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Indian Art, Craft and Photography
Call of the Hills - Paintings and Sketches from Himachal and Uttarakhand


Call of the Hills - Paintings and Sketches from Himachal and Uttarakhand

Subsequent to the first show of the series “Call of the Hills” in 2012, which featured paintings and sketches from Western Ghats, we decided to go north and start the process of exploring the Himalayan region.

While I have been going into the regions of Himachal and Uttarakhand for several years now, this time the focus was to do extensive photography, sketching and painting. The idea was to capture the essence of what the life in the hills is all about and what is it that makes it so charming despite all the hardships and vagaries of nature. The challenge was to create a visual montage consisting of photographs, paintings and sketches which would enable us to relive the experience, breathe the fresh crisp air all over again and connect with the simple, god fearing and hardy hill folks who are yet to get corrupted by the urban life and rat race. Soak in the sun, feel the grass beneath and walk miles to get ready for a hearty meal and a drink at sundown. Get up early as the sun rises in absolute still surroundings, sip endless cups of chai till you are ready to go out another day exploring new horizons.

While the photographs I shot will be presented at a later date, the paintings and sketches created by Chitra Vaidya have been presented in January 2015 at two exhibitions at Pune and Mumbai. Two aspects about this collection of paintings and sketches need special mention - Chitra has used several mediums to create this collection - oil on canvas, watercolour on paper, pen & ink on paper and charcoal on paper. Similarly the subjects of the paintings and sketches are varied and include hills, landscapes, forests, temples, churches, people in the hills, heritage structures and of course her favourite - flowers.

These paintings are a result of extensive travels in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Artist Chitra Vaidya who has been working with me on this series has done a commendable job in painting the breathtaking views from the Himalayan region apart from the people, culture and heritage of that region. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of shooting in this region and discussing various compositions with Chitra for her paintings and sketches.

While Chitra is an accomplished watercolour painter and has a large base of art collectors who have her paintings and sketches in their collection, she springs a pleasant surprise this time with several canvases painted in oil colours. They bring out vividly the richness of colours from Himalayas, the sheer expanse of the landscapes there and the unspoilt nature which beckons you all the time.

No wonder the Gods chose Himalayas to be their abode. It is the serenity which makes this region so sacred for all of us and Chitra has managed to capture and convey all of this through her paintings.