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Drawn from nature

Abhijeet Anand |

Her face has that lively and innocent look, which is yearning to discover a lot of things. One is unlikely to find a painter, who is not enamoured by nature. Because natural surroundings brings out creativity in a person. This holds true for artist Priyadarshini Ohol as well. 

Trained to be a mechanical engineer, Priyadarshini finds solace in colour and the bounty of nature provided by the Dhauladhar Ranges of Himachal Pradesh. Born and brought up in Mumbai, she now lives in dharamshala. A person who loves adventure, painting for her is now a passion because of which she shifted to dharamshala and has been living there for the past one year. 

But it was not so a few years ago. Although she has had a passion for the brush, Priyadarshini started painting after a skiing accident in Gulmarg after which she underwent a surgery in Delhi. The forced solitude while recuperating made her more insightful. And it was then that she started to paint prolifically and shifted from the hustle-bustle of the Capital to this hilly town. Leading a Bohemian lifestyle, she has tried to break free of traditional limitations that has been set for the women. 

The flowers in the valley left a deep impression on Priyadarshini's sub-conscious. Specks of red and pink, some small and some large, tend to look like flowers in her abstracts. She said Dharamshala is full of flowers, mainly bougainvillea, in spring, which has also made her palette more vibrant. Priyadarshini used to paint the realistic snow-capped mountains and has also tried her hand at painting landscapes. But the artist now has the proclivity to paint abstracts.  

Her life close to the monastery in Dharamshala has influenced the choice of colours. The Thangka paintings of Tibetan Buddhist on cotton or silk uses golden colour, which one can find in her paintings as well. Blues also dominate her paintings a lot, especially the abstracts. She says the blues represent the open skies. But for Priyadarshini, who has also been an activist, it also symbolised emancipation. 

Priyadrashinl said she has to learn a thing or two about Thangka paintings. But, this is all about her future plans. At present, her paintings seem to carry the flavour of Kangra Art, for which the area is famous. This art form uses natural and bright colours, which is reflected in Priyadarshini's work. 

A final impression one gets is that the paintings appear to resemble the painter's inner self. Asked about this, she said the paintings did indeed depict her. This reminds one of the famed artist Vincent Van Gogh's comment about his paintings. He considered them his own children. Alongside passion, Priyadarshini abides by her sincerity to the craft, which she calls her art.