Utopian vision of an innocent world

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Being an Army Wife residing away from urban areas, often in the wilderness with horses, mules, and pets as the company she developed a Zen for the rural landscapes and animals…reports Siddhi Jain.

Art is a ‘thapasya’ for people with an insight of creativity. Even though her association with art continued throughout her life, it is only now that the 79-year-old artist Todo Paintal is exhibiting her first solo show at a Delhi-based art gallery. Born in 1942, and married to an armoured corps officer-a war veteran who has fought the 65′ and 71′ wars, she turned to painting as a hobby and cathartic release.

Being an Army Wife residing away from urban areas, often in the wilderness with horses, mules, and pets as the company she developed a Zen for the rural landscapes and animals. Her recent explorations of Himalayan landscapes produce an utopian vision of an innocent world that is a refuge from the pressures of the city, free from noise, crowds, pollution, and in tune with natural processes.

Having spent her childhood in Dalhousie and a larger part of her life in far-flung army cantonments, she celebrates the experience of solitude and spiritual refreshment afforded by pastoral retreats in idyllic portraits of contented self-sufficiency. These portable mementos representing visual experiences share with us the wonderful energy of her artistic engagement, great fascination, and love for the mountains.

Being widely travelled, this is a theme she returns to frequently along with her emotional dialogue with her family — an unabashed ode to the pleasures and joys of a fulfilled life. She celebrates the radiant beauty of the natural landscapes and beautifully communicates the spirit of the place with a distillation of the tranquility it embodies in the people closest to her.

Paintal trained briefly at the Triveni Kala Sangam and later apprenticed with veteran artist Anjolie Ela Menon, as well as enjoying a brief stint at Arpana Caur’s Academy of Fine Arts, New Delhi. After a grueling Montessori training she ran her own Montessori kindergarten school for nearly three and a half decades. On her retirement and at the age of 75, she returned to her artistic passion with a diploma in Fine Arts at the Delhi Collage of Art, under the mentorship of Ashwani Kumar Prithviwasi who helped her crystalize her signature vocabulary. She is currently pursuing her fourth year of advanced studies.

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