While growing up, we scribble on the walls and whatever surface we feel aesthetically perfect! But after a point, many forget their innate skills and passion for art. They pursue other professions and proceed in lives. These two art forums founded by like-minded art lovers enable art enthusiasts to meet once a week. The only thing that unites the members of the group is their passion to draw, paint and appreciate art. Read on.
Chennai Weekend Artists (CWA)
While working in Bengaluru, Muralidharan Alagar was part of a community called Pencil Jammer, a friendly community of people who enjoy creating visual art. But when shifted to Chennai, he couldn’t find similar communities in the city. That’s how he decided to start a group called Chennai Weekend Artists (CWA). A software engineer by profession, Muralidharan quit his job to become a full-time artist.
“We are a group of artists and art enthusiast who get together at various places in and around Chennai for on-location sketching during weekends (mostly Sundays). We meet at a location of interest (decided by a majority vote) to draw, share and inspire each other. It’s a very enriching experience where each participant gets to know about various facets of art. Our group has people from various walks of life and we don’t have any age restrictions,” says Muralidharan.
Though any medium is encouraged, CWA prefers traditional methods — sketching and water colours. “We have a social media group with 15,000 members, but the average crowd that comes out every Sunday is around 30-40. Apart from the Sunday meeting, we organise an annual art exhibition at Lalit Kala Akademi, where we exhibit and curate the art work of our team members. Once in a while, we invite inspirational leaders in the art world to share their knowledge,” he shares.
CWA also archives the sketches done by its members. “Over a period of time, the art meet has been transformed into friendly get-togethers. I am happy to see the growth of art loving community in the city.”
On Sunday, the team will be visiting Matsya Narayana Temple on ECR. “It’s a very beautiful temple and we can sketch a variety of subjects. We had one interesting experience while sketching at Kothawal Chavadi. After noticing us standing and sketching on the busy street, the nearby shopkeepers came forward and served us chaat, tea and snacks. Madras Literary Society and Kalakshetra Foundation invited us to their respective campuses for sketching.
Chennai Rendezvous Art Thursdays (CRAT)
During one of Chennai Rendezvous Art Thursdays’ art get-togethers
Started by homemaker-art teacher Harathy Balakumar along with her friend artist R Venugopal, CRAT is an art group essentially formed for homemakers and retired men with any level of skill in drawing. An art teacher for 16 years, Harathy felt the need to widen her horizons and meet like-minded people from the field of art.
“Most of the housewives are busy during the weekends because that’s the time they get to spend time with the family. That’s how we zeroed in on Thursdays. We have around 20 members who come from various parts of the city. So far, the group has met at the Egmore Museum, Valluvarkottam, Semmozhi Poonga, Thirumylai MRTS station and Kapaleeshwarar temple,” she says.
Once the members complete the sketching, artist R Venugopal reviews each participant’s work and gives suggestions and tips. “This helps them learn the nuances of the art and gives them opportunities to experiment with new techniques of drawing and painting,” adds Harathy.
The group has a 60-year-old retired professor who comes from Kottivakkam. “She is so enthusiastic and watching her sketching gives us the inspiration to improve,” sums up the founder.