Shatrughan Sinha's daughter-in-law takes on an art challenge

Shatrughan Sinha’s daughter-in-law returned to the sketch pad armed with colour pencils and daily rigour, for a 100-day art challenge

On a cloudy Thursday, we are sitting in the living room at Ramayan, Shatrughan Sinha’s Juhu home. Golden trophies decorate the mantel, a hand-sketched photo frame of the veteran actor-turned-politician stands out.

49/100 This is my first ever #tiger! Don’t know why I have been so afraid to attempt this before49/100 This is my first ever #tiger! Don’t know why I have been so afraid to attempt this before

We are here to meet Tarunna, who married the actor-turned-politician’s son, Kush Sinha, last January. As last year whizzed past as the London-based banking and marketing professional and self-taught artist settled into her new home, her passion for art took a backseat. On April l9, the 29-year-old decided to change that and set herself a 100-day art challenge on Instagram (she goes by the handle @tarunna) — to post a pencil sketch daily.

The 53/100 My very 1st Birds of Prey? A Kite'
The 53/100 My very 1st Birds of Prey? A Kite’

She walks in with her husband, and our first request is a change of venue. The best place to speak to an artist is in their studio.

We go a floor below. The leaf-printed white curtains on the French windows flutter in the breeze. "That’s a work in progress," she tells us, pointing to the oil canvas on an easel.

Tarunna K Sinha’s  100-day art project started on April 19. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Tarunna K Sinha’s 100-day art project started on April 19. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

The self-taught artist, who picked up the paintbrush while still at school in Mumbai, was largely influenced by her time in London, where she frequented art exhibitions and museums. "My work is abstract, with hints of Indian symbols and themes, with the use of gold leaf," says Tarunna, who continued to paint while juggling her career. "But, frankly, I could not dedicate much time to it," she adds.

100-day to finish
The first few sketches were a breeze thanks to new-found excitement. "But, I realised the dedication it would need to reach the finish line. It has become my morning puja. I begin my day with it," says Tarunna. "I didn’t think much of it when I took up this self-imposed challenge. I just wanted a bit of fun, get into a regular practice," she says.

Even if a work is not up to the mark or has unfinished nuances, she puts it up. "This has turned into a transformative journey of me, the artist," she says.

Her Instafeed of the day is a fox, threatening you with a stare. "The focus point in my animal sketches are the eyes," says Tarunna, as we notice a white tiger on a black sheet, amid other sketches of pink and yellow flowers.

Scroll through her feeds and the 65 sketches have a creative mix of flowers, trees, animals and a few abstracts. There’s a ballerina caught in the middle of a pirouette. "Interestingly, a follower requested this one. I have started getting requests from followers and that’s a whole new challenge," she adds. Tarunna uses recycled A-4 sheets, and colour pencils.

While oil paints remain her choice of medium, these sketches are in pencil. "It is easier to carry the materials when I travel, and have been diligently posting my work even during my recent holidays in Paris and London. This project has given me a curious eye, for I am always looking for a theme for my next sketch. I look at urban spaces, buildings, the zoo, everything around me with a curious eye," says Tarunna, adding that she has even put her hunger on hold to sketch an apple she thought would make a creative frame.

A piece takes anything from 10 minutes to an hour. "I try not to use a filter, though I make an exception once in a while," she admits.

With a website and an exhibition in the pipeline, Tarunna also Snapchats her work. "Our generation doesn’t visit art galleries often enough.

I am using this medium to put my art out," says Tarunna, as she adds a paint stroke to her oil canvas. While 10,000 followers
are giving her the thumbs up, it is husband Kush’s eye for detail that makes him a good critic, she thinks. "He’s an avid photographer, and I look forward to his comments since he has a creative head like me."

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