Sandip Roy
The little pond next to his house would lose it’s bulk in May. ? Will the river also dry up ? ? the boy wondered. ? What’ll happen, then, to the fish and lilies, fishermen and boatmen ? ? little Sandip would empathisewith people whose life depended on the following water.

But a waterbody is only a part of the universe that’s Nature. As Sandip roy grew up, his world grew too.The lofty mountains, snowclad or green. The solitary tree on a dusty hillock. The rocky wall that the rushing stream couldn’t erode.The beach awash with plastic bits and seashells. The fisherman’s village, the Benaras ghats… Every corner of this land captures his imagination.

Monsoon finds Sandip in his elements. The pitter-patterof the raindrop is music to his ears. When the waterlogged streets spell hardship for thousands, he fishes out his paintboxand primes his canvas with redoubled energy. A blast of wind drenches the artis. So what ? Like the boys with paper boats, Sandip looks upon the sudden shower as one more chance to go on an adventure.

Every few days Sandip trotts off to a new destination. What’s the quest ? He answers with questions : ? Does the Ganga look different in Allahabad ? Is the Ranchi soil a different colour ? Is the air more salty in Pondicherry ? Do these alter the sunlight in Birbhum ? ? The answers get encrypted in watercolour.

Nature, needless to say, is close to Sandip’s heart. Every work frames the world outside our window . And all of this is evoked in a medium that’s identified as the forte of Kolkata arist. Watercolour appealed to Sandip even before he enrolled in an art college. Its transparency enhanted him. He was thrilled when he looked through a water-filled glassat the objects on the other side. ? If only life was as transparent ! ? says the artist who has made this transparency the credo of his life.

Another trait of watercolour appeals to Sandip. ? This medium demands you to be quick – in visualising, interpreting, executing your vision on paper. So, I can realise in minutes the change that’d result in Nature after days and nights. ? In summer, this could spell problems : The colour dries beforeyou can complete the picture, leaving no room for correction. If this demands quicksilver application, facing up to it thrills like magic !

To work this magic, Sandip needs only ochre, sienna, grey, blue, green. With this palette he sets out on a quest that has seen men like Rembrandt and Van Gogh play hide and seek with light and its absence. Closer home, Sandip has observed masters like Shyamal dutta Ray , bikash Bhattacharjee and Ganesh Haloi at work. From Husain and Swaminathan too he has learnt, though he never met them in persson. ? Play of light is one ; lustrousbounty of nature in another. Realistic figuration of one, tranquillity in another…And Sanjay Bhattacharya, handling watercolour and oil with equal ease… ?

Working his way through the path trod by such Goliaths, Sandip wants to keep pushing the boundaries of watercolour, ? a wee bit further everyday of my life. ? Only then, he knows, can the homely watercolour emerge in a new avataar.