I’m Sylvia D’Silva and I’m an Artist. But I wasn’t always one. I was the kind of girl who would watch my mom paint fabric curtains and tablecloths and wonder,’ why is she wasting her time?’ How can anyone have so much patience?’
Honestly, my journey began out of boredom. Being an Engineering graduate, I had no job opportunities in the remote locations my husband was posted to. He is an Army Officer and I prefer living wherever he is. Having said that, living in a small town I felt trapped and I was so bored. And I was expected to cook. Well, I don’t know how much cooking I did but I sure did burn a lot of pans. I lived in Mhow with him during the first few months of my marriage. Mhow is a small town in Madhya Pradesh, India; which is famous for leather goods and paintings (Painting classes all over the place. Any Tom, Dick and Harry in Mhow, teaches painting). My husband suggested that I attend a painting class there, but I was stubborn and didn’t want to sit in a classroom and listen to anyone. Besides, I hated drawing.
Eventually, I made a few friends. One evening, Vinsilaa (Another Army wife and a good friend) invited me and my friend Ishu over to her place and said she’ll teach me decoupage-the art of decorating objects with paper cut-outs. And with that came my very first oil paint set. I was interested because the main element in the decoupage piece was a magazine cutting and I didn’t have to draw anything. I just had to paint around it. The oil paint was something else, I loved it. I don’t know if it was the smell or the feel of it on the canvas. Once I was done with my decoupage piece, I got lazy and didn’t think about the oil paints again. Meanwhile, I got a job as a part-time Lecturer in the Military Engineering College, not to mention the fact that my husband was a student in the same college where I was a lecturer, how awkward is that? Anyway, I got busy with the job. And life went on. Seven months later, I had to pack up my belongings and move to a new place.
Hello, Madhopur; A tiny little village in the outskirts of Punjab. A stone throw distance away from the J&K border. Ugh, Imagine a Bangalore city girl living in a village where even a simple luxury such as Ice-cream during summer was something I could only dream of. I was more bored and frustrated than ever.
One evening, I visited a city called Pathankot with my husband to buy an inverter for the house since I had spent three nights in the dark due to a power cut. Pathankot is the nearest city to Madhopur at a distance of about 22kms. The first shop that I saw the minute I entered the city market was an art supplies shop, and a really big one. I knew I had nothing to do at home besides being a pretty little homemaker, and I remembered that I had a basic set of oil paints in my trunk, back at home. So I went ahead and bought a small canvas board. I painted my very first painting that week and I WAS AWED. I really like doing this. Although I didn’t know most of the very important things I needed to know, like how to wash the oil paint off the brushes, what kind of brushes are available and so on, yet I continued painting. And oh the drying time of oil paint was very frustrating. Patience Sylvia! I told myself. But the end result was something I will never forget for the rest of my life. My husband saw it and told me I was going to be a well know artist someday. I didn’t believe him then. 🙂
I would love to take all my readers through my journey forward. This blog is going to be all about art and my crazy life.
Want to know what happened next? Watch out for more of my stories and experiences and my very first painting picture in my next post.