When we think of paintings, our mind wanders to the brilliant, bright tones of colours. We imagine a canvas full of reds, blues yellows, and oranges. We think of beautiful ladies dressed in stunning colours, myriad shades of blooming flowers and splatter of colours creating vivid abstract paintings. Seldom do we think of a black and white painting. However, black and white paintings have their own charm, they have a hint of drama that the colourful paintings lack, they have stillness as opposed to the vibrancy of coloured paintings. Here are a few of the best Indian artists, whose art is black, white and stunning.
Set as panoramic cityscapes, Ananda Das’ paintings carry a romance from the early 50. Drizzling rains on the streets of Kolkata, floating umbrellas and rickshaw pullers at work, this scene sets the perfect setting of the bygone times in the metro city. To enhance the romance of Kolkata, Ananda creates all his paintings in black and white. Ananda has experimented with numerous colours and mediums such as acrylics, oils watercolours, etc. However, soon colours lost their charm and Ananda found them tedious and thus began his search for a new art form. The artist stumbled upon a black and white poster of an old Bollywood movie and was spellbound by its beauty and simplicity. Like many other black and white artists, Ananda started working with charcoal and Conti, however gradually, he started using acrylic colours for paintings. Along with Kolkata, he is also fascinated by the beauty and serenity of Banaras Ghat, which is often his subject. Without the oomph of multiple vibrant colours, Ananda captures the scenic and sacred beauty of Banaras with his black and white palette, from the Ganga Arti to the bustling temples, the artist portrays each and every mood of the holy city on his canvas. He uses only a few hints of red or orange colour to add a little highlight to his paintings.
Archana’s paintings are inspired by her state of mind. With the help of colours, the artist recreates her dreams, her memories and her feelings on canvas. Instead of emphasising too much on different colours, Archana chooses the basic black and white and focuses on the different shapes and textures in her paintings. Her abstract art, speaks volumes of giving shape and a tangible form to her imagination. She experiments with acrylics and oils along with other media, which gives altering textures to her art. She usually creates different geometric shapes with her brushwork and uses the vibrant gold colour to transform the mood of her painting. Though the gold colour contrasts with Archana’s black and white paintings, it also brings together the entire painting in its own peculiar way.
The renowned cityscape artist; Somnath Bothe, is famous for his monochromatic cityscape of the holy city of Banaras and the bustling metro Mumbai. Though he plays with a variety of colours to create his monochromatic palette, his black and white cityscapes are the most widely recognised paintings. While other artists break the uniformity of their black and white paintings with bright tones of red, orange or gold, Somnath blends in light and dark shades of blues and purples. These colours add a distinct tinge of colour and bring an interesting outlook to the otherwise black and white painting. Umbrellas form a very important part of Somnath’s cityscapes. The hazy paintings would remind the onlookers of drizzling rains and wet roads. The colourful umbrellas on the tongas in Mumbai and the those on the Ghats of Banaras break the monotony of these black and white cityscapes and elevate the overall mood of these paintings.
Tamar Chatterjee grew up in a multi-cultural environment which bestowed independent and liberal thinking upon him. He mostly paints monochromatic cityscapes, which revolve around his personal experiences and his thoughts and reflections upon life. Unlike other artists, who usually focus on only one or two cities, Tamar recreates different cities on his canvas. These are the cities that the artist has visited and have made an impact on his life. Tamar’s limited colour palette doesn’t limit him from expressing his art, rather he enhances the beauty of his cityscapes with the varying tones of grey. The same black, white and grey that form the stormy skies of ‘Revala’ give a calm and quiet feel to ‘Eistria’ and ‘Seurasaari’. His paintings depict unique stories of different foreign cities.
Vinita weaves layers, colours, shapes, and textures to profess balance, harmony and integration. Her art resonates with the mental and emotional psyche that depicts the state of her mind; distracted, half-conscious, lost. She developed a passion for colours, texture, movement, and design that she drew from her surroundings, her experiences and her imagination, at a very young age. She uses prints, photographs, paints, and found items and weaves them together to portray a familiar image that can be associated with strong, new emotion.
While many people think that writing is the only creative form to use a pen, Umakant found it to be an artistic medium, a medium that can capture the intricacies and beauty of the nature. Known as the artist with magical ink, Umakant sketches his entire artwork with a fine point pen. Though his colour palette is limited to two colours; black and white, his art is not. He uses different strokes, changes the thickness of the tip of his pen and the pressure he applies to them, to give a variety of textures to his artwork. Umakant Kanade is a landscape artist, who portrays the serenity of forests and lotus ponds on his canvas. The artist sketches dots and lines in his leaves and varies the length and density of these dots and lines to give a unique texture to each leaf. The little colour in the blooming lotus flowers and flying birds break the monotony of the art.