She is all of six and half years, and she has one international exhibition to her credit, has been a finalist in an international event that witnessed over 10,000 entries and has a collection of nearly 70 watercolour paintings. Meet Anagha Venkatesh, a child artist who took to watercolours as we do to oxygen.
Her tryst with painting started early on when even as a toddler she could finger paint within the outline of a drawing and with a keen sense of colour. By the time she was two and a half years, Anagha was wielding the brush and painting away blended solid colours. Recognising her interest in painting, her parents approached Sooraj Babu, an upcoming and internationally recognised watercolour artist, to mentor Anagha. Says Sooraj Babu, “Childhood is the best time to nurture art. I used to dream and paint flying elephants and fantasy stuff as a kid, but now as an adult, my thought process has changed. But through my little students like Anagha I get to relive that imagination. Anagha has a steady hand which is important for watercolours. Her understanding of colour management has helped her learn watercolour art quickly, which is a very tough painting medium. Even as she brings in mature painting skills, you can still see her innocent imagination come into play where she may paint pink leaves or green eyes which an adult cannot imagine. Yet it makes the art look alive. I teach her techniques, but it is her imagination that comes into play. In fact, her imagination often rekindles the child in me to experiment and explore.”
Ask Anagha what makes water color interest her so much and she says with absolute confidence, “I like the way I can blend water color paints. I also paint with acrylic and sometimes use oil pastels, but the effect with water colors is much better. I can make the paint give a transparent or opaque effect easily.”
And what does she do with all her paintings? “I have given many of my paintings away as gifts. I have displayed a few at home, and many are in my painting books. But some day I want to sell them and give the money that I get to poor children to pay their school fees,” she says. So we asked the child prodigy if she enjoys painting competitions, and she sighs: “I don’t like competitions at all.” When we asked her why, Anagha responded, “They give a topic and very less time to think and paint well. I like to paint only when I feel like it. In competitions everyone needs to paint in a similar way which is very boring.”
Anagha is a first standard student at PSBB Learning Leadership Academy, Bangalore, and is also a computer language enthusiast. How do the two gel together we asked her, and she said, “I love math and art. So when we learn math with games and drawings it becomes even more fun. Even in computers I enjoy creating designs on Paint and building stories and games using Block Commands on Code.org because I need to do math to make designs. The guessing work is fun, just like how guessing the mix of colors to get the right shade for a painting.”