Heritage Reflections by Pune-based artist K Hiremath evoke memories of a bygone era
A selection of watercolours by Pune-based artist K Hiremath will be on display this month, at the Vasantha Art Gallery in Bengaluru. Titled Heritage Reflections, these works of art showcasing heritage sites in India and Nepal, capture sunlight, shadows and bright blue skies.
Hiremath who was born in Nipani, a small village in Belgaum, North Karnataka, showed an aptitude for art even as a toddler. “My father was an art teacher and I used to draw on the walls using bits of chalk I would find in his pockets.”
However, as he became more adept in capturing images, his father stopped instructing him in technique. “My father was a talented artist but it did not serve him well as a profession and he did not want me to experience the same disappointments,” he says.
“Soon, I was entering competitions and securing the top spots, but in keeping with my family’s wishes that I become an engineer, I began studying with that goal in mind. However, after class XII, I knew I would not be able to turn my back on art.”
Eventually, his family gave in to his reasoning and Hiremath enrolled in the Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya in Pune, for his art education. “I liked the artistic style of Maharashtra and so decided to move there for my higher studies.”
“Though my family was disappointed, they did not dissuade me. However, they did not encourage me either. I had a passion for art and it was my drive to develop as an artist that kept me going,” he says.
His hard work finally paid off and his first brush with fame came in 2016 when one of his submissions to the International Watercolor Society contest was displayed in Taiwan. Since then, there has been no looking back. Hiremath ranks as one of the top 50 watercolour artists in the world today.
“Sadly, my father is no more, but my mother is immensely proud of my success and is overjoyed when local dailies in our hometown carry news of my achievements,” he says with a quiet happiness.
Hiremath now 39, also captures urban landscapes, portraits and abstracts using other media such as acrylic, poster and opaque colours, but his first preference is for watercolours. “Watercolours are perhaps the most fuss-free and easiest of media to use, especially on location,” says Hiremath, who is part of an artist group that meets up every Sunday in Pune.
“The location is planned in advance and once there, we all capture whatever is in front of us. I use a pencil to sketch my initial observations as a thumbnail on a small notepad before moving on to the canvas,” says the artist, who takes about two hours to finish a painting, depending on its size.
“Over the years, you learn to observe, to pay attention to detail and then later sketch from memory if something inspires you. One’s signature style evolves over time — it is not taught, it is not learnt.”
Heritage Reflections’will go on display at Vasantha Art Gallery at the Grand Mercure in Bengaluru from March 13 to April 20. Follow Hiremath on Facebook and Instagram @kudalayyahiremath