Shrink's Views

ramblings of an unknown psychiatrist

Evening in Woods: a painting

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on May 8, 2012

Evening in Woods

Title: Evening in Woods

Size:40 x50 cm

Medium: Acrylics on Canvas

A couple of months ago, I wanted to kind of graduate to canvas from paper. It is not that I have any great grip on painting on paper, but it was to test the novelty of what canvas could offer. Why was it that so many spend so much to buy paintings on canvas? Why are painters who paint on canvas respected so much? I must explore this stuff, I thought and then bought a 40 x 50 cm canvas board in a ‘Fancy Shop’ in Vellore.

I was afraid of venturing into oils, not only because oil paints are more costly but also because I really don’t know much about them. I bought a set of Faber Castell Acrylic colors on They were not too costly and I thought they were good to begin with.

I saw few paintings of Maxim Grunin in his  blog and wanted to try one such forest scene. I have been thinking about this for a couple of weeks. I had to postpone it due to other assignments. This composition has green bushes in background and trees in middle  and foreground. The depth is induced by making the farther subjects lighter in tone and hazy in their margins. The picture also has a point of light source somewhere behind the huge tree. The shadows all converge to that point. This brought the linear perspective adding to greater depth creation.

Acrylics weren’t as opaque as I thought they would be. It might be because the colors was student grade and were very watery and not creamy. It was difficult to correct mistakes done in dark colors by painting over them. I had to deal with these as I normally would in water colors i.e change the composition a bit to accommodate the error by breaking it up or incorporating its margins into some larger subject. At the same time, I was encouraged in a different way. I could use the transparency of the medium to my advantage. Next time around, I would use these acrylic paints  in traditional watercolor style by painting lights first and then coming to the dark tones. Finally I must say I enjoyed painting really fast to prevent the fast drying colors on the palette from getting wasted. Hope you liked this painting and would start painting yourself 🙂


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Wild flowers and Grass: paintings

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on March 2, 2012

Trasnsparent water colors are beautiful. They are well respected in art circles. Postercolors in India or gouache in countries abroad are opaque colors. They are water based but at the same time there is some possibility for correction and laying colours in layers over previously dried washes. The following are two paintings that I painted recently using this medium. The subjects are simple and are not done in detail but the essence of the subject seems to have got captured.

Wild Flowers

Title: Wild flowers
Poster colors on Handmade paper
Original Size: 36 x 27 cm


Title: Grass
Poster colors on Handmade paper
Original Size: 36 x 27 cm

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Missed Adoption: a poem

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on February 17, 2012

I did a seminar on Adoption in the Department of Psychiatry today. It was focused on mental health issues regarding adoption. I ended the seminar with a note that adoption is an alternative to abortion. The final power point slide had the following poem. I wrote it from the perspective of Tiny, who was aborted at 19 weeks of gestational  age by her teenage mother.


I am now in heaven,

with God on my side.

I wish I had lived,

to grow as a child.

To feel gentle streams,

and play in the rain,

to see sweet dreams,

and feel what is pain.

You snuffed me out

before I could cry.

Wasn’t I as vulnerable

Mom, answer me why?

You could have given me

to others who needed a kid.

There are so many childless,

you could have found a bid.

If you’d given me away,

in my early days,

I ‘d have been quite normal,

in all possible ways.

Had you given me up,

a  few years later,

I’d still have survived,

problems could’nt matter

There are psychiatrists around

to treat possible problems.

I request those living around,

to consider old solutions.

Reject Abortion

It cant correct an error

Consider Adoption

Its so much better.

– Tiny

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Walk on a Rainy Night : a painting

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on February 3, 2012

walk on a rainy night

Title: Walk on a Rainy Night

Medium: Postercolor on Paper with plastic knife

Size: 55 x 38 cm

Recently I was checking out few paintings on I found an artist Leonid Afremov. I liked his style. He uses oil paints and a palette knife. I decided to improvise and use what I can afford. So I bought a set of poster colors instead of oils. I used a plastic knife like the one used for cutting cakes instead of palatte knife.

I was unhappy with ‘Bril’ poster color. It was a bit too watery and was not solid enough to stick to paper and give great texture that I was expecting. I bought Bril, hoping quality would be good.After all most of us in southern India have been using Bril inks from our school days. I still use it for my fountain pen.

I took paint and applied to the paper with the knife with strokes in different directions. I could not blend colors on paper as I could in water colors. Colors were a bit thick for that kind of blend. Thickness did give some texture but I was not typically what I wanted. It was very difficult to control. I thought that as poster colors are opaque I could try putting light colors over the dried darker colors. It did not work that way. I thought I would have advantages of both media but ended having disadvantages of both media. The truth obviously is that I am expecting too much! 🙂

I then took a traditional sable brush and used acrylic white to create the lights and reflections. Probably this has saved the picture to some extent. I liked the silhouette of the trees seen in the background light from the street lights. I also like the couple going for a evening walk despite the rain. In addition to that being good for health, I think it is quite romantic 🙂

Last but not the least, I painted this to mark my first wedding anniversary. It has been a different life, but we are still together 🙂

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Thirsty Tiger: a painting

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on January 8, 2012

Thirsty Tiger

Title: Thirsty Tiger

Watercolor on Handmade paper
Original Size: 36 x 27 cm

Having explored different genres in content of art I have finally ventured into wildlife. I have used a reference photo to paint the tiger in detail. I understood the need for detailed observation of subject  before jumping into doing the art work.

After a loose sketch of outlines of tiger and the banks of river, different shades of green and yellows were put into the forest zone in a wet in wet style and were allowed to mix and dry. Details were added loosely with different colours found in the palate later with wet on dry and dry brush technique.

A graded wash was made in the water body starting with dark green and allowing some yellow ochre being mixed in the fore ground waters. When completely dry dark green shadows were added in waters towards the horizon. Ripples were made with brush strokes in needed direction.Highlights in water were added with acrylic white paint.

Tiger was painted with a wash of vermilion with attention on the tone and also carefully leaving whites in needed areas. Once it was dry added burnt sienna in few area to capture darker values. Used white acrylic for highlights. When dry used a black ink pen [fountain pen that I use in normal day to day medical practice] to draw the stripes. This was very useful in bringing the contours in the form of the tiger.Then used a small round brush and painted the stripes with watercolor to darken the stripes. Added a reflection and a shadow to ground the tiger and link with surroundings. Foreground is a yellow ochre  wash with burnt sienna splattered to break the monotony.Finally remembered to sign it with the date.

Hope you liked the painting 🙂

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Sunflowers: a painting

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on January 7, 2012


Title: Sunflowers

Watercolor on Handmade paper
Original size: 27 x 36 cm

I thought painting flowers is simple. Why would it be difficult its the same petals all around?!! I was so wrong in my thinking. It is pretty difficult to control the colours from flowing into wrong places.

I laid a wash of chrome yellow mixed with white on the whole paper as an under-painting. The idea of depth was created with smaller size and poor definition of  flowers at a distance and play of color contrast in the foreground. Green stalks were added in form of negative painting to bring the flowers forward.

My family was thrilled looking at this painting. They think brightness of the painting is reflection of my happiness about life ! 🙂

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Train in the fields: a drawing

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on January 7, 2012

Train in the fields

Title: Train in the fields
Charcoal on Cartridge Paper
Original Size: 28 x 34 cm

I bought an Easel in Hyderabad on 29.12.2011. It costed me about Rs 2400/- [ about US $ 50]. I also bought some handmade paper and cartridge paper in the same shop. These are not available in Vellore, the town that I live in. I saw a charcoal stick which was being sold for Rs 15/- .I could not stop myself from buying it. What difference would that make when you have already spent a lot of money ! 🙂

At home I could not keep the easel packed up. I opened it and set it up. I was happy at my decision to buy charcoal stick as I could use it right away. Sketching does not need props like painting!

Trains are an exercise in perspective drawing. I like the subject of trains. A large country like India is bound together with a large network of railways. I enjoyed train journeys in my childhood as it made me meet different kinds of people. Although, as a doctor in tertiary care hospital, nowadays I am overwhelmed with people from different backgrounds !

I found a railway timetable and decided to draw the train on the cover. Incidentally this is my second drawing with charcoal. The first drawing in charcoal was done using charcoal meant for barbecuing chicken in a party in 2007. It was in the house of our Professor Dr Deepa Braganza. She told me that she had got that drawing of ‘ships in a harbor’ framed as a memoir of the party. I was so encouraged that I restarted art work after few months.

Charcoal drawings are very smudgy and prone to loss of detail. I do not know how to fix the charcoal. I have now found that there are sprays available. What I did is that I diluted fevicol [ a synthetic glue] in water and painted that over the drawing using a 1.5 inch household brush. The reason for the lost edges should be apparent now! :-/

However this is a landmark drawing for me personally[ First use of Easel, First use of Charcoal stick ] . I would try and find out how people fix their charcoal art and improve next time.  Anyway I hope you liked this one 🙂

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City street in the night: a painting

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on January 7, 2012

City Street at Night

Title: City Street in the Night
Watercolour on Handmade Paper
Original Size: 36 x 27 cm
25.12.2011 [the afternoon of Christmas day]

Cityscapes are frightening topics to paint. There are too many subjects in the field of vision.

I learnt a principle in recent times that every painting should have a focus and that detail is not important everywhere. I also learnt from blog of Frank Eber that little is much if we could succeed in giving an impression of the subjects. This painting has elements of keeping things loose in the background only giving impression of a busy road.

I used acrylic white for highlights. This helped giving an opaque white effect. random strokes and dots of white gave the impression of busyness of a street.

I had posted this painting in facebook few days ago and I am glad it was liked by my friends. Hope you like it too. 🙂

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Streams in the Woods: a painting

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on December 22, 2011

Streams in the Woods

Title: Streams in the Woods
Watercolour on Handmade Paper
Original Size 36 x 27 cm

My sister wanted me to paint something with water, hills and greenery. Water is a challenging subject to paint with watercolor, especially moving water. So I decided I would do it today.

I had painted a waterfall in VIII grade.It was one of my best in those days. I stuck that painting to a glass window pane at home for display. It remained there for about 6 years till we had to change our home. The painting tore as I tried to take it out. It broke my heart. I never painted moving waters again as it reminds me of loss of that old painting of mine. Well, it has been over 13 years since that painting got destroyed and it is time I painted moving waters again.

I completed this painting in one day from start to finish.I am very pleased with it, as it reminds me of the old one. I have used a layered approach, waiting for paints to dry before I paint another layer over the previous one. I used red in the tree to bring autumn effect. I ended up using TOO much of it. It distracted the focus from the waters. So I splattered yellow over that region. It broke the edges and also softened the focus in the tree region. I followed traditional transparent watercolor painting style for water, meaning white means paper being left as it is and not white paint. I must add I splattered a little bit of titanium white on the rocks to give appearance of splashes and spray.

By the way the painting did not match my sister’s requirements. She said rocks are not hills. Hills were what she wanted with water and greenery! 🙂

Hope you liked it though.

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Two Ships: a painting

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on December 4, 2011

Two Ships

Title:Two ships
Watercolour on Handmade paper
Original Size:29 x 39 cm

This painting reminds me of something I had pondered over few years ago.
The main issues that a captain of the ship is concerned with are
1. How to keep my ship from sinking?
2. How to avoid bumping into other ships?

In life the answer to first question leads us to ‘personal ethics’. The answer to the second question leads us to ‘social ethics’.

Is not the problem of mankind beyond the pragmatic – why is the ship in the sea? 🙂

I had not removed the painting from the easel when it was done. As I kept looking at it, it looked a bit dull.So I added lemon yellow into horizon area, darkened the foreground waters,added some detail into the ship with ball point pen, added some background interest with birds and finally remembered to sign 🙂 Friends later pointed out that the version 1.0 had better reflections of the ships in water. I then added some plain water to the ships bottom parts and let the water drip to get the reflection look on to the painting. This is the final version of two ships.

Two Ships

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