In love with water colours
Tamara Damayanthi who hails from Ratnapura, the city of gems is a
talented painter and sculptor.
Tamara showed me some of her water colour paintings, which adorned
her walls of her house and some piled up to be taken for the current
exhibition named 'Tisoba' now on at the American Center.
Tamara says that owning original paintings has not caught up in this
country, but there are quite a few rich patrons and picture galleries
that buy them. From the size of her home, the garden, and simple style
of living it is apparent that she has no problem selling her works at a
handsome price. Many of her paintings are in private collections.
Born at Ingiriya she had her early education at Nugadana Maha
Vidyalaya, and for her secondary education she was readily admitted to
Thakshila Vidyalaya, Horana and Sripalee Vidyalaya (known as
Shantiniketan of Sri Lanka). Here she remained, acquiring an exuberant
virtuosity in colour, design and sculpture. In 1985 she graduated from
the Institute of Aesthetic Studies of Kelaniya University.
She attained maturity in the Silpa Salika which provided her to turn
out creative paintings with a wide range of colours giving sober effects
and a seriousness to her themes, capturing the essence of village life.
Landscape painters very often convey the impression that nature was
their subject's inspiration and that their art was founded upon the
study of landscape itself. The type of landscape painted by Tamara
Damayanthi reflects her aesthetic theories. It is, as we have seen, a
familiar landscape, calm, peaceful and sometimes almost domestic; but in
essence it is typically Sri Lankan landscape. The Sri Lankan country
side was unfolded to the view in its most enchanting aspects. Old mills,
trees, clear streams, flowing through well-watered foliage, dew drenched
flower beds, village boys on boats, old rotten planks, brick making.
Kamatha (paddy collecting centre) and Seenigama Devala in Southern Sri
Lanka, the sound of water, escaping from huge rocky hills are some of
the paintings displayed at the present exhibition.
She said, "I associate my, care-free girlhood with all that was found
in the village. Those scenes made me a painter, and I am grateful". In
her work thick brush strokes alternate with areas treated in the same
way as, water colours. Colours vary from dry, thinly-applied tones to
brilliant, heavy textured patches from an all enveloping silver glow to
a sudden frenzy of wild emotion. She has applied the wet and wet
technique in watercolour showing colour relationships to create a better
painting. Blue, white crimson, green, burnt-siana and earth colour each
bear their own special resonances. Intermingled, the colours create a
kaleidoscopic effect, rich, strong acutely striking yet harmonious.
After graduating, she took up to textile designing at Thulhiriya
Textile Mills from 1985 to 1986. In 1995 she obtained the Diploma in
Education from the National Institute of Education. She has displayed
further, her genius in sculpting the monument titled 'Ranaviru'
(Warrior) erected at the headquarters of the 5th Sri Lanka Battalion at
Pallekele, Kandy. She has also completed sculptures at the Bandaranaike
Maha Vidyalaya, Gampaha where she worked as an art teacher for some
Presently Tamara serves as the art teacher in the Advanced Level
section of Ananda College, Colombo and the sectional head of the
Asked what attracted her to choose watercolour medium, she said"
Water colour painting is one of the most challenging and economical of
all paintings and I want to prove and educate the young ones by
relentless hard work and constant practice, one could become a master of
'Tisoba' is Tamara's third exhibition in Sri Lanka.