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Barnikavangam: The Sixth Aphorism

Updated: Mar 9

The Sixth Aphorism, known as Barnikavangam, concerns the final aphorism of the grammar book of painting recognized as the "Barnikavhangam." The author desired to indicate with this aphorism that Barnikavhangam is just a technique that perfectly utilizes the previously mentioned five aphorisms. Granting to the significance of the primary line drawing, the author stated that it's the soul of the painting and depends on the artist's free volition because it has its own specific language that helps to produce emotion and everything. Finally, the color helps to increase the object's value; in an extensive sense, it is the matter of the painting.

That unknown author's precept was: 'To keep their artistic proficiency intact, they must practice only line drawing daily.'

The author considered composition the next most important factor in a painting. Composition can infallibly extract the structure of the artist's mind and bear the artist's speech. Therefore, he alerted, 'Be careful of your composition.'

In the above sentence, I used the word "speech," not "message." The author used the word "Vasanam," a Sanskrit term meaning "speech." I, too, believe it is unnecessary to have a message in every painting for viewers. Instead, it is essential to think about the artwork born from your own feelings. 

I want to share my experience related to this discussion here. Artists have this experience when they drop an image of their artwork on other websites where the space for "description "of the painting previously settled. Sometimes, it becomes tough for me to explain my painting in words properly. I realized that words are too limited to properly describe each human feeling or emotion, so I picked up my brushes and color palette to say something. I want to draw attention to the real experience of the great artist Rabindranath Tagore, who confronted the same problem when someone asked him about a painting hanging on the wall of an art gallery in France where his solo exhibition was running. While interacting, he stands spellbound with a bent head, and after a few moments, he leaves that place silently. After the end of his exhibition, a woman asked him about it, and Rabindranath said,- "If I should be able to say everything in words, color and brushes would be useless for me."  

He was a poet, novelist, and songwriter, but at the end of his life, he picked up the brushes to express himself. After completing over three thousand songs, poems, stories, novels, and dramas, he realized the limitation of words. Therefore, he started painting at the end of his life and completed over 2500 paintings within a decade!!

To understand a painting, we must observe it to the best of our ability because it can speak with your inner heart if you have such a sensitive mind; then read the description if necessary for further details.

However, I want to revert to my discussion. The second step of this aphorism was color making and allocation of color. The meaning of "Barnika" is color. The author described this part in broad circles of creativity. Granting to the source, the highest ideology of art extended to each platform of artistry. To illustrate this part of aphorism, the author brought up music and literature. When he started to discuss color making, his analogy was music can produce a specific feeling by composing a particular rhythm, just like color, which has the power to make an emotion or feeling in the same way by creating various shades or tones, and each shade has a specific impact. It is the same as the multiple scales of rhythmic tunes that bring the same impression that we can find out in assorted shades of colors. The author also said that it would depend on the artist.

The symbolic forms of musical rhythms may have come from this primary concept, which I discussed in my blog.

Not every feeling brings the same result for everyone. It will depend on the structure of mind and personality. For example, Indian tribal folk songs are composed mainly in a monotonous, rhythmic tone that is intoxicating. I love it; it brings my mind to a new imaginary world. Nevertheless, I know very well that it may be boring for someone who loves fast music such as rock or pop. So, it's entirely up to the listener how he will describe his realization. Think about the blue color. This color makes the meaning of liberty for some; for others, it brings a sense of strength and power. Blue can represent the meaning of venom for anyone. It depends on the personality, experience, structure of mind, and more. Above is an example of using blue in my painting, representing endless liberty and joy.

Title - Baul, the Ultimate Devotion. Acrylic painting

The six aphorisms of the world's first grammar book of painting are now completed, and sincerely, it would be my pleasure if my efforts encourage all student artists to work with more perfection. I am also thankful to all my awesome readers who have consistently read my posts on the blog and are now reading this book. It inspires me to provide more accurate information to the best of my ability.

Although I discussed this grammar of painting based on the best book, Kamasutra, there were also other grammar books called VISHNUDHARMOTTARA and SARASWATI SHILPA; unfortunately, those are lost to the world.

The six aphorisms stand on the solid platform of logic, and for that, they have taken place in the scripture of Buddhist artwork and refinement. In the sixth century, Hsieh-Ho said that artists of China also followed these aphorisms that they found from travelers or religious mendicants. In those ancient books, the author precepts that artists will use these aphorisms only for the spiritual purpose. They have no right to use their artistic gift in common determination since it's a secret heavenly knowledge that helps you submit your prayer to God more pleasurably. 

Please share your thoughts on how you enjoy the grammatical concept of ancient India. Thank you.


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