Sunday, June 12, 2016

My Art Teacher who taught me how to draw...

With the beautiful Painting of Goddess Saraswathi by my Art Teacher
on a wall in my school. 
Though my Dad and my uncle Jaladanki Sudhakar were two persons whose Art works I observed very closely in my childhood before I left home at the age of 9 years to Gurukula Vidyalayam, there was another person whose Art works I observed even more closer, admired more and in fact learned Art from him as one of his students. My Art Teacher from my high-school, A.P. Residential School, Kodigenahalli, Sri. M. Venkateswara Rao was my first-and-the-only Art Teacher in my life.

We used to have just one 45-minute "Art Period" every week in our school from 5th to 9th grade. Those five years, I was probably one of the two or three students in my class of 36 students who used to look forward for that one Art period, week after week.

The special Art notebook that we used to carry to our Art period which was at least two times the size of a regular subject notebook with just about 20 pages or so to fill-in with Art for the full school-year. I saved some of my Art works I did in my school days, but couldn't save any of pages from my Art subject notebook as at the end of the school-year, we had to return all our notebooks to the school.

Many of our school Art periods are still very fresh in my memory including the very small room next to our 5th class dormitory which used to be our Art teacher's room initially. The outer-side wall of that room had three beautiful Paintings with wonderful messages, 1) Goddess Saraswathi Devi with the slokam "yakundendu thusharahaara dhavalaayaa subhra vsthraamitha..." 2) Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, India with some of his finest words, and 3) Rabindranath Tagore with his poem, "Where the mind is without fear...". All those beautiful paintings were done by our Art Teacher. Even after 30+ years those paintings are still there on the wall.

Also, the new and big Auditorium never fades out in my memory, in which my Art Teacher had his room at one corner with a small wall-window, in my later years at our school. He used to have a small watercolor painting of Saraswathi in a simple frame on his table. Whenever I used to go there, my eyes and heart just used to stare at that beautiful painting. That small painting got a photo-print in my memory. When I try to recollect it from my memory, it often comes out as the most beautiful painting I have ever seen and admired since my school days. I am still trying to extract it out from my memory so that I can try to reproduce it, as close to it as I can, in coming years to pay my respects to my Teacher.

One of the best things happened in my life recently was our first-ever school reunion in Dallas, US. I met many of our schoolmates, seniors, juniors and one of our teachers there. One of my seniors brought his school autograph book and showed the autograph from our Art Teacher. His Autograph was nothing but a very beautiful sketch in that book of small size: 3"x4". I was so happy to see the sketch and immediately took a picture of it- a quick sketch as his autograph on one page and his hand-writing on the other page. I am so glad that I took pictures of those two pages.

God plans few things for us upon hearing our prayers and delivers those to us at appropriate times in life. I believe, the God certainly delivered those two pages to me on that occasion.

Here are the two pages:

My Art Teacher's quick sketch in of my senior's autograph book
My Art Teacher's hand-writing
I was also so happy to call my Teacher's son after our school reunion event, who was also a student of our school and was a junior to me. With so much of joy which is hard to express in words, I did talk with my Teacher, 3 decades after graduating from the school. I shared my Art Blog with my Teacher. Later, his son shared with me, what my Teacher said after looking at some of my paintings..."Giri drew better than me". I do not consider that I drew better than my Teacher in anyway, but take it as- the best blessings that my Art ever received. Also, that is the best compliment a student can get from his Teacher.

A couple my Teacher's paintings I collected:

One of my Art Teacher's Paintings
An Oil Painting by my Art Teacher on a wall at his house

Some of my Teacher's Art works from memories of my school days:

  • Paintings on walls of several buildings around the school campus
  • Many good quotations in Telugu and English that were painted on the back walls many of our  classrooms.
  • The sketches that he used to prepare with help of few selected students for Science Fair Projects.
  • The stencil of our school name he made and used to print on our t-shirts for our Grigs: district-level Games & Sports we used to participate representing our school.
  • Sculpture on Soaps. Especially, the Taj Mahal on Pears soap, the only transparent bath soap available those days, placed in a see through box made out of audio cassette plastic box with an  added small light behind it. A marvelous piece of Art. (I attempted this feat of sculpture on soaps at least three times so far, and I wish I could do more of it.)
  • Our class-room black boards with white letters painted on the top left corner.

Art always touches hearts and lives loner. I hope to see and collect some more of my Art Teacher's works in future.

With great respects, I say- "Thank you Sir, for teaching me Art" and I also thank God for all these great memories of Art.

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