Milind Nayak Writings


Change happens.

Suddenly the mind goes blank, and all the possibilities I was painting till yesterday seeming to come to a halt. What is the lack of something and how does an artist feels it? Niggling doubts surface. Am I capable of that change? Do I have the necessary skill to present it? Do I have the patience it requires? Suddenly, the thought of my little daughter painting when she was hardly five years old crosses my mind. Can I bring this innocence into the work? The trust and the commitment of a five year old?

When something passes through the mind, there is no time to retrospect. I believe that I have to commit myself to it fully. I take a large sheet of black paper and open my box of oil pastels. I am staring at the same set of photographs I have been working from and I realize how different things seem to change when we change our method of looking at them. It does not much time before my fingers, grope, search and find the plasticity of the pastel that is in my hand.

Pastels can be painful sometimes in use especially when they break during the course of painting with them. I am soon witnessing the change happening and all I was wishing was whether I could paint with the innocence of a child. I finish a set of five works, the sixth, I gift to a friend who was visiting me when I was doing the painting.

My next action is to take out all the black Somerset Velvet I have been sitting on and work with soft pastels. I finish seven midsized works and two very large works.  The change is happening and with what speed? People often think that change is a big process. It isn’t. It just happens. When we listen to whatever we have been going through and allow a space for that expression to come out, change happens in a big way.

Having come this far, I am now going to take this further. I now want to work on large black canvasses which so far have been resisting me. Who knows whether it is going to lead me somewhere – the journey is never a waste of time. I have nothing else to do except follow this path that is happening to me. I consider this as a blessing.

Amazing things happening, all of them together. It’s a great experience. Like a release of all emotions at one stroke. The weight of the past, the expectations and the fears, all of them dissolve. The utter joy of it! As one painting gets finished, I reach to the next sheet and the painting happens. Sometimes paintings happen with muscle memory. I jump off in fear when that happens. That is a warning to me that my awareness is not focused on the painting.

At times like this, I either take a break or change the medium I am working with. This time, I chose pastels. The sheer brightness of the medium is an eye opener. This brightness stands out extra when it is on black paper. The deep shadows define themselves with the lack of color in these parts. At many times I wonder I am painting shadowscapes?

Shadowscapes are very nice subject to be used as a title for the show.  Doesn’t seem nice.  Experiments with the color field? No, too dry? How about “ The new color”? Consequences of looking differently?

My recent euphoria is however the finishing of a set of pastels. If thinks went this way, there would be a huge collection of work for my children. Works that has given me joy, and work that has given joy to others.

Stopping halfway through a gift is only the choice of the fool .I am eyeing all the black sheets and the pastels. I also take a peek into the stockroom and discover ten more black canvasses. What started as a playful indulgence is now turning into a serious engagement with the subject. What more can I ask for in life?