In Painting, Wikipedia Academy

One of the ideas that stuck was to do a collaborative painting effort during Wikipedia Academy….. something that will symbolically show the effect of collaborative work and how much fun it can be. The idea probably is a rub-off of the interactions that I have had with the artists of Cholamandalam Artists Village. (They are my clients).

Two days back, I started my homework. I googled for painting tips. Saw many YouTube videos. But as with everything else, I actually started actioning things barely two hours before the event.

First on the shopping list was paints and painting brushes. Off I go to Connexions but was shocked at the cost of painting brushes. Those small ones averaged Rs.100 per brush. Dad suggested that the hardware stores will have cheaper ones and boy, was he right. Similar brushes cost only Rs.18. I picked up two boxes of fabric paints as well.

Now, to make the frame. Thankfully, I found the perfect timber shop, walkable distance from my home. I explained the concept to the owner and he was very helpful in helping me select the frame. The size I planned was 7 feet by 4 feet. Cost: Rs.80

Now to buy the canvas. This proved to be the most difficult of the lot. Only very few shops sell painting canvas in Chennai and they are located at Parry’s Corner, too far away for me. So, I tried my luck at a clothes store nearby and while they didn’t have canvas, they had coarse . At this stage, I had to make do. Picked up 2.5 meters. Cost: Rs.70.

Off to the hardware story where I picked up a hammer and a bunch of nails. Cost: Rs.45.

My Dad is a great sport. He’s a very hands-on guy and loves to get his hands dirty. He volunteered to get the frame ready and began in earnest.

That’s Natraj, our apartment watchman. A genial and helpful guy, came in quite handy. After the frame was done, the cloth was nailed to it. We did all this at the community hall in our apartment building.

With the frame done, I had to quickly take it to my office without getting it wet in the drizzle.

Participants at the Wikipedia Academy had started to trickle in. And they only needed a little prompt before they dived into the painting enthusiastically.

And what you see is what eventually turned out. There was no brief given. Everyone was free to draw anything they wanted. Use any color they wanted. The folks had good fun. I certainly did. For many, actually all, its our first experience painting on a canvas. It isn’t a masterpiece. Heck, it’s a cacophonish collage of arbitrary strokes but what the heck. We had fun and we were quite proud of what we whipped out.