Changing with the times

As for inspiration, it strikes her anywhere and everywhere. "I find painting most relaxing. It's the most natural thing for me to sit in front of a canvas and paint. It's like breathing to me," she says. Milburn's latest exhibition is currently going on in a SoBo art gallery. She speaks to CS about the gradual change she's seen in her art:

Milburn Cherian
Who: Milburn Cherian
What: On her latest work
PIC/ Santosh Nagwekar

Life is a feast
India’s shining and that comes across in my paintings. They have become more colourful and happier. The candles and lamps in my paintings symbolise hope. As for the chequered patterns, I have lived in a house for 50 years, that had black and white chequered flooring, so it sort of came naturally to me. Black and white also stand for bad and good. Every moment of your life you have to decide which path to take. The paintings also have an old world charm to them. There is a little bit of surrealism in my work too. I’ve tried to put the old and new together.

Art, dil se!
I’ve not receieved any formal training in painting. I think whatever is being taught today is destroying artistic thinking rather than doing any good. Because when you start going by some set of rules, it kills the whole purpose of art. My belief is to break every rule. Just go by what your heart tells you. After that, your skill will improve on its own.

Bold and beautiful
With my small works, I tend to get adventurous with colours. I'm not so experimental with colours otherwise, but I'm slowly getting bolder. Some of my bigger paintings take a long time — even upto six months for one painting. But I would say even that is fast considering the amount of details that goes into it. There is one painting I did that has around 260 characters!

Change is gradual
I can see a change in my work. It's a very gradual process. My earlier work was frightening! (laughs) It took a lot of learning but I know I've changed. You can stagnate if you want and stay the same for the next 50 years or you can grow. I can't say that I want to paint in a certain way tomorrow. It's like you're a chef and your food gets better with time. It's the same with art. There is no short cut to becoming the best. In art, you can never say you've achieved your best. 

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