Shyline D’Mello Frank is a self-trained painter who picked up the paintbrush one day on impulse and since then there was no stopping for this budding artist whose expressive brushstrokes say it all.
Tell us about your journey so far?
Art is all about appreciating beauty and sometimes, you dabble in it. Painting has provided a new creative outlet and it’s a relatively new skill that I started only three years ago. I began with acrylics, just because it was the first medium I inadvertently picked up. As I did not want to limit myself, so I experimented with charcoal, oils, coloured pencils, and watercolour. I’ve worked on paper, wood panels, and canvas. I look forward to creating something almost every day even if it’s a small sketch or painting. It’s a great way to unwind and deeply satisfying to put colour onto a blank canvas. My subjects vary, I love nature so flowers, animals, birds, and landscapes form an integral part of my work. I’m also fascinated with faces especially the eyes so portraits are also usual subjects. I have also ventured in abstract but most of my work is predominantly realism. Not a copy but my interpretation of what I see and how as an individual I analyse and process it. I used to work a lot from reference photos but now I also try and replicate images from memory or practice from still life. I do have my preferred themes and mediums like any other artist but I try not to put any limitations on myself at this point as learning new methods is what keeps me motivated. I’m always amazed at how much support I have received throughout this process. Many members of family and friends now have my work hanging in their homes.
How did you develop an interest in painting?
I have always enjoyed picking up new skills, for me learning keeps life interesting. Growing up I tried everything that I was drawn to. When I moved to Oman for work I tried my hand (or rather legs) at ice skating, horse riding, diving, and singing with a band. These were all dreams of mine and I truly believe in living life to your full potential. Shortly after the birth of my third child at a stage when I couldn’t really indulge in my other interests due to lack of time I found myself in an art supplies shop in Muscat. I was drawn to a white canvas and some small paint bottles. On impulse I picked them up, I had absolutely no training or inclination before in my life to paint or draw. However, I was totally enthusiastic and didn’t have anything to lose or to prove to anyone. I started on the canvas with the intention of creating a piece to send home to my 90+ year grandmother so she could hang it above her bed. And so discovered a skill I never knew I even had. Plus I had found a hobby I could indulge in late at night once the kids were asleep.
Why do you love painting?
It is a beautiful expression of self and your thought process – there is no right or wrong. It is all about what appeals to you at that moment of time and it is very satisfying. It is a passion and a way of life for me now. I also love how art touches other people’s lives – some friends have connected to the painting in ways that I haven’t and some have even been inspired to pick up their own brushes. At times, it makes me feel very childlike in some ways taking me back to days when playing with and mixing colour was all it took to engross the mind. It is also wonderful to connect with other artists and currently with social media one can view art from around the world, share and get inspired with some of the marvellous talent out there.
Which artist or painter has influenced you?
Current painters whose work I am infatuated with are Suchitra Bhosle and David Cheifetz. Their expressive brushstrokes and use of colour is phenomenal. A friend introduced me to John Fernandes’ art and I am also a big fan of his figures and light and shadow work.
What is your pro tip on painting?
I would suggest everyone should try their hand at painting at least once. It may not be a masterpiece but you would be surprised at how it reflects your frame of mind at that moment. Plus, it is exhilarating and liberating. You may not have your work hanging in galleries but it is nevertheless a deeply enriching experience. It is a skill that can be learnt, explored and enjoyed - I have tested this theory firsthand. The only limits are the ones we put on ourselves.