THE pressure on every curvilinear stroke is so even and uniform that one might wonder if she paints in a state of meditative calm.
Every single line seems so immaculate, so devoid of corrections and retouches, that more than once, her admirers ask if she uses a fusion of digital art and acrylic on canvas techniques.
“I get that question at least once on every exhibition and in the beginning, I never understood how that came about,” painter Christine Das smiled shyly while emphasising that her paintings are strictly done in acrylic.
The 47-year-old Penang-born artist does to canvas exactly what a stained glass painter does to glass.
Her paintings, from a distance, look like a stained glass window panel, complete with strong outlines and rich glowing colours.
Acrylic on canvas paintings that mimic stained glass works possess a unique beauty in the realm of painted art.
Every object in the painting is defined with a bold, seamless outline. Indeed, all hues across the same object or feature (sky, water, tree trunk, whatever) has to be delineated by unrelieved outlines.
But how can sublime imagery be denoted by linguistic articulation? The only way to perceive Das’ achievements is to actually look at them.
Penangites have the chance to contemplate upon this artist’s achievements until the end of this month at the Performing Arts Centre of Penang (penangpac) in Straits Quay.
Entitled ‘Homecoming,’ her exhibition showcases 30 of her best paintings including her earliest drawings for public viewing.
Pay special attention to the piece christened ‘The Messenger’. In a passionate profusion of scarlet, vermilion and pink, Das offers a nubile cut of Mother Nature listening to the songful message of a bird.
This painting and another depiction of Mother Nature entitled ‘Refuge’ are now owned by a collector from Luxembourg who bought them online from Das.
“The collector has graciously consented to forestall the delivery so that I can show Penangites my full range of The Secret Life of Mother Nature paintings.”
All her portrayals of Mother Nature share one common trait: Das paints her minus the mouths.
“Mother Nature doesn’t use words. She doesn’t tell us what she wants us to know; she shows it to us.”
Das paints only mimicries of stained glass. Being a devout Christian, she attributes her passion for this manner of expression to her childhood days of walking into St Francis Xavier’s Church in Penang Road.
“The stained glass windows of the church would always fill me with awe. As my love for painting grew, I found it irresistible to emulate stained glass in my drawings,” she enthused.
Schooled in Convent Green Lane, Das was trained as a graphic artist and was also a scenic artist on the set of Hollywood’s ‘Anna and the King’, which was filmed in Malaysia in 1999.
Her works had been exhibited in Hong Kong and Singapore and she had also received the Woman of Style and Substance Award from Marie Claire magazine in 2013.