In my quest to understand what artists think about art I had the pleasure to meet Sachin Naik, a master watercolorist. He has been painting and practicing with watercolors for more than fifteen years. He lives in Pune and mostly paints on location these days.
Last week I went to Pune to cover an Art competition, Canvas 2016 where I met Sachin. We both sat down with a cup of tea and I fired my first question.
Why watercolors? Why landscapes in particular?
“It came to me naturally I guess. My childhood attributed my interest in landscapes. While studying Applied Arts at college I used to go out and paint. At times I’d wake up 5 AM in the morning and just leave the house with a brush and canvas in hand. I feel extremely happy when I paint landscapes”.
Any particular place you like the most where you go to paint?
“I’ve been to a lot of places – cities, villages and mountains. If I were to pick my favorite it’d be remote villages, specially the ones that has lots of stones and green vegetation. My city, Pune itself is enriched with old homes. During my childhood I looked at all the brickwork in different houses. There is a good chance my imagination comes from there”.
How did you get into art?
“I used to be a graphic designer mostly for printing purposes. These days you people have computers – back then we use to do designing by hand and it was exhilarating. After working as a designer for 8-10 years one fine day I closed down my studio and decided to become a full time watercolor artist”.
That must have been a big decision? (Trying my best not to interrupt his thought flow)
“Oh yes, it sure was a big decision. I just went with my gut feeling. Even though I had little to no money I was happy I chose to do something that I love. There is one philosophy that I follow – you cannot be a true artist if you keep running after money. Your mind is more stable and it produces better art when you stop thinking about money”.
“I strongly believe that if your work is good, it’s only the matter of time when people start following you. Do whatever but do it wholeheartedly” he added.
Do you have a favourite painting of your own?
(After a short pause)
“Yes I sure do. That painting was awarded first prize in the UK back in 2008. It is called “Grass House”. Whenever I take it down from my website people ask me to put it back up. They quite like that painting and so do I”.
How does your paintings change with time, if at all?
“Absolutely. You grow up with time. Visualisation and surroundings change and so does the thought process. Your painting is what you think. With time, use of colors changes, composition changes. Ten years ago my painting were different, now they are well.. more simplified”.
(This next question I really wanted to ask him and now was the right time. So I did.)
What is art according to you, Sachin?
(He took a deep breath)
“As an artist art is everything for me. It not only is the way of living it teaches me how to live. I will go so far to say that art is a part of meditation. It has the power to increase your concentration to another level”.
“You know Anupam, how a devotee worships God? He spends countless hours into it. Sitting constantly thinking about one thing only. Art is no different to me”.
“If I were to put it simply, according to me art is Peace, Satisfaction and Happiness. Not just my happiness. The happiness of the viewers who look at my paintings. Nothing makes me more happy than to see the person who is looking at my painting smile”.
“Art is so beautiful that you can create a negative scenario into a positive one. For example, consider someone throwing garbage in the street – I capture that picture in my mind and put it on canvas. If people look at that painting and smile, what more can I ask for”?
“Art has enormous potential to convert negativity into positivity”.
(This was getting overwhelming for me. He explained things in such details. I was really impressed to say the least. One last question though).
Is there something we should look forward to with regards to your artwork. Anything that you will be working on for the next few months?
“I wrote this book called “Watercolors Simplified” six years ago and published it myself. Right now I am working on its new edition which should be out soon. I will also be publishing more books in the coming years but this time I will get publishers on board rather than publishing it by myself”.
(we shared a laugh)
As we were about to wrap up I asked him if I could take his photo? He did not hesitate and soon we found a perfect spot.
Beside painting full time Sachin takes a bunch of students every Sunday to different places and teaches them art Gurukul style. He has been doing this for over a decade.
According to him passing on whatever he has learnt over the years to younger generation is extremely important.
I hope to meet him again soon and share more thoughts over a cup of tea.
You can find Sachin’s artwork at Artsmelange: http://www.artsmelange.com/artists/sachin-naik
Sachin’s website: http://www.sachinnaik.com/