Hari's Corner

Humour, comics, tech, law, software, reviews, essays, articles and HOWTOs intermingled with random philosophy now and then

Moved to a VPS

Filed under: Site management by Hari
Posted on Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 19:50 IST (last updated: Sat, Mar 7, 2015 @ 20:49 IST)

I've finally moved my website to a (low-cost) VPS (not fully virtualized but based on OpenVZ). It's nice to be able to configure the server-level software to my liking and I'll see how it goes over a period of time. I'll probably write a post about the migration in the weekend.

In the meantime, I'm hoping to revive my regular blogging, as it's almost come to a standstill over a period of time. Hopefully there are still some of you out there who are subscribed to my feed. If so, drop a message here to let me know, so that I can motivate myself to write something interesting. :)

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Self with grandfather

Filed under: Artwork/Portraits/Caricatures by Hari
Posted on Sun, Feb 8, 2015 at 20:37 IST (last updated: Sun, Feb 8, 2015 @ 20:37 IST)

Self with grandfather

With my grandfather, at around age 2 or 3. Painted using MyPaint.


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Caricature of Mamata Banerjee

Filed under: Artwork/Portraits/Caricatures by Hari
Posted on Sun, Feb 1, 2015 at 14:51 IST (last updated: Sun, Feb 1, 2015 @ 14:51 IST)

A caricature of Indian Politician, Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee

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Tribute to R.K.Laxman

Filed under: Artwork/Portraits/Caricatures by Hari
Posted on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 18:29 IST (last updated: Tue, Jan 27, 2015 @ 18:29 IST)

A tribute to the legendary cartoonist and illustrator, R.K.Laxman.


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Veteran Actress Revathi

Filed under: Artwork/Portraits/Caricatures by Hari
Posted on Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 18:31 IST (last updated: Mon, Jan 26, 2015 @ 18:31 IST)

Portrait of veteran actress Revathi. Drawn on my HP Touchsmart tm2 with MyPaint.

Actress Revathi

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Amateur art and creative expression

Filed under: Life and Leisure by Hari
Posted on Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 10:10 IST (last updated: Sun, Jan 25, 2015 @ 11:36 IST)

As children we simply used to take a pen and a piece of paper and scribble on it, deriving pleasure in seeing coloured lines and shapes fill up a blank piece of paper. We used to write childish stories with uninhibited confidence and innocence, blissfully ignorant of literary techniques, character development, rules of story-telling and so on. Yet, it was an immensely fun process. A growing knowledge of realism and the world around us filled us with increasing inhibitions in expressing ideas. As we grew up, we became stiff and stopped expressing our creativity because it seemed silly and meaningless to pursue something without mastering the basics and fundamentals of that art form. So we simply abandon creativity because we fear ridicule and criticism when all we want to do is to simply have fun in our free time.

The more I think about it, the more I feel that the techniques and workflow of professional artists need not be a base-line for amateurs. Amateur artwork should not be subject to the same level of scrutiny and criticism as professional work. By amateurs, I basically mean people who simply enjoy art for relaxation and pleasure and find some enjoyment in getting better over a period of time and not necessarily feel the urge to compete or compare themselves with professionals who've been at it for decades.

Too often, art advise received on the internet is impractical to follow for somebody who is employed full-time in another profession and simply has an hour or two to spare on weekends for pursuing hobbies. For example in the field of drawing and painting, many traditional artists insist on using real live models as references instead of photographs. There is an insistence on formal art training. An insistence on drawing from real life. Things like maintaining a sketch book to carry around everywhere one goes and practise gesture drawing on a daily basis. Apart from this, there is an emphasis on technique and skill development in a formalized manner - learning of concepts such as perspective, proportion and construction. Then of course, there is the question of mastery over traditional media which is a topic in itself. In spite of the advances of digital art and techniques, there are too many people who continue to scoff at any work of art produced with the aid of a computer, regardless of the effort put in by the artist.

Now I am not saying that the traditionalists are wrong. Of course, mastery of any form of art requires a huge investment in time and effort. The question is whether amateurs really want to master art to  the level that a professional whose livelihood depends on it. Basics are important for sure, but for pure enjoyment and pleasure of creative expression, does an amateur have to go through the rigorous and often boring process of formal training? Does it matter to an amateur who simply wants to draw some (unrealistic) comic-like figures to have to go through an intensive study of human anatomy? Of course, professionals will say that unless you master the basics, your proportions and shapes will always be wrong and that even to break the rules of art, you first need to master the rules. But then, is that the point? What purpose is served in discouraging an amateur/hobbyist from expressing his creativity simply because his proportions are off and his drawings are unrealistic? Too often, the purpose of the creator is forgotten in all this.

If the purpose of my art is simply to enjoy the process of creativity and express myself, what does it matter if I have no formal art training and that my fundamentals are all wrong? Does it really matter if I choose to focus on digital/non-traditional instead of traditional media? Does it matter if I choose to ignore the tedious, long and boring process of art studies and simply go on to express an idea or a topic in the form and manner I choose? Is the professionals' problem that I dare to label  my piece of creative expression "art"? Is " art" somehow sullied or degraded if amateur artists choose to express their creativity and then publish it on the internet? Is a hobbyist really looking to become an accomplished artist or simply using art as a means of recreation and relaxation? I believe there is no point in giving artistic advice to an amateur artist who simply wants to have fun with it. Suggesting  an artistic process that is a tedious grind and a formal learning experience to somebody who neither has the time nor inclination for it is a pointless and futile exercise. Unsolicited art advice simply discourages and kills creativity. And it can deprive somebody of the simple pleasure of making an idea come to life, however imperfectly or weakly.

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