Saturday, January 20, 2001

A multi-faceted artist
By J. S. Bedi

Gurdip Singh DeepIN the galaxy of Punjabi painters, Gurdip Singh Deep holds a place of repute for his paintings, drawings, sketches and posters that focus on nature, society and life. During a brief discussion on the prevalent trends in art forms, Gurdip said: "All forms of art are the handiwork of nature and through my works I strive to learn and discover the mystery of both life and nature."

There is much more to Gurdip than his being an illustrator of books for schoolchildren. From promoting art as chief artist of the Punjab School Education Board, to being an art historian and a creative artist, he has covered a long journey as a promising exponent of various art forms surrealistic, realistic and semi-abstract. His dedication and devotion to art during a period spanning three decades has been a source of inspiration for those artists who have taken to semi-abstract and realistic art forms.


Gurdip uses oil colours in a unique and masterly manner. Before getting down to his canvas, he studies the themes seriously. Once at work, he moves at a pace that could well be the envy of any promising artist.

Mountains and rivers, from which he says he derives strength and inspiration, have always held deep fascination for him. Gurdip has an original approach to classical as well as modern art. It is significant to note that the emotions and experiences of young people find place in his compositions. His paintings cover an entire gamut of moods that range from the romantic to the stoic, dwelling on the stresses and strains of modern life. He feels that society puts too many restrictions on youth in matters of love. Some of their dreams are realised but most of them get shattered and loneliness engulfs them. In most of his works, he also explores the close relationship between human beings, animals and birds. Elephants, tigers, horses, hawks, eagles, sparrows, pigeons, peacocks and swans, therefore, serve as handy subjects around whom he pegs his thoughts and ideas. In his lexicon, the tiger terrorises and destroys romance and dreams of young couples. Horses mean muscle power and life force. In one of his paintings a helpless youth is shown gazing at a large bird in hope and despair.

A landscape in water-colours by Gurdip Singh DeepAs far as his technique of painting is concerned, Gurdip has to say this: "I mostly paint in oil on canvas. My style of painting varies, from time to time, depending on my mood and the subject of the painting. I have painted in surrealistic, realistic and semi-abstract styles. For subjective paintings my style is surrealism, while for objective paintings like portraits and landscapes, I adopt the realistic mode. I use water colours while painting on paper and have done portraits and landscapes in water colours, too. For other works such as book designing, poster making, I use pen and wash technique. The drawings and illustrations are done in black waterproof ink. For making posters and other advertising designs, I use poster colours."

An admirer of modern paintings and artists like Van Gogh, Gurdip himself prefers to follow his own path. He feels that India might not be a rich country materially but it has a rich culture. He says that more and more young Indian artists are taking to copying the western art form. They should stick to their 5,000-year-old ancient art form, he suggests.