In 2016 Deshpande also began a portrait series of prominent people, ''Famous, socially important personalities, like scientists, heads of nations, artists, etcetera,'' toward exhibition sometime in the future. In portraits such as that of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (1931-2015; 11th President of India 2002-2007, see it in the unedited article), Deshpande reaches perfection in using available ballpoint colors to sculpt dimension onto paper. ''The most challenging part of making a portrait drawing with ballpoint pens is that of achieving the skin tone,'' he relates. ''Skin is a translucent material and it also has a shining surface. So while having its own color, it also shows the colors from beneath the surface and reflects colors from its surrounding.'' While Deshpande reproduces his street scenes freehand, he pencils grid lines to map out his subjects, then erases. ''As anyone would agree, likeness is of paramount importance,'' he summarizes.
Deshpande works on his drawings between four and six hours per day until completion. Some may require only a couple of days, others a couple of weeks. He speaks of one piece he worked on for 25 days, ''about 100 hours,'' but was unable to complete. ''So I set it aside and came back to it after about a year and then it let me work on it to the finish.'' Deshpande's casual work pace allows time for what he considers a 'dialogue' to form between he and his drawing. ''I talk and listen to the drawing, in a way. I discuss various possibilities with it,all this without any word. I take all the time in the world to communicate with my drawing.'' He works on only one drawing at a time. Working on more than one piece at a time, he explains, ''Is like talking to more than one person at a time; if I do so, I would get confused as to who is saying what.'' Deshpande maintains a similar level of distinction between his life and his artwork. ''When I am away from the drawing board, I have the broader subject of life in-general on my mind. When I'm drawing, only my drawing and I remain.''
Mr. Deshpande recently shared withThe Ballpointer some accomplishments and reflected upon current events, which we thought an appropriate way to summarize this FLASHBACK.
PENNAME FLASHBACK posted September 6, 2020
STARTING POINTS The Ballpointer 2015
Talk To Them ・ Shirish Deshpande・Belgaum, India・
by O. Lebron originally posted November 4, 2016 READ FULL ARTICLE with more artwork
Artwork, from top : Lakkundi Houses 2 2016, 20 x 14'' (50.8 x 35.5cm) & its source photo.
Below : drawings which became the Lockdown 3.0 series 2020, all 5 x 5'' (12.7 x 12.7cm).
Bottom : the new Studio Deshpande, 2020. All artwork ballpoint pen on handmade paper
© Shirish Deshpande. Follow Shirish Deshpande on facebook
Continuing from HEADLINES 1 page ... For comparison, Deshpande provided the source photo for what became Lakkundi Houses 2 (pictured, slideshow). ''I edit the scene mentally and create my composition. There are not many big changes required for me, as initially the photo itself is taken in such a way because I was in love with the scene.'' Along with other minor alterations to proportion and placement, including a slight shifting of the vanishing point, he points out other 'edits' such as omitting an oil drum and bicycles aligning awkwardly along the right side curb. Removing a distant antenna tower nixies an eyesore and takes the scene back in time; the addition of a hazy cloud line adds atmospheric perspective that did not clearly appear in the photo.
The colors and linear textures of Deshpande's impressionistic touch complement the timelessness of subject matter comprising most of his drawings, but the artist doesn't concern himself with such categorizing. Still, hints of Impressionism are apparent. His lines are, after all, his brush strokes, and, as the Impressionists did with their brushwork, Deshpande's ballpoint linework is hidden in plain view as textures and patterns which become as much a part of the scene as the people, places and objects depicted. The canvas-like texture of the thick handmade paper Deshpande uses, the product of craftsmen from a neighboring town, also plays a roll in the outcome.
Since 2014・Volume 7
Deshpande's preferred drawing surface is a drafting table, upon which he is able to spin his artwork to make use of natural hand movements, a beneficial drawing technique employed by those in the know. Starting with very light strokes he slowly develops color values using layers of lines. Past work experience in screen printing informs his current use of color. ''Looking at a hue, I have an idea of what combination would produce the correct result.'' Deshpande then applies the necessary colors of a desired hue separately, layer by layer. In this way, as experienced ballpointers know, colors not available in ballpoint pen can be achieved. ''I give each color and each stroke its time to reveal the effect as it is happening,'' he continues. ''After all the areas of the drawing are covered with as much detail as possible, I observe the drawing from a distance. I repeat this process in different lighting conditions, especially low light. This gives me a better idea of the overall balance of tonal values.'' Unlike most ballpointers, however, Deshpande welcomes the occasional ink blotch here and there. ''They add beauty to the textural quality of the work,'' he explains, ''So most of the time I do not wipe the tip of the pen where ink accumulates over time.''
''Since being featured on The Ballpointer in 2015, a lot of ink has flowed through the pen onto the paper and it is time to share a few things. While recalling the events of the last five years, the first thing that comes to mind is the 'Great Lockdown' due to the
Covid-19 pandemic. The lockdown has changed everything for everyone, the way we live our daily lives. It was difficult to find peace in the initial two phases of the lockdown.
In the third phase I decided to move away from TV news and challenged myself to make one artwork everyday, complete in every respect. By positively engaging in art, I overcame the feeling of shock and of being tied down at home unable to meet anyone personally, with no social engagement. To my astonishment, I could really do it by working in a smaller format and by simplifying the content. This period of the lockdown really came to me as a blessing in disguise. That's why the series is titled Lockdown 3.0 with numbers that denote the day of the lockdown (several pictured). I made more than twenty artworks in those days. The average completion time for each was just two hours.
''During this period I also built my new art studio (pictured). As artists we certainly need a space where we have the privacy, the freedom and our own undisturbed space to create, play and enjoy the artistic mess. I have designed the studio in such a way that the north and south walls are all glass, naturally lighting the interiors evenly throughout the day. One of the other plain walls reaches a height of 12 feet, allowing me to mount bigger canvases for painting. The remaining wall is reserved for the display of my artwork. The making of the studio was a dream for many years but with the help of my family I now have a big enough space to engage in art activities on a larger scale, working on many different art projects at the same time. I also look forward to conducting workshops for art enthusiasts after the current difficult social situation is over''・