There are artists who are humble yet talented and gifted beyond comprehension? they create the most magnificent pieces of art for the world to admire. Our artist in conversation today is the wonderful Dilrukshi Chandrika, who has risen above the rest to create a name for herself. She reminisces her humble beginnings with such joy. We are pleased to bring her interview to you today.
How long have you been painting?
I have been painting for as long as I can remember, since a child of about 5 years, I recall drawing on the sand at home. It was a wonderful time and I am thankful for that time period in my life.
Who are your greatest influencers?
My maternal Grandfather was a sculptor, he influenced me a great deal. Apart from this, my entire family is involved in artistic creations. I believe their support and guidance has brought me thus far. I also follow the works of Da vinci and Micheal Jones.
Did you have a formal education in art and painting or are you self-taught?
I am a self- taught artist, I have not studied art except for when I was at school.
Do you have a particular style? How did you become so passionate about this particular style?
I am a naturalist; I paint things as they are, be it a person, an object or a landscape. I love to be with nature and animals, I am the kind of person who embraces the ugly, the ones the others reject. I grow plants, spend a lot of my time with nature. This has helped me immensely with my creations. I observe very carefully, take photos of them if I must and spend time with the detail.
What are your other passions other than art? How have these passions contributed for you to become the artist you are today?
I draw murals, create sculptures, which I believe is the influence of my grandfather, do a bit of interior designing during my free time. Those who have worked with me say that my styles are unbelievable. For example, even if I pick a curtain as a part of the interior design project, it is something never thought of, yet it matches so well with the rest of the furniture and colors. My hobbies and passions are also related to art; it is difficult to separate myself from it. For me, painting or creating these wonderful art is similar to a meditation. I have been told that my paintings are dimly colored. I use a lot of bright shades, but I tone it down, mix a tinge of black to create a mesmerizing piece.
Could you walk us through the process? Percentage wise, how much time do you spend preparing for the painting and how much time on the actual painting itself? Is preparation an important part of your process?
Yes, for example, say I go to a lake and see a flock of cranes, what I do is, capture a few photographs of their movements, behavior and the landscape as well. The reason is that I always want to create a painting with movement, not just a still painting. So it can be of a crane diving in to catch a fish, or flying away? Next I go in to detail, observe carefully, gather the information I need and start painting. The background is created by imagination; it is the detail on the animal or item that I focus on most. My paintings are very detailed to the point I even add the feathers on a bird. If everything is in order, I can finish a painting within half a day.
Are you engaged in new artistic adventures? How is artistic exploration important to you as an artist and to your process? How do you then decide what to incorporate into your style and what you leave as pure fun?
I am currently not engaged in new explorations. I am quite satisfied where I am at the moment. It doesn't mean I will never learn new things. But at this point in my life I work on improving my current skills and I don't necessarily use the resources for this, but learn on my own. I will always be a naturalist, that is something which will not change.
Was there a particular moment where you could tell that your skills had just crossed over into being an exceptionally good painter instead of a pretty good painter? What did you do to make that leap?
Well, those who see my paintings have admired and praised my work and I am humbled by their views. I have come this far step by step, whenever I finish a painting I always ask for advice on improvements, things I need to change and I make notes of them. So it has been a process from which I have changed, learnt and corrected my mistakes. So yes and I am an exceptionally good painter from what the reviews I have received.
How do you push yourself? Do you set goals for yourself? And if so, what are the goals? Do you think setting goals is important for an artist in his/her artistic journey? If so, why?
Goals are important for anyone. They keep us on track. I have goals for myself personally and for my career. When I was young I was somewhat timid, so I feel I may have lost some opportunities So my long term goal has been to overcome this. I have to build confidence within that my paintings are worthy. When I began I used to paint a 1x1 canvas, now I paint a 10x10. This shows how far I have come in this journey. My goal is to take my creations overseas, so that the world learns of me.
How is your experience working with Aartzy? Do you think it is a useful platform for artists?
I have now worked with Janaka and Aartzy for about 3 years and I have been able to sell my paintings through this platform. The many returning customers show that they appreciate my work. So I am happy with it, but I hope I will be recognized world over as an artist.
Manesha Peiris (2021)