Expressing emotions artistically

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

This abstract artist expresses her emotions through the language of colours and allows her audiences to embark upon a journey of their own.

Artist Harleen Kaur with her abstract artwork.

Imagine revealing your emotions through colours and sharing them on the canvas as an artwork. It might be an arduous task for someone who does not understand the language of colours, but for Harleen Kaur, it is a cakewalk.


The 23-year-old artist has used colours to depict her feelings that she faced while making these artworks. Her ongoing showcase ‘Immutable snapshots of emotions’, which happens to be her debut show, reveals her emotional state of mind in the most colourful manner.


Each artwork has been inspired by the artist’s life. She learnt this from her favourite abstract artist, Mark Rothko, who looked at art and kept himself as a part of the work. "Keeping his idea in mind, I have created these artworks using my emotional state as the focal point of all works,” she says.


The artist has used varied colours and hues. She has expressed anger and frustration through bright colours such as blue, black and grey, whereas empty canvas reveals her acceptance towards life. Though her works depict her frame of mind when these artworks were created, one cannot judge their meanings, as her emotions cannot be explained through any language.


Describing the artworks and her choice of colours, she says, “All these works are subjective. Since I made most of these canvases between 2020-2021, I was irritated and agitated due to the pandemic-led restrictions. I expressed my anger by using dark tones of blue and black. Scribble depict complications. The part of the canvas that is left blank shows that sometimes it's ok not to play with things and leave situations as they are.”


The artist's artwork titled 'Sunflower field'.

Besides brighter shades, Harleen has also added yellow to depict warmth and happiness. One of her artworks, Sunflower field, is her take on a warm day at the sunflower field when the breeze brushes through her hair.


Peace and tranquillity is explained through the use of monochrome tones. “The use of grey and black represent the sound of the wind brushing through the trees. I have tried to capture the sound in the painting. I felt that these colours would do justice to my emotions,” she explains.


The artist has used mixed media to add texture. Though oil and acrylic colours dominate canvases, one can see the use of charcoal and soft pastels in some artworks. In some of these pieces, she has added collage paper and charcoal dust.


Harleen’s journey as an artist began at the age of eight when her parents introduced her to art. As a child, she started with figurative art. However, as she grew old, she felt trapped practising this art form. “Figurative art did not allow me to speak my mind,” she recalls.


By the time she was in college, she realised figurative art cannot be her medium of expression, as she always had an inclination to explore beyond the composition of a painting.


She looked up to Freud’s (Lucian Frued’s) paintings while making figurative pieces. “I liked the way he applied oil painting using thick brush strokes. I was always more interested in manner in which colours and tones were used instead of focusing only on the objects while painting them. So, though I was painting real objects, every work was an abstract work for me as its value and composition mattered,” she says.


Harleen's works are displayed at Triveni Kala Sangam.

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