In a way, all reasons are related to each other and imply the same thing — happiness. My question is, instead of working so hard on something which we do not enjoy in order to earn a living so that we could be happy, why not start with happiness itself, i.e., do things that we enjoy and turn it into profession? That way life indeed would become fun and work would no longer be a labour. In fact, most of the time when we say we are tired, we actually mean that we are bored.Continue reading
It is amusing to note that human being who has created such marvels of culture and civilization has also invented several ways to destroy those very marvels. Mostly the human mind, which is credited for our accomplishments, is also blamed for the miseries faced by humanity. In all such debates and discussions, one factor that is often ignored is that mind itself is not the whole being; instead it is just a part of our overall identity. It has its importance, but has its limits also. Hence it should not encroach upon the territory which is not its domain — the fields of love, harmony and beauty. But still we love to think. We choose to think about beauty instead of looking at it, prefer to talk about it instead of understanding and appreciating it.Continue reading
Our occupations may not allow us to be regular in practice of art, mainly because a lot of time is wasted in avoidable activities. For example, you work in an office and travel to work by metro or local train, and it is not possible for you to take all your art equipment with you, or may be your business allows you tiny fractions of time which are not sufficient to arrange your equipment and do reasonable amount of work. Continue reading