How to Press Out the Emotion on Canvas?

The Third Aphorism - VHAVE

This chapter of the oldest grammar book of painting is about the third aphorism out of the six. It describes about how to brings out the feelings or emotion of the painting or sculpture. The meaning of VHAVE is feelings that born by the emotional fluctuation. The author of the grammar book pointed out that it is not applicable only for the human psyche rather he wanted to expand the impact of emotion in each part of our nature, such as animals, trees, sky, flowers, leaves, river, mountain etc. His precept for artists was, to interpret the emotional language of nature, you have to suffer to read the nomenclature of it, have to feel the touches even about a minuscule particle of nature. You should become sensitive to understand the language of flowers, sky, and that bird who sings sweetly in the morning.

The animals have a separate language in their universe and likewise, they are able to show their feelings and emotions in their own way by using the body language and articulation. Astonishingly, we also use such languages to press out our feelings, like shrugging shoulders, curvatures of mouth, several poses of our body that intended to impress others.   The language developed with the human civilization, but we are still using our aboriginal body language unconsciously to convey the feelings and emotions. We habituated to use it just like animal from the primitive era, when we had nothing any specific language to carry our feelings or emotions. 

By keeping up the stream of the human revolution, that ancient author discovered an important language related to our fingers that we recognize as a gesture of hand. I have not found such unique conception, in whatever another similar oldest book written in BC third century or so on. I too have found the uses of this language of fingers in the cave painting of “Ajanta” and “Elora”. On that point, a bunches of gestures performed the unique meanings and symbols in various aspects. I considered it as the greatest discovery of that oldest sage who created a language that can speaks about most of our emotions, silently. Therefore, it is not just a gesture, but also a special language of fingers that we have been using in Indian classical dance for a long time, such as Katthak, Manipuri, Kathakali and in many other forms and styles. Each gesture has a specific meaning and in most of the cases, you no need to learn more about the meaning to interpret with those.  

  For example, here I would like to show some images of beautiful gestures. 

please click on each image to see details.

Hope you detected how easily those are drawing the sense of said objects without using any common human language. Thus, the language of ART always expresses everything without having any linguistic form. 

Agreeing to the author’s opinion, VHAVE (emotion) is universal which not limited to land, human language, caste or religious belief and thus, it is the actual language of a human. Accordingly, it firmly established the relation between human and our surrounding nature, and with many others that we normally ignored, but invariably related in our conscious or unconscious mind.  Artists have to feel those relations with their sensitive mind and have to press out their feelings or realization in his canvas properly.

In above paragraph, I said, “artists have to press out their feelings properly”, however, the question is how they detect the emotional changes of nature properly and how they press it out? That oldest author specified it by this way;-


Ascribing the importance to the sun, he reveals the secret of understanding the emotion of nature. He pronounced that the action of sunlight is the principal agent behind every emotional effect in nature. It is the principal component or constituent of nature. The author described it as a source of animateness. He said, the emotion of nature depends on color, and varieties colors of nature depend on sunlight. The varieties of colors of our six seasons always create a specific value, and artists have to realize this value. Moment of sunrise and sunset is not getting the same emotion in every season. Sunset in winter brings an effect of sorrowfulness, whereas, sunset of summer brings the peacefulness to the human mind. In the spring, sunset appears with romantic mood. The author said it just a magic of sunshine. In another word, the author described the sunshine as an omnipotent creator, who makes this artistic beauty of nature. It was the precept of the author for all artists that they have to watch the emotional change of the sky in every season, and have to watch the consequence of the alteration in the human body and mind.  Their realization related to the impact of the alteration, will helps them to create a poetic description on the canvas. 

Please note, the discussion of the above paragraph ensuring about the importance of color that generated from the sunlight; therefore, we have to conscious to choose the effective color to convey the emotion.

Here, I would like to share one of my paintings with the junior student artist and art enthusiastic that expressed the emotional feeling of love in human mind.

Title - Passion - 1. Medium - Oil on Stretched Canvas. Available for sale.

In another discourse of the oldest art book, I have found a very beautiful metaphorical description regarding rainy season, where author imagined the rainy season as a fickle adolescent girl, who suddenly jumps to the ground as rain and descends over nature. She dances in the green area with her flying blackish hair, which just looks like rain clouds, and author imagined her smile as a metaphor of the streak of lighting in the sky. I guess that author might be a poet too!

Nataraj. The statue of Lord Shiva.


It is necessary to have an emotional relation to the subject matter of the painting and on the surrounded conditions that related to the painting; however, it is not necessary to maintain the said relation directly, rather you can use any metaphor to press out the same feeling. To make it clear, I would like to fetch a symbol of summer season represented as a metaphor.  From the ancient era, the figure of Lord Shiva(one of the Gods of Hindus) recomposed  as a symbol of the summer season or the tempest of summer with a new name as “Nataraj”. In the figure of Nataraj, the lord represented as the frenzied figure of the summer season. In Asia, summer is the hottest season of the year and to express the intensity of the hottest season, some unknown creative people composed a wonderful dancing movement that beautifully describes the acridness of the hottest season. A mythological story has been performing from the mythological period behind this statue; however, I would not like to disclose here since that is not related to our discussion. 

Rahul (the son of Lord Buddha) and Yosodhara(wife of Lord Buddha) attempts to meet with Lord Buddha. From Ajanta cave painting.

The above examples I brought out just to recognize how to express your emotions or feelings on canvas by using some metaphorical manner. As an artist, you have the infinite possibilities to find out your very own process that you can use to press out your feelings on canvas. The ancient author didn’t draw any boundary line to make obstruct on the freedom of an artistic imagination. Only he committed a little indication by telling the word VHAVE.  Because he had the widest knowledge, what are the possibilities of an artist’s merit!


According to the author’s word, “with your meditative mind, dive into the ocean of emotion that conceived of the form and pick up a jewel that would competent for you.”


 Keep it in mind that our brain is just like a water of the pond, and if you able to calm down all waves of the pond, it can reflect perfectly all your realization in your mind. Our diverted mind gets very few moments to make it concentrate, but it is too necessary for an artistic observation.      

Now It’s time to find out the gist of the overall discussion.


1.  What is VHAVE?

Meaning of VHAVE is feelings that born by the emotional fluctuation.


2.  How to recognize the emotional impact in nature or in human mind?

Emotional impact in nature depends on the sunlight and we have to study the differential      factor of sunlight that depends on the season, likewise, in case of human mind, we have to study the body language and articulation that intended to impress other. To press out the emotion effectively on canvas, we too have to conscious regarding choosing the perfect color.


3. How to express the emotion on canvas?

By using the perfect color, effective form, or any metaphorical element that would be able to convey your feelings. 

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Last updated on - 07.12.2023