Capturing Resplendent Nature
By Risidra Mendis
She looks out of her window from her art studio situated on the top floor of her house, surrounded by paddy fields and lush greenery in the heart of Yakkala, Gampaha. Her paintbrush in hand what she sees is what she draws. The blue sky, the white clouds, birds, butterflies, trees and flowers, anything that catches her attention and thought she puts down in the form of a beautiful painting.
She likes painting mountains, waterfalls, rivers, beaches, the sky and the sea. Nature has always been a part of Saman Leema Pereira’s life and she continues to use nature as her main source of inspiration for her paintings. Saman Leema has for many years created unique and attractive paintings that today adorn the houses of art enthusiasts in the UAE.
“What I see from my window, birds, butterflies, trees, I paint. I see the sky and clouds changing colours all the time. When I see these changes I take photos and then paint. I like watching the sky, clouds, moon, and stars. When I look at the sea I see the waves changing all the time. The simple things in life and many things surrounding us can be used to paint. People are very busy with work and don’t have the time to enjoy the simple beauty of nature,” Saman Leema explained.
She said people don’t understand that nature is giving this free to everybody and people don’t know how to enjoy nature; they don’t know how to enjoy the clouds, sky, stars and moon. “We have to think who gave the flowers their beautiful colours? We can learn a lot from nature. Some of my friends ask me if I’m not bored staying at home during this COVID-19 time. I say ‘no’ because I use this time to think, write, and draw,” Saman Leema explained.
She said this is a very good time to engage in this. “My husband is overseas and my daughter stays with me. But sometimes I don’t talk to anybody. I just sit down and paint. I paint according to my moods. Morning is the best time for me to paint. I start painting around 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and sometimes start as early as 7.30 a.m. after my daughter has left for work. Sometimes once I draw a picture I change some of the colours the next day because I’m not comfortable with what I have done,” Saman Leema said.
Saman Leema started painting in the UAE in 2000 and first tried her hand at glass painting. Today she is an art teacher and an expert in glass painting with many exceptional creations to her name. Her first article on glass painting was written for Gulf News. Prof. Linda Bastian from the Fine Arts Faculty, Sheikh Zayed University in Abu Dhabi then invited her to do a demonstration at the university on stained glass painting. Many teachers — all foreigners — participated at the demonstration.
Then she started painting with oils and water colours. She not only paints on canvas but also on glass bulbs that become beautiful pieces of painted art. “There is no end to the things you can design and create while using water colours and oil paints. All you need is some creativity and an artistic touch to create unique and unimaginable designs. For art to bring happiness and a sense of wellbeing it has to be simple, easily accessible, and close to nature,” Saman Leema explained.
She paints on A4 size paper and takes about one hour to one and a half hours to complete a painting depending on her mood. She mainly uses bluish, brownish and reddish colours and works round them. “I hope to do bigger paintings in the future. Wall paintings can also be done using the same techniques and ideas,” she said.
A painting takes time and patience, but for Saman Leema, a journalist by profession and a self-taught artiste by choice, this is a simple job. Her love for nature that began during her childhood days has today made her a popular artiste with many unique and unusual creations to her name. Her eye for beauty, creation and mixing and blending colours has taken her a long way in her work. Ironically, Saman Leema who studied Art in Grade 4 and 5 at school never went to a professional Art teacher for classes.
Strangely, nobody in her family had an interest in the Arts either. However Saman Leema’s two daughters (Achala and Udara) take after their mother and can draw and write. She has also taught Art in Achala’s and Udara’s schools.
After about 20 years she published her book Visithuru Athkam Nimavum – a book that includes all the important techniques, tips and useful information that Saman Leema has created over the years. Irrespective of whether you are a beginner and trying your hand at painting for the first time, or you are an experienced artist looking out for something new to try out, Visithuru Athkam Nimavum will help you in more ways than you would imagine.