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DateLine Wednesday, 17 October 2007

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Oil on canvas:

The favourite medium



Meadows at Dawn: captured as he sees it on oil on canvas

Of the two major schools of painting, i.e. that of oil on canvas and watercolour, the preferred choice of all great masters of the past had been oil on canvas but the change came centuries later when the new crop of painters who were at cross-roads of their mediums opted for watercolour.

These were the artists who were bent on subtle, soft colour for their paintings as against the vibrant, spectacular arabesque oil on canvas. Sometimes, the duplicity of the two mediums have cheated many an artist to pick up the wrong brush, thus ending what otherwise would have been a brilliant career.

Capturing images on canvas with the conservatism that resulted in renaissance is good enough for an abundance of quality for an artist who bears witness for oil on canvas. The superlative concepts have dazzled the most articulate painter.

Being a follower of Italian art and an avid reader of The History of Art, I have picked Dr. Prasanna Jayasekera at random among the new generation of upcoming artists in our country, the way I did citing Palitha Gunasinghe as a watercolour artist in a previous article. Dr. Jayasekera is very free with his brush strokes with no restrictions with a profuse liberation on anatomy on his figures (and no wonder he is a doctor).

There is a captivating modest dissonance, trying to emerge from his art and it will, very soon. He carries the nuances of refinement in a style of his own. His figures are Italian influenced, especially the women in royal garb.

He is not a copy cat but one weighed down by the influence of the Italian masters. Not abstract at all, his artistic work has great joy and spirit. The colour used for scenery are in keeping with the trends set by artists who have dabbled in oil on canvas. Dr. Jayasekera is a consultant Radiologist in a leading hospital but is free of anatomical influence in his art.


Dr. Prasanna Jayasekera is highly captivated by the Italian masters and his oil on canvas of  The Madonna is proof of his versatility and authenticity. There is no duplicity nor influence at all.

Oil on canvas painter finds his subjects among living people as well as outdoor. He is able to bring out the best in them despite obstacles such as bad light and moving matter such as birds in flight, rushing winds, rolling waters or flowing rivers.

He captures them on canvas as they come, no matter how quick the movements are. Many painters sketch roughly outside and bring indoor to vibrate the colours that he has stored in his mind. It is a wonderful asset indeed if he happens to trap in his subconscious mind.

It is the artist's task to paint the world he sees and knows and his uncompromising images of contemporary rural sceneries and the attitudes of nature, are his wonderful subjects.

Sometimes a painter can be complacent or lost in his endeavours and end up in misconceptions. A weak person will drop his palette and wash his hands off but the plucky one will dare overcome and surge to the top. Painting by no means is an easy job.

Far from it. It can be frustrating, disappointing or passionate and formidable. The challenge is there for the artist to bring forth his emotions.

He can paint poetry, music and the stillness of life. Yet, the methods used by him will focus in the medium he uses. Oil on canvas paintings are so extravagant and simply gorgeous. It leaves behind much for imagination. His ideas and the ideals are to be a man and a painter and create a living art. Many will adhere to conventional art and at times, borrowed from the masters of the past.

Even the size of canvas is the subject of concern. Some paintings have to be elaborately spread out for significance while others are concentrated or compact in subject. No painter will strive to fill a canvas aimlessly. He will be positive about what goes into it. Oil on canvas is the end result. The glories of spectacular colours and the dark shades of gloom will spur him on.

So, the painter who creates ideals of harmony can stand apart as an artistic touchstone, created by himself.

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