Devdatta Padekar is a Mumbai-based artist whose works are rendered in the realist style. They champion his keen observation, and often call attention to the natural world. He likes to experiment with different surfaces and is also a versatile printmaker, but his preferred medium – for which he is best recognised – is oil on canvas. Padekar uses colour in his works to build mood and atmosphere – both in his portraits and his landscapes. In his figurative works, ethereal women and girls often form the central subjects. On one hand, are his romantic compositions, extraordinarily coloured, where his characters are seen in the company of the gentlest species of nature: flocks of birds, herds of deer, swarms of butterflies, shoals of fish and bursts of petal showers. On the other are the more familiar frames of modern life – his subjects captured in the performance of everyday activities: sleeping, reading, or working on a laptop.
From 2007 to 2009, Padekar painted a series on ballet dancers at Florence Dance Center in Italy, which combines realistic frames (children at the studio, for instance) with more atmospherically surreal studies that use colour and light to great effect (such as a dancer executing an arabesque outdoors by a flowing fountain, or a dancer tying her ballet shoe ribbons as colour radiates around her). In his later series, Symphony of Seasons, he eschews the human figure entirely, turning to focus on the landscape instead. In these works, traces of human life and cultures are rendered through the presence of buildings, boats or livestock. He notes, “With vast areas devoid of human presence, serenity rules in both the Alps and the Himalayas. In both places, however, the impression of the landscape always seems to be fleeting. My aim was to try to capture the ephemeral moods of the Alps and Himalayas in my paintings. People who live in the mountains, I observed, love their environment and live in complete harmony with nature. That is the very essence of my paintings of the mountains – to admire, preserve and live in harmony with nature.” That may in some sense, also be seen as the essence of Padekar’s art.