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Creativity during Covid Lockdown

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This coronavirus pandemic has gotten all of us stumped. Suddenly the entire world is turned topsy-turvy and everybody is under great stress. The major concern, of course, is catching the disease. Many have lost their jobs, economic worries are mounting and airlines have all been grounded, so you can’t even get a flight to go visit your friends.  And we have been issued lock – down and stay-at-home- except- for essentials – services orders. This is a gigantic public health crisis. On top of that comes the nationwide protests in the wake of the Minneapolis tragedy with curfew orders for many cities after 7 pm; the frustration level seems to be getting worse. “I am saddened but also very anxious and uptight.  What do you do to relax? How do you fill up all the time you have,” asked one of my friends. 

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But for my friend, Dr. V. Balakrishnan, a retired Pulmonary Specialist from Inverness, FL, none of these pose any problems. He takes everything in stride. “Yes, I have plenty of time on hand, but there is so much to do, my time is fully occupied,” he said to me smilingly. And what does he do for relaxation?  Oil painting!  Dr. Bala is an ‘Artist Extraordinaire’ – his forte is oil painting on canvas. Some of his works are truly stunning. While in practice all his patients used to praise him for his medical expertise, courteous bedside manners and caring approach. But not many knew this totally unassuming physician who shuns publicity is also a good artist. After his retirement, he has taken up this craft as his full time hobby, going at it with a passion. “Now,” he says, “it has come handy, since I am stuck at home all the time.”

A few weeks ago, I visited his house to see his recent creations. I was astounded by the number of beautiful paintings he has done.  

“These are truly of professional quality, so realistic; any art gallery would be interested to exhibit them,” I said, looking at some of the landscapes, especially the beach scenes and waterfalls from locations in India.   

“Oh, I am still learning,” he said humbly, reluctant to accept any praise for his great work, as always. 

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“Who did you train under? And for how long?” I asked with true admiration.

 “Well, I have been interested in drawing from my school days, initially started with pencil sketches doing faces and figures first, then focused on landscapes. Also did some carpentry and sculpting too in my spare time. Later I started doing oil paintings, mostly self-taught, from ‘youtube’ videos and experimenting with oils myself. I have been interested in photography all my life and some of the work comes from the stunning scenery I photographed. As a matter of fact, I haven’t taken any lessons from anybody, although I enrolled in a course once which I didn’t bother to attend. My father used to warn me that I should have a profession for livelihood, as art may not feed me and my future family, so I decided to become a doctor first!” he said with a broad smile.

“You seem to be passionately in love with landscapes, as reflected in the majority of your paintings,” I said.

“Well, I do have a passion for nature and brilliant colors. I love the beaches, particularly at sunset time and the bushy inlands with thick, verdant rows of trees that come alive with sunlight and fall colors. Color is so important in painting, in my opinion. Human mind is always enchanted by bright colors of reddish hues. I may spend hours to do blue skies, white clouds and brown sand, yet the paintings with red, orange or pink, the magical colors of sunsets, seem to attract the attention of others. When I see those high waves coming and lashing at the rocks with the sunset colors illuminating the advancing or receding waters, I feel like I am in heaven! I feel a great creative urge to unload the picture on my mind’s canvas and would sit and paint for 2 to 3 hours continuously until most of it is done to my satisfaction; then comes the final touch up, probably on another day. There is nothing more mesmerizing, peaceful and relaxing.” 

Here are some of his paintings for your enjoyment. I think we should all try our hands on this beautiful art form – it’s creative and relaxing at the same time. And if you produce a good one you can exhibit it in the local art gallery or even sell it and make some money.

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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