The ghats coupled with the ruins, temples and mosques are Varanasi’s most abiding leitmotifs, and the colourful picture it makes, enthrals hundreds of visitors. But a certain bunch is busy sketching and painting these sights in their notebooks. That’s an outdoor water colour painting workshop in progress led by illustrator and water colourist Milind Mulick.
The Pune-based artist, who seems to enjoy travelling and capturing various sights on paper, had organised an exhibition titled ‘Europhia’—painted during and after his recent trip to Europe—in the city recently.
It’s safe to concede that Milind inherited the artistic genes from his father Pratap Mulick, the latter being a noted illustrator and painter. His father who used to teach at an art school was his first teacher and so their approach to this medium is fairly similar, though the choice of subject differs.
Milind chose a roundabout way of taking up the art. “I did pretty well in school and I could have given the arts a miss because of the peer pressure and took up engineering instead. I reckoned I did not have
to study in an art school as my home had been turned into one with my dad’s colleagues dropping in often,”recalls the 54-year-old artist.
After completing engineering, Milind tried to get into product designing but that did not happen and for the next 15 years or so, he worked for an architectural firm doing illustrations and pursuing water colour painting simultaneously. He switched on to the latter full time afterwards.Milind’s one-man shows held in Pune, Mumbai and even abroad—Sweden, France and Singapore—testify to his remarkable growth and fame as a water colourist. “My first one-man show held in Pune in 1995 was not a commercial success. But it was the year I became a full-time artist,” recalls Milind, who now conducts art courses at the ART2day gallery in Pune.
Of the many students he trains, 70 per cent are hobby painters. “Some of them work in visual arts, visual communication, and animation, etc, probably gathering skills, which will help in their profession,” he says.The subject matter for his paintings are everything that he sets his eyes on, there is no element of fantasy. “Natural impressions are to my liking, though now I have dabbled in a lot of abstract expression. But both styles convey a realistic impression,” says Milind.
Painting with water colours is not an easy art, as one can’t rectify a mistake. “But once you have grasped the grammar of a technique, working becomes easier.” A late riser, Milind has had his share of artist’s block. “There are times when I don’t feel like painting or it does not turn out good,” says Milind, who has 11 books dedicated to watercolour paintings, different aspects of art and a few that contain his little wonderings and thoughts, to his credit.In January, he had released a book titled Varanasi: An Artist’s Impression, a travel diary containing 60 watercolour sketches.