KOCHI: Most artists think that when it comes to art, the sky is the limit. Lagmi Menon really believes in it. For this young artist, the surface of the medium is never a limit when it comes to making art – whether it’s a dal seed, a tiny manjadi kuru, fruit , tablets, leaves, a piece of blade or other! The latest craze of the youngster is to create works of art on feathers.
Seeing her choice of mediums, most of us would think she was a prodigy. But this is, curiously, far from the truth. “Drawing has never piqued my curiosity. If we had drawing homework at school, my friends would always come to my rescue,” she jokes. Lagmi, who had just quit her job a few months before the pandemic outbreak, realized she had a lot of time ahead of her when the lockdown was announced.
“To kill time, I got active on social media and came across some stunning portraits. When I saw how perfectly the design resembled the person’s, I wanted to try it out. I found tutorials online for doing portraits using the grid method, and to my surprise, it turned out pretty well. I applied the method to make more art and continued to gain confidence,” says Lagmi.
Although her date with art began with canvas and paper, once she acquired the talent for drawing she began to experiment with mediums. “I’ve always been fascinated by attempting things that people usually deem impossible. Now when I see an object, I organically think about what I can draw on it,” says Lagmi. portraits, is his new obsession.
The satin textured swan feather that is purchased online is her favorite. She also collects feathers she finds in the neighborhood – cuckoo, raven and dove feathers. “The ones I order online are larger than the ones I pick up, so I prefer to buy them online,” she says. She sells these unique portraits as gifts. “I had never heard of the possibility of painting on a feather until I came across a photo on social media.
I instantly tried to recreate an image, but to no avail. I wasn’t ready to quit right away, so I tried one more time and it went well,” she says. Without looking for any references, Lagmi taught herself the art of pen painting. “I couldn’t find any tutorials online at the time. I’ve seen a few pictures, but the process, the type of brushes to use – all those details I figured out after a lot of trial and error. Even now, I don’t know of any Kerala artists who dabble in pen painting. Few of my subscribers try it and they send me photos,” adds Lagmi.
Before making the portrait, she draws a slight outline using a size -00 brush. Without adding much pressure, she paints the rest. The final output is varnished to avoid burrs. Five characters of actor Jayasurya, celebrities, idols like Lord Ganesha, Krishna – Lagmi can do wonders with feathers. “I would prefer portraits to any other form of drawing. I admire seeing a person’s face perfectly etched into a surface,” says Lagmi. But pen painting is not an easy process.
“The nib tends to split if you put too much pressure on it. Each stroke must therefore be done with great care. It takes a long time and makes things difficult,” she says. Anyway, she continues because her art is now part of her identity. “I am satisfied with my efforts. I love the appreciation and recognition it brings me,” adds Lagmi. In just one year, Lagmi has earned a place in India’s Book of Records and Asia’s Book of Records by painting six portraits of India’s freedom fighters on a 30-minute pen . Her flip art, where she paints different artwork on all four sides of a wooden block, is also quite impressive.