Saturday, June 30, 2012

Suresh Pethe - A feature

Suresh Pethe says he is only 8 years old at an age of seventy plus! For those of you who are wondering what I mean, it’s been eight years since he took to drawing in a prolific manner and he feels he is a child again! He has lived a new life in the last eight years where each day has been full of excitement, discovery and playfulness!

Every morning between  6 -7 am ,Suresh Pethe, a retired engineer, who resides in Pune, uploads one of his beautiful drawings on to his now well -known facebook album ‘Roz Ek Chitra’( A drawing a day).Beautiful buildings, landscapes and at times, figurative representations comprise his daily artwork.

A Watercolour on paper done by Suresh Pethe:

Pethe started drawing after his retirement, at a time when most people become irritable or depressed as they suddenly find their hectic everyday lives coming to a slow drag and succumb to boredom, depression and senility. Since the day he started, there has been no looking back and now he is the proud owner of more than 1000 of his own drawings and paintings combined together!    

As far as he remembers, he used to draw even before he started going to school. Born in Nasik, Maharashtra, India , he grew up in a big house which had an earthen floor (Not tiled or marbled). Every four to five days, it had to be wiped with cow dung (an Indian habit which still exists in rural Indian households, where cow-dung is used to wipe and coat the floor of the house, as it is believed to have purifying and therapeutic properties). He counts this coating ritual as his first stint with painting on a huge canvas –the floor!

The big house and the associated experiences that he was exposed to inspired him to draw.  Those days, his drawing board comprised mainly the floor, the wall, a slate, or sometimes any piece of paper that he could lay his hands on!

A photo of Mr. Pethe sketching a live model:

In school he was fairly good at object drawing, design, nature and flower drawings. The drawing teacher in school was very good, and left a mark on his mind.  Pethe went on to do his Engineering, started working and eventually got married and got busy with family life. In all this, drawing took a complete back-seat. In 2003, after his retirement, that is after about almost 35 years, he got associated with Sanskar Bharti, an All Indian Institution promoting the arts. He got involved in the outdoor (en plein –air), indoor and portraiture sessions held by them.  It was since then that he started drawing daily. He likes to do pencil drawings, pen and ink and water colour art. His interests mainly lie in doing figurative, portraiture and landscape art.

A photo from a Sanskar Bharti Outdoor drawing session :

Roz Ek Chitra

Ask any fellow art buddy about Pethe, and there will be an immediate association with ‘Roz Ek Chitra’.
Suresh Pethe began by uploading his paintings on his Orkut profile in 2009. He used to upload one of his drawings daily, but it was limited to only a few friends. In 2010, he opened a facebook account and started posting his pictures there daily. He imported all his drawings from Orkut in an album, which he called ‘Roz Ek Chitra’ (A drawing a day) and filed them in a systematic manner, according to the date.

From 1st October 2010, he has been uploading an artwork on this album every day, without fail! He is now identified as ‘Roz Ek Chitra wala’ (The 'Roz Ek Chitra' one).

As he continued uploading on this album, more and more people started appreciating and visiting his profile. His friend circle increased and this gave him encouragement to draw more. He also made some ‘real ‘friends from his list of virtual friends. Seeing his zeal and passion, a few others were also inspired to draw!

Drawing as a hobby 

How Does Pethe manage to draw daily- at an age when people face emptiness after retirement and don’t know how to pass their time? He says it’s very important to have a hobby, which keeps one positively engaged. Sketching is his daily passion. It is now common practice for him to walk around with a sketchbook and a bottle of water. He says he is completely at peace with himself and does not have even an inkling of loneliness or emptiness. Sketching and painting come to him as naturally as eating, sleeping and walking! It not only keeps him fit and energetic but also gives him a good identity in society.

An Interesting encounter

An interesting anecdote which highlights the excitement and fun that art can bring into one’s life:

One day, as Mr. Pethe was taking his morning walk in Maj. Thathavade Udyan at Kothrud, Pune, he bumped into Tom Alter, the famous actor from Hindi Film industry. He was busy shooting in the garden. Pethe had his drawing paraphernalia with him and requested the actor to pose for a pencil  portrait, who happily obliged, by taking time out from his shooting .This is but a small idea about the associations that art brings along with it!    

 Advice to the old and the young

What is his advice to the young and to the retired, as far as keeping a hobby is required?

According to him, drawing is the best hobby that anyone can have. All you need is a drawing book, a pen or a pencil and a willingness to draw and presto! You can start drawing anytime and anywhere!
It’s a unique hobby where there is no language barrier for expression. The painter can express himself on his canvas/ drawing paper, irrespective of the part of the world he hails from and anyone from any part of the globe can view them without the need for linguistic interpretation.

Another one of his water-colour paintings, done from a live model:

Art Shows 

Suresh Pethe has taken part in some group shows and exhibitions. In 2009, he exhibited his works along with a group of eight veteran artists, where he sold three of his artworks. In 2011, he had displayed his works in “Art Plaza’, the street art exhibition near Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai, India and sold a few works there. The response was very encouraging.

Apart from drawing he also dabbles in a bit of craft, clay modelling and poetry writing (Marathi).
He says the time post retirement is a golden period. In the daily grind of life, many people have to swallow their passions and desires of doing or learning something. According to him, this is the valuable time that one should use to indulge in all this. It’s a good idea to start the plans a few years before retirement. As far as drawing is concerned, it’s best to think of it as a language and try to learn a bit of alphabet and grammar, so that it could be used for good company in one’s spare time!
Suresh Pethe is a symbol of dedication, time-management and passion! At a time, when people are constantly bored and spend money and time doing un-productive activities or mindless internet-surfing, he is definitely someone to look up to and learn from! 

Below is a link to Suresh Pethe's sketching blog ( though the action has now moved to the 'Roz Ek Chitra' album and this blog is not updated frequently).

Friday, June 1, 2012


Oil on Canvas with palette knives A4 Size.

There is more to this than meets the eye.We set out on a Sunday morning to paint some grand Hiranandani buildings, in Powai ( Mumbai, India). Just as we were setting up our easels, came security guards, who demanded some permission. Having no time to waste, and the sun coming up steadily, we decided to move base to the already much explored Powai lake garden. Well, I'd already painted the reflections of Renaissance, IIT and the boats. Also the Hiranandani Silhouette and insides of the park. Only thing left for me to paint was this building which I think may be the Ramada. Well, I couldn't complete the entire painting on the spot and did a skeleton. I had to do it back home, from memory. For those who are new to Powai, It's worth a visit, this garden. The lake shores look pretty with the Gulmohur trees bleeding here and there, contrasting with the fresh green of the trees!

'A Major'

Oil on Canvas with palette knives

This painting is special and strikes 'a major' chord in my heart. A musical soiree spent with some talented friends, a great host, some great jamming and a superb photograph...all this ultimately culminated in my picking up the palette knife and working on this almost with a frenzy! Truth be told, as always, I cheated on the 'real picture' with my own colours. I changed the sofa colours to bring in an artistic and painterly look. At the end of my brandishing, I came up with this.

This painting is special because, it has music and art, two of my favourite things. It's also the first time that I painted a musical instrument and I can hear my heart saying it's not the last!