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Anura excels in drawing picture stories

A picture, it is often said, is worth a thousand words. It captures the mood, the event and the subject with such vividness so as to explore and expose the trait of an artist.

Anura Wijewardena a painter excels in the art of picture story illustrations. He is comparatively not interested in international art movements. He has continued to follow his own style with a dramatic touch.

Anura has emerged as an exceptional picture story illustrator and painter. He usually paints in water-colour, acrylic and oil. Born in Kelaniya on Marhc 14, 1937 he hails from an artistic family. Anura was greatly inspired by one of his uncles, to be a master of the brush. Anura’s father too was a reputed artist.

Anura completed his schooling at Dharmaloka Madya Maha Vidyalaya, Kelaniya. His observant father helped him tremendously to promote his artistic talents.

Anura Wijewardena

Mona Lisa.

In 1958 he joined the Heywood School of Art in Colombo. He was fortunate to come under the tutelage of reputed painters such as David Paynter, J.D.A. Perera and Stanley Abeysinghe. He did portrait painting and sculpture under P.A. Karunaratne Wijewardena. As a student of the College of Fine Arts (Heywood School) he had his first caricature exhibition at the Ceylon Society of Arts gallery with S.C. Opatha. It included famous political figures and leading film personalities.

Illustrations

It was a tremendous success that paved the way to do newspaper illustrations. After obtaining a Diploma in Arts at the College of Fine Arts, he was trained under Kalasuri G.S. Fernando, one of the remarkable water-colour artists. Later Anura was introduced by G.S. Fernando to D.B. Dhanapala, the editor of the Lankadeepa newspaper. Dhanapala was highly impressed and asked Anura to do illustrations for the Vanitha Vitthi weekly.

Anura has worked in many leading advertising agencies in Colombo. He established himself as an excellent illustrator for picture stories, designer for book covers and a cartoonist.One of his stories was made into a film titled Kela Kella (The Jungle Girl) which was later featured in the Sinhalese weekly Madura published by the Lake House Group.

Some of his popular picture stories were Pulli and Sena, Robbin Hood and Andhakara Raththriya. Anura was the first artist to do a series of picture stories for the Sathuta weekly published by Lake House. He joined Lake House in 1972 and worked for all its publications until his retirement in 2005.

Unique feature

Anura mostly works with water-colour, oil and acrylic. His paintings aim to please the eye. The unique feature as an artist is his choice of subjects. They include sandy beaches, wildlife, ancient cities, birds at Kumana and the Yala sanctuary, cascading waterfalls, elephants at Pinnawala, historic Buddhist temples, Hindu Kovils and churches. He loves thick brush strokes.

His colours vary from dry, thinly applied tones in brilliant, heavy textured patches from an all enveloping silver glow to a sudden frenzy of wild emotion. Anura’s paintings compel us to recognise the uniqueness of shapes, colours, density and the scenic beauty of nature. His paintings titled The Hunt Ruwanvelisaya, Mona Lisa, Women carrying water are in modest colours dashed off with an inspired stroke of the brush.

At present Anura is engaged in a historical picture story called Soora Rana for the Silumina newspaper which is very popular among readers.

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