The search for self-realisation brought her from Limburg in Germany to this small hill town in Himachal Pradesh three decades ago.
Living in a serene village Gamru uphill Dharamshala in the lap of majestic Dhauladhar mountains, Elsbeth Buschmann pours out her inner peace on the canvas with brush and paints. Her paintings are in harmony with nature and a perfect fusion of design and consciousness.
What she creates is soothing art with positive undertones.
“I am inspired by landscapes and nature. My paintings have a spiritual backup,” Buschmann shared with The Statesman, describing the ‘deep meaning’ she seeks to convey through each of her painting.
Buschmann, now in her 60s, has lived art all her life. Born in the family of artists in Germany, she studied art in London and Paris. She visited several museums across the world for exposure and stayed in United States for some years, getting much fame for her art. Her trip to Mexico helped her develop her own typical style of painting.
A turning point in her life, however, came in 1981, when she listened to the discourses of a spiritual master (Guru) from India at Frankfurt, Germany in 1981.
“He opened my spiritual potential and I got interested in philosophy. And I chose to move to India to develop my inner self under the guidance of my master. I lived in the ashram in Delhi for sometime and in 1987, I travelled to Mcleodganj and lived near Dharamkot for four years and finally stayed back, marrying a local (nature photographer),” she said.
“It wasn’t easy to manage without basic facilities near Dharamkot as I grew up in a posh family with my father a electrical contractor in Germany. But I was looking for a deeper meaning to life. I loved the trees around, the mountains and the beauty of nature,” she hastened to add.
Buschmann has been following the thought of Sant Mat since, which even influences her paintings.
“I have never counted the hours that I put into my art work. But I paint for five times a week. I meditate a lot that keeps my search and creativity going ,” she said.
Buschmann uses acrylic, oil paints and water colours and has more than 300 paintings to her credit. She has kept some of her paintings in the art gallery (Naam) at Sidhbaari on the outskirts of Dharamshala.
Buschmann has titled each one of her paintings. She has compiled a book – Beyond the Visible- in Deutsch ( German language) and English to define some of her paintings, which although speak for themselves, right from ‘Web of Maya’, ‘Mahadeva’, ‘Queen of Night’ , ‘Emerging Consciousness’ or paintings of Kangra valley and Chamba.
Her idea of ‘Mahadeva’ (Shiv) is distinct and she has painted Shiva as a messenger of light and wisdom. “I see him in positive light, wherein after destroying, Shiva is purely spiritual,” she explained.
Painting flowers delight her so much as she finds all the flowers ‘so peaceful’. Buschmann uses mountains and circles in her paintings as “the mountains seem to flow and rest at the same time, symbolising timelessness and the circle is infinite without beginning or end”. “To me the meaning of art is purely different. It is extremely satisfying for me when connoisseurs visiting my art gallery revert to me, saying that they could feel positive vibrations my spiritual paintings.
Buschmann, who earlier used to put up exhibitions in metros like Delhi and Mumbai, has stopped doing it for the hassle and purposelessness in it. “I don’t have commercial interests. I have enough money to live my life. I preferred to open my art gallery in a non-distinct, peaceful village just to express gratitude to locals for welcoming a foreigner,” she said.
Noted painter and recipient of various awards, Buschmann is, however, a little known face around the area she lives.
“Germans love music and art. My life is painting and meditation. I don’t have many friends. I love to be alone,” she said. She talked of her book (kind of autobiography) in Deutsch, Call of the Rain bird (title in English), in which she has drawn a parallel to Rain bird, which seeks utmost purity in life, while describing her life events.