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Around the world with Nirupam Konwar’s watercolours

Artist Nirupam Konwar discusses ‘Travel Chronicles,’ his ongoing exhibition in Bengaluru

There is a reason pop culture often depicts artists as painting in the great outdoors. “Nothing equals capturing an original setting in natural light,” says artist Nirupam Konwar talking about his series, ‘Travel Chronicles,’ on displayat the MKF Museum of Art in Bengaluru.

Nirupam who hails from Assam, fell in love with painting and watercolours as a child when his parents enrolled him for art classes. However, his brush with the international art scene began when he submitted a couple of his canvases to a International Watercolour Society contest in 2014. “Until then, painting was a hobby for me. When I was placed fourth in this contest, I was motivated to continue working with watercolours.”

The artist who graduated from Guwahati Art College with a degree in Fine Arts, entered the gaming industry as a developer and today works a senior concept for an educational platform.

In 2017, Nirupam was invited to Italy for a demo on watercolours. Workshops and shows in Taiwan, France and Germany followed soon after. “There was a dockyard in Sperlonga, Italy, which was beautiful — it was the first time I was attempting to paint a seascape and I loved the experience of working outdoors. Right there I understood that it was something I wanted to do for life.”

According to Nirupam, the best way to capture an image is on location. “I can’t use watercolours indoors, neither can I paint from memory — I have to be on site. I capture 80% of the painting outdoors and then add smaller details later,” says the 34-year-old, who admits there have been instances when he has had to photograph the scene before the natural light waned.

“There is something magical about watercolours. It is a free flowing medium and you never know what the final output will be like. It is a challenging medium to work with because mistakes are not too easy to rectify, unlike oils and acrylic. I simply love it.”

Around the world with Nirupam Konwar’s watercolours

For Nirupam, travel holds more than spectacular landscapes that inspire a painting. “We don’t accomplish much by sitting at home. We should step out of our boundaries, our comfort zones, and see firsthand what is going on outside. My goal is to paint reality and not from memory; for that I need to be out and about.”

He began capturing the beauty of the North Eastern states of Assam, Arunachal and Meghalaya. “The hills there are beautiful and I love working amidst Nature. When I relocated to Bengaluru, Lal Bagh and Cubbon Park were some of my initial subjects. Gradually I moved on to cityscapes and the like,” says the artist who was named brand ambassador for two Russian watercolour companies in 2018.

With prices starting from ₹ 25,000, around 20 canvases from Nirupam Konwar’s series ‘Travel Chronicles’ created over the past five years, will be on display at the MKF Museum of Art in Bengaluru till January 23.

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